AREF-EDCTP Preparatory Fellowships




The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) are jointly calling for applications from emerging African health researchers for AREF-EDCTP Preparatory Fellowships. The Call opens 2 November 2018 and closes 1 February 2019

The fellowships provide up to 70,000 Euro of funding for a professional training and development programme that includes

  • A 3 to 9 month placement at a centre of excellence in an EU Member State, a country associated to Horizon 2020 or in a African country; and
  • A 3-month re-integration period at the Fellow’s home institution.

The maximum award period is 12 months including the placement.

To be eligible, you must have been awarded a PhD or MD from a recognised academic institution within the last 3 years as at the closing date for Stage 1 of the Call.

The French version of the call can be found here.

EDCTP and AREF objectives for this Call

The objectives of this call are to:

  1. Enable outstanding African researchers (0 to 3-year post-PhD or MD) to:
    • Advance their research skills, through intensive short-course(s) and hands-on training, preferably using biological samples and/or data they or their home organisations have already generated.
    • Strengthen their competencies in project and proposal design.
    • Enhance essential “generic/transferable” researcher skills
    • Strengthen and extend professional research relationships through mentorship and collaboration; enhance their research productivity and impact; and win competitive fellowship/grant funding.
    • Contribute to creating a community of researchers equipped with knowledge and skills to address national and international research needs.
  2. Enable individuals to deploy their own scientific excellence, resourcefulness and research relationships to best effect in competing for early/mid-career Fellowships, such as (but not only) the EDCTP Career Development Fellowships and AREF awards.
  3. Enhance career development and early retention of postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate global health researchers in research in and for Africa.
  4. To provide a firm foundation for – and increase the quality, efficiency and impact of – fellowship projects funded by organisations such as AREF and EDCTP.

Scientific Scope

Applicants should pay particular attention to the remit of the two funders:

  1. The EDCTP funds clinical research to accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as well as other poverty-related infectious diseases in Africa, with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials.
  2. AREF supports research addressing key health challenges for Africa – across a broad set of disciplines including


Two-stage evaluation

This is a two-stage application procedure. For the first stage, a Letter of Intent must be submitted by the proposed Fellow with a letter of support from the applicant legal entity (home organisation employing the fellow) by 1 Febuary 2019 via EDCTP grants (

The Letters of Intent will be reviewed by an independent evaluation committee comprising experts jointly identified by the EDCTP and AREF. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a Preparatory Workshop led, organised and financed by AREF. The workshop will focus on essential researcher skills including proposal preparation and communication. These are skills that are well recognised as essential.

Shortlisting results of the first stage are expected to be made available by 30th April 2019.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in a Preparatory Workshop organized by AREF. Participation is recommended but is not obligatory. All applicants shortlisted at Stage 1 will be permitted to proceed to the second stage providing they still meet the eligibility requirements.

For the second stage, the shortlisted with their Home Organisation (applicant legal entity) must submit a Full Application that details plans for training and development and for re-integration after their placement – by 4 July 2019 via EDCTPgrants ( The application must be accompanied by a letter of support from the proposed Host Organisation, identifying a responsible Host Sponsor and detailing the support that the Host will provide to the Fellow.
The Full Applications plans will be evaluated by an independent evaluation committee. The EDCTP and AREF aim to announce the awards of Preparatory Fellowships by 7 October 2018.

