Africa Research Excellence Fund

AREF Research Development Fellowships | Opportunity Desk


Deadline: June 28, 2017

The Africa Research Excellence Fund announces its third call for applications for AREF’s transformative Research Development Fellowships. The Programme aims to enhance the research competitiveness of emerging African researchers with leadership potential who are working on important challenges for human health in Africa. The Programme scope includes a broad range of science disciplines and health challenges. AREF is keen to attract more excellent proposals on important neglected tropical diseases – in particular on chronic ill-health and mental health – and in maternal, neonatal and infant health.

The Fellowship enables talented early-career researchers to develop their own research ideas and specialist skills, to grow their research relationships through collaboration and mentorship, and to work towards a major research funding proposal.  Think of the AREF Fellowship as a stepping-stone to achieving competitive research funding and opportunities in the future. An AREF Fellowship supports a developmental placement of three-to-nine months in a leading research organisation in Europe or Africa with time either side of the placement for preparation and follow-up.


  • The maximum award is 40,000 GB Pounds.  The length of the Fellowship and actual amount awarded will depend on detailed and persuasive justification provided by the applicant and the quality of the engagement of their employing and host institutions.


To hold an AREF Research Development Fellowship, you will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a national of a country in sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa;
  • Be a post-doctoral scientist with a PhD, with up to 5-years of active research experience on 1 July 2016; or be a clinician with a research-relevant Master’s degree and up to 3-years active research experience;
  • Be working in an active research role at the time of applying, with a guarantee of employment with a university or other legally established research organisation based in sub-Saharan Africa for the duration of your fellowship; and
  • Submit the required documentation, including declarations from your home and host sponsors detailing how they and their institutions will support your development as a researcher, if you receive an award;
  • In addition:
    • Applicants who are already employed within a sub-Saharan African research organisation, or who would be returning to a position in such an organisation by the time they take up the AREF Fellowship having worked in a research active role abroad are welcome.
    • You may still be eligible even if your employing organisation is outside Sub-Saharan Africa provided that you have an appropriate honorary contract in the subregion and you are based at least 70% of your time in Africa. AREF’s regulations do not yet permit the funding of Fellowships in South Africa. This may change during 2017. If this might affect you, you are welcome to ask for an update.

Application Process

The deadline is 1600 hours (GMT) on June 28, 2017.  Do not leave emailing your application until the last minute!

For more information, visit AREF Research Development Fellowships.

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