Professor Tumani Corrah awarded Honorary Knighthood

January 2020

Professor Tumani Corrah, Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) Director and founder, has been awarded an Honorary Knighthood for services to medical research in sub-Saharan Africa.

The formal ceremony presentation was held on Thursday 9 January at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Banjul, The Gambia. Her Majesty’s High Commissioner to The Gambia, Sharon Wardle commented:

“Professor Corrah has had a profound, long-term impact on the promotion of health in the poorest nations in Africa…. Over and above his countless professional achievements throughout his career, and as an unprompted and personally altruistic initiative, Professor Tumani Corrah KBE has founded and secured diverse philanthropic support for the African Research Excellence Fund.”

On receiving the award Professor Corrah said:

“I want to thank Her Majesty, through the High Commissioner, for recognising the efforts I have put in place to promote excellent science research in Africa and to improve and save lives. I am particularly touched by this kind gesture and am reminded by the sentiments of Martin Luther King Jr. – one thing you must always think about everyday is what can I do for others.”

Dr Angela Hind, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Foundation said:

“Tumani’s Knighthood is well-deserved and acknowledges the dedication, leadership and commitment to medical research that he has displayed throughout his career. Tumani founded AREF in 2015; it’s now a thriving charity supporting young African scientists to develop the technical and professional skills needed for their ground-breaking research and to lead Africa’s health research agenda in the future. We are delighted to see Tumani’s contribution to progressing medical research in Sub-Saharan Africa recognised with this honour.”

Professor Corrah has over thirty years’ research and leadership experience, ten years of which were as the Unit Director of the MRC Unit The Gambia, where he is currently Emeritus Director. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is a member of over 20 scientific boards and committee groups worldwide; including serving as a Member of the WHO’s African Advisory Committee on Health Research and Development.

Professor Fiona Watt, MRC Executive Chair, said:

“Since becoming Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council it has been my privilege to get to know Tumani Corrah. His achievements in the field of infectious disease research are outstanding and his leadership of research development in Africa is remarkable. I would like to offer Tumani my heartiest congratulations on being appointed Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. This is well deserved recognition of his devotion to medical research.”

As AREF marks its 5th Anniversary in 2020 our mission and focus continues to give talented postdoctoral health researchers in Africa access to the knowledge and skills they need to become leading scientists to improve health and save lives.