Eligible activities

Applicants should keep the following in mind:

  • The purpose of the Fellowship is developmental: i.e. putting in place the knowledge, skills, mentorship, collaboration for a future grant or fellowship proposal. It is NOT a small project grant. Applications that are in effect small projects with no or only vague developmental components will be rejected.
  • Applicants will need to outline a tailored programme of developmental activities in their Letter of Intent. They will further refine and detail the programme in the Full Proposal. The programme should be designed to enable the applicant to shape, develop and apply for support for an intended future project. Although the future project must be described in the Preparatory Fellowship application, it will not be funded through this fellowship.
  • The training and development programme can include the following:
    • a specified advanced short course (e.g. in research methods / technologies)
    • hands-on supervised methods/technical training, working alongside named experts during the placement
    • appropriate generic / transferable researcher skills training at the Host Organisation
    • activities to build and strengthen mentorship and collaborative research relationships internationally
    • interactions with potential research-users
    • preparing findings from pilot work for publication
    • development of a research proposal to support the proposed future project.
  • Collecting or otherwise generating substantial new sample and data sets will not be supported where that work would be better be funded through project, programme, full fellowship or facilities funding.
  • However, limited new collection or generation of data may be supported, as may be preparation and transfer of samples and data-sets to the Host Organisation for the purpose of training and pilot work. Pilot work may include validating a novel method or technique, demonstrating feasibility or work to shape the focus and design of the proposed future project.

Eligible applicants

  1. Formally, the applicant must be an organisation with an established legal entity in Africa. This is the Home Organisation, also defined by the EDCTP application form and related guidance as the “applicant legal entity”.
  2. The proposed fellow must have guaranteed employment by the applicant legal entity for a minimum of two years after the expiration of the grant.
  3. Fellows must:
    • be a post-doctoral scientist / clinician, having been awarded have been a PhD or MD,
    • have been awarded their PhD, MD or equivalent doctorate by recognized university within 3 years (no earlier than February 2016) of the submission deadline of the EDCTP-AREF Preparatory Fellowship application
    • and have been active researchers for up to three years following award of their doctorate. (The three years is in addition to any periods of employer-approved compassionate, sickness and maternity leave)
    • be resident of or be willing to relocate to a African country
    • not previously have been awarded an EDCTP-AREF Preparatory Fellowship, an EDCTP Fellowship or an AREF Research Development Fellowship.

Preparatory Workshop, May/June 2019

The 3-day Preparatory Workshop will be open to shortlisted applicants and will take place between 27 May and 9 June in Entebbe, Uganda.

The workshop aim is to build participants’ proposal-writing, research project management and communication skills. The team of experienced facilitators will use practical, participatory learning approaches. Participants will be given required reading and simple exercises to prepare for the workshop.

The curriculum will include what makes for a compelling research question; how to justify a research design and project deliverability; principles and tools for research project management; and practice in research communication. The workshop will not include training in research ethics or in clinical trial design and implementation.

The workshop will take place about 5 weeks before the closing deadline for Full Proposals (Stage 2) for an AREF-EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship. However, the facilitators will not provide support to participants on their applications.

Travel and accommodation costs will be provided by AREF. AREF does not pay a per diem allowance to workshop participants.

Funding and Terms & Conditions

The applicant will complete a budget request as part of the Full Application. Guidance will be made available on how to complete the request.

AREF and EDCTP will jointly agree a set of recommended awards and how they will be allocated to AREF or EDCTP for post-award management. The allocation to funder will take account of the fit of the recommended proposals to the funders’ remits and the funding they each make available to the programme.

The terms and conditions that apply to an award will be those of the allocated funder.

In addition to the allowable direct costs (for eligible activities), the following contributions may be approved by the funder, subject to the negotiation of the award:

  • Information on EDCTP stipends and contribution to indirect costs can be found here
  • AREF does not reimburse the Home Organisation for the costs of their Fellow’s salary or any related allowances during the placement. Up to 50% of the Fellow’s salary may be requested for activities specified in the Re-Integration Plan for part or all of the Re-Integration Period. The salary costs must be justified in relation to achieving and sustaining the Fellowship outcomes and be consistent with the funders’ objectives for the programme.

A full description, outline of the application procedure and terms and conditions can be found on EDCTP’s website.

Guidance on completing the Application Form Letter of Intent


If you have any questions relating to the Call, please contact us via email ( For any assistance with the online application submission process via EDCTP grants, please contact for technical support.