Who we are About us About us Our Founder and President Professor Sir Tumani Corrah, KBE, MRG, MD, PhD, FRCP, PWACP, FAAS, Emeritus Director. Professor Corrah is the Founder of AREF and the first Emeritus Director of the UK Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. For over 30 years Professor Corrah, who is Gambian, has pursued three passions: improving outcomes of inpatient care in challenging environments, research into diseases that impact the developing world disproportionately, and building human capacity in health research in West, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. Professor Corrah is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and is a member of over twenty scientific board and committee groups worldwide. Our story Professor Corrah founded the Africa Research Excellence Fund in September 2015, supported by the UK Medical Research Foundation. Throughout his thirty-year career in health research and leadership, Professor Corrah had been exposed to many grant-award bodies and committees which highlighted the challenges that emerging African health researchers face. These include a lack of essential opportunities to develop research ideas, compete on an international level to win research funding, or access world-class research advisors and mentors. Professor Corrah founded AREF to support the careers of the new generation of African researchers, giving them the stepping stones needed to become outstanding research leaders in their respective fields, ensuring that talent is retained in Africa to address the continent’s unique health research needs. Our fellowships provide African researchers with experience of 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. Our grant-writing workshops equip African researchers with the confidence, knowledge and support required to win competitive funding from international funders. Our leadership programmes 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. “When I founded AREF in 2015, I never imagined the impact we would have in our first five years. In this short time, we have provided potentially life-changing opportunities to over 250 researchers across Africa, setting them on the path to leading their own research teams within the continent.” Looking to the future In early 2021, AREF was officially registered as a charitable company, established its own Board of Trustees, and Professor Corrah took on the role as President and Executive Chair. Looking forward, we want to see exponential growth in the numbers of African scientists participating in our fellowships, workshops and leadership programmes. More than ever before we need a community of African scientists who can deliver world-class research, in collaboration with international partners, to help prevent, detect and rapidly respond to threats to global health.