About Us



The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) is a charitable trust established in 2015 by the Medical Research Foundation.

AREF’s mission is to improve the quality and impact of health research in Africa by nurturing African-led research in and for the region. Our initial focus is on giving talented postdoctoral health researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa access to the knowledge and skills they need to become leading scientists.

Our vision is growing a community of African researchers working in Africa, who lead and partner world-class research that benefits patients, populations, policy makers and practitioners.

Many young researchers in the region face a lack of opportunities, skills and mentorship essential to winning funding for their ideas, progressing to research independence and eventual leadership.  AREF’s strategy has three pillars:

  • To provide stepping-stones awards and training at vulnerable career stages that develop researchers’ knowledge, skills and experience – focusing on the early outcome of applying for grants and winning support.
  • To attract new funding into research capacity strengthening, including from philanthropic foundations and individuals.
  • To work in partnership, leveraging complementary knowledge and resources – being stronger together.


We must invest in promising young African scientists, they are the innovators and leaders that will transform our continent’s health. The African Research Excellence Fund is Africa-based, African-led, for African scientists and we are all committed to African health. It is an important initiative.

Kofi Annan