AREF Towards Leadership Programme 2024

Deadline: 6th of May, 2024

With great pleasure, the Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) and the UKRI Medical Research Council are pleased to announce the start of the Towards Leadership Program.

The goal of the ARF Towards Leadership initiative is to enable bright, up-and-coming scientists in Africa to effectively compete for large funding opportunities in global health research, such as the UKRI MRC.By pooling our resources, we are enabling gifted African scientists to pursue global health research and develop into prospective leaders.

The program, which consists of one virtual session and two residential workshops (opening and closing), will run from October 2024 to October 2025.

The curriculum is designed to support engage and enhance the participants’ capabilities and to empower talented, emerging scientists in Africa to compete successfully on a level playing field for UKRI MRC and other major funding opportunities in global health research. The programme is directed towards to winning grant funding, empowering effective teams, collaborating internationally, influencing stakeholders, and building rewarding research careers.


  • The costs of the workshops and associated accommodation and travel of selected nominees will be met by MRC and AREF.


  • You are a citizen of a country in Africa.
  • You are currently employed in Africa by a recognised university and/or specialist research institution.
  • You are an early career researcher, having completed your research education and are now at the early stages of leading your own research group.
  • You will hold a research doctorate (PhD/DPhil/MD) from a recognised academic institution OR you have a medical/clinical qualification PLUS a research-relevant Master’s degree, both usually within the last 10 years. If it has been longer than 10 years since your last degree, please explain in your application why you should still be considered an early career researcher (i.e. caring responsibilities or career break/change impacting your research career).
  • You are currently responsible for managing/supervising one or more research students and/or research staff members and are involved in building research collaborations.
  • You demonstrate evidence of being at the early stages of leading a research team or being an active member of a research team conducting Global Health Research.
  • A significant part of your current employee role is to develop and conduct health research.
  • You already have experience in obtaining research funding (Combined value of £500,000 or less).

Key Dates

  • Applications closing deadline 16:00 GMT 6 May 2024
  • Successful applicants notified early to mid-July 2024

Click here to apply 

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