• Partial Scholarship

The Africa Research Excellence Fund, AREF, is pleased to launch the call for the AREF Research Development Fellowship Programme for 2023/24.

The Research Development Fellowship Programme aims to provide opportunities for talented health researchers based in Sub-Saharan Africa so that they can lead research that is responsive to its African settings and can contribute to reducing the burden of disease. It aims to develop emerging African scientists through developing their skills, experience, confidence, and research outputs.

Fellowships offer awardees the opportunity to develop their research ideas, research skills, and capabilities, to grow their research relationships through collaboration and mentorship, and to work towards a substantial research funding proposal.

The fellowship aims to support researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa who are emerging leaders and working on important challenges for human health, to develop their skills as a researcher.

AREF’s fellowships provide African researchers with experience in state-of-the-art research methodologies in world-class research environments to help them build their research network, attend workshops and conferences, and learn from research leaders in their field.

AREF’s grant-writing workshops equip African researchers with the confidence, knowledge, and support required to win competitive funding from international funders.

AREF’s leadership programs equip African researchers with the knowledge and expertise required to be future leaders in their field, to form equitable, international collaborations and, ultimately, to help define the continent’s health agenda and research priorities.

AREF Research Development Fellowship Programme has the following components:
• Preparatory period before the placement. A minimum of one month to a maximum of three months.
• Placement for research training and professional development at a center of excellence in Europe or Africa. A minimum of three months to a maximum of nine months.
• Follow-up Period immediately after the Placement. A minimum of one month to a maximum of three months.
• Mentorship support for each fellow and their mentors.
• Intensive grant writing workshop program.
• On completing the Fellowship, the opportunity to apply for further funding via AREF’s annual Seed Funding competition.




  • Funding of up to £47,000.
  • A three to nine-month placement at a leading research institution in the UK, Europe, or Africa.
  • Additional support at the home institution before and after the placement.


  • Must be an early-Career health Researcher (ECR) from Africa who plans to develop a research career in Africa and have the potential to become a research leader.
  • Must demonstrate career focus on human health research and progression on the pathway to becoming, but are not fully established as, independent researchers, with the potential to lead research that is original and innovative.
  • Must be a national of a country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Applicants need not be residents in Africa at the time of applying, provided that the application is officially supported by an African institution that meets the eligibility criteria for an Employing Organisation and confirms that it intends to employ you locally.
  • Applications must be working at least 20% Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) in an active research role; and EITHER
    • have guaranteed employment with a legally established research organization or a university in Sub-Saharan Africa for the duration of the Fellowship, or,
    • have the guarantee of employment at a center of research excellence outside Africa and an honorary contract with a legally established research organization or university in Sub-Saharan Africa for the duration of the Fellowship, with at least 70% of the time based in Africa.
  • Must be
    • clinicians and non-clinicians with a Ph.D. qualification or equivalent postgraduate degree (DPh/DPhil/MD) in a health-related subject from a recognized institution of higher education or,
    • clinicians with specialist clinical qualifications. Must have an MBBS or equivalent and a specialist clinical qualification. Examples of specialist clinical qualifications are FRCP, FWACP or equivalent or,
    • clinicians with a Masters’s degree. Must have an MBBS or equivalent and the Masters must have contained a research component. We would expect a plan to gain a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (although not funded as part of the AREF Fellowship).
  • Must have been research active for the majority of their post-doctoral career (post-Masters for clinicians), as evidenced by their employment history and research outputs.
  • Must have at least three years of research experience, but normally not more than ten, with significant research outputs (most successful applicants have at least three first-author publications).


  1. Applicants from Francophone and Lusophone countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as from Anglophone countries of the region are strongly welcomed.
  2. Applicants need to provide evidence of language competency required by the Host Organisation. (If have less than one academic year of scientific training conducted in English.)
  3. Applicants must not have won a substantial research grant equivalent to GBP £300,000 and above.
  4. Applicants must not have other significant research funding/fellowship commitments for the duration of the AREF fellowship. This is to ensure there is sufficient time to devote to the Fellowship (in the region of 80% FTE for the duration of the placement).
  5. Previous AREF Research Development Fellows and AREF-EDCTP Preparatory Fellows are not eligible for the current Programme.
  6. Participants at AREF workshops and researcher/leadership development programs can apply if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Eligible Regions: Africa

Application Process

  • Applications have to be made through the online Application Form PART A. (Available on the apply link)
  • Applicants have to download the Application Form Parts B-F, to fill and upload on to the online application form. (Available on the official link)
  • Applicants have to download and complete the Application Form Part G – Signature Page, then submit on to the online application. (Available on the official link)

Application Deadline: September 14, 2023

Application ClosedOfficial link

For Further Queries

For further queries send them an email to [email protected] by 8 September 2023.
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