AREF is pleased to see the formation of a new partnership between Egon Zehnder and the Medical Research Council (MRC) which aims to support the growth and development of African scientists. The partnership intends to increase the opportunities of African scientists on the continent but also to provide opportunities to those based abroad to contribute further to Africa.

In order to better understand barriers that African diaspora biomedical scientists face in increasing their research links to the continent, the partnership will initially focus on the following three questions:

  • What are potential barriers to African biomedical scientists based abroad increasing their involvement with African research institutes and local African scientific talent?
  • What are potential solutions to overcome these barriers?
  • What role can the MRC and other funders play in removing these barriers (e.g., university and research institution partnerships, facilitating dual appointments, supporting satellite labs)?


Egon Zehnder will conduct - pro bono - in-depth interviews with 15 top African biomedical scientists from around the world, which will be complemented by an online survey that will be open to all. The results of the project will inform the direction of further activities by MRC and indicate whether partnerships with other institutions will be required to address the gap.


Professor Tumani Corrah, Founder and Director of the Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF), says:

“This partnership is a great first step in the right direction which supports the ethos of the Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) to increase mentoring for emerging African scientists, open new opportunities for scientific collaborations, and lead to joint faculty appointments.


The opportunity to access the vast knowledge and skills of distinguished African scientists in the diaspora will contribute significantly towards defining Africa’s health agenda and research priorities.”


We look forward to seeing the results that emerge from this partnership.