AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowships 2019 | How to Apply Online


AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowships 2019 for emerging African health researchers (Up to €70,000 of funding).


Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) and the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) are jointly calling for applications from emerging African health researchers for Preparatory Fellowships – provide up to 70,000 Euro of funding for a professional training. The Fellowship aims to enhance the competitiveness of up and coming post-doctoral sub-Saharan African scientists and clinicians aspiring to receive international /regional /national fellowships or grant support, such as the EDCTP Career Development Fellowships.

The AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship targets outstanding early-career researchers residing in or wishing to relocate to sub-Saharan Africa who demonstrate independent scientific thinking and have potential to deliver locally relevant research with measurable impact and within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme.



The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) aims to bridge the critical gap early in the career path from research experience to research leadership. AREF is an independent charity established by the UK Medical Research Council and led from sub-Saharan Africa, with the support of the UK Medical Research Foundation.


The objectives of this call are to:

  1. Enable outstanding sub-Saharan African researchers (0 to 3-year post-PhD) to:
    1. further advance their research skills, through short-course(s) and hands-on training, especially using biological samples and data they or their home organisations have generated;
    2. strengthen their competencies in project and proposal design;
    3. enhance essential their generic/transferable researcher skills that will allow them to secure research partnerships, and make effective use of fellowships;
    4. contribute to creating a pool of researchers optimally equipped with the expertise and skills to address local research needs.
  2. Enable individuals to deploy their own resourcefulness and research relationships to best effect in competing for early/mid-career fellowships, such as (but not limited to) the EDCTP Career Development Fellowships
  3. Enhance career development and retention of postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate medical researchers in research in and for sub-Saharan Africa
  4. Provide a firm foundation and increase the quality, efficiency and impact of fellowship projects funded by organisations such as EDCTP.


Successful applicants will use the funding for a 3 to 9 months placement at a centre of research excellence in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa contracted to host the fellow before spending 3-months re-entry re-integration period to the fellow’s home (employing) institution, making a total training period of up to 12 months.


A proposal will only be considered eligible if:

  1. its content corresponds, wholly or in part, to the topic/contest description for which it is submitted
  2. it complies with the eligibility conditions set out below, depending on the type of action:
    1. The applicant must be an organisation with an established legal entity in sub-Saharan Africa (the applicant legal entity)
    2. The fellow must be employed or have guaranteed employment by the applicant legal entity (the home organisation) where they intend to remain working for a minimum of two years after the expiration of the grant
    3. Fellows must:
      1. be a post-doctoral scientist;
      2. have been awarded their doctorate within 3 years before submission deadline of the AREF-EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship application;
      3. have been either a PhD student or MD, who have been active researchers for up to three years following award of their doctorate;
      4. be resident of or be willing to relocate to a sub-Saharan African country;
      5. not have been funded under this fellowship scheme before.
    4. The requested EDCTP contribution per action shall not exceed EUR 70,000
    5. Placements sought shall be for a period of at least 3 and up to 9 months, following which there will be a re-integration period of up to 3 months. The maximum fellowship duration shall be 12 months.


The proposal for an AREF/EDCTP Fellowship Preparation Award must be submitted by the home organisation (‘the applicant legal entity’). The grants will be awarded to the home organisation with the explicit commitment that this organisation offers appropriate conditions for the fellow to direct and manage their funding for the duration of the fellowship.

This call has a two-stage application procedure.

  • For the first stage, a letter of intent must be submitted by the fellow with a letter of support from the applicant legal entity (home organisation employing the fellow) by the indicated deadline. The letters of intent will be reviewed by an independent evaluation committee comprising experts jointly identified by the EDCTP and AREF in compliance with the provisions set in the Rules for Participation of Horizon 2020 and the EDCTP2 Basic Act. Up to thirty six successful candidate fellows will be shortlisted in the first stage and invited to a preparatory workshop led, organised and financed by AREF.
  • For the second stage, the fellow and his/her home organisation (applicant legal entity) must submit a comprehensive training and development plan (including a draft re-integration plan) taking into account guidance provided in the workshop that will be evaluated by a panel of independent experts to select the 12 best proposals.
  • A letter of Intent for Stage 1 must be submitted by 1 February 2019 at 17:00:00 CET via EDCTPgrants. Evaluation results are expected to be made available 4 April 2019.
  • A full proposal for Stage 2 must be submitted by 4 July 2019 at 17:00:00 CET via EDCTPgrants. Evaluation results are expected to be made available by 7 October 2019.

The host organisation (applicant) must provide a support letter confirming that the organisation is supportive of the proposed action and willing through its financial and administrative systems to enable the fellow to direct independently the proposed action and manage its funding for the duration of the fellowship.

Deadline: February 1, 2019.

For more information, visit Preparatory Fellowships.


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