The AREF-CAN-PRECISE-RECAP Towards Leadership Programme



The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) is delighted to announce the launch of the Towards Leadership Programme in partnership with three Networks funded through the UK Global Challenges Research Fund.  These Networks are:


The aim of the AREF Towards Leadership programme is to support the research capacity strengthening strategies of the three partner Networks.  Together we are investing in talented African scientists in Africa, enhancing their global health research and leadership potential.

In this first, pilot, year, AREF will deliver three residential workshops and complementary on-line learning for about 12 individual researchers selected by the three networks.

The curriculum is designed to support engage and enhance the participants’ own capabilities.  The programme is directed towards to winning grant funding, empowering effective teams, collaborating internationally, influencing stakeholders and building rewarding research careers.

Programme outline

The Programme comprises the following elements:

  • Three inspiring and practical residential 3-day workshops at quarterly intervals
  • Supplementary webinars, tutorials and on-line resources
  • Baseline and end-of-programme assessments and evaluation
  • Cooperation between participating individuals and institutions

The Programme has the following themes:

  • The effective researcher
  • The researcher as leader
  • The compelling applicant
  • The researcher as manager
  • The researcher as communicator

The five themes will be integrated across the three workshops.  The balance of the curriculum will be determined by the particular participants’ needs.

The costs of the workshops and associated by accommodation and travel of selected nominees is being met by the participating networks and AREF.

Key events

The timetable for all Towards Leadership participants is as follows:


Joining the Programme

Entry to the Towards Leadership is through membership of one of the three partner networks.  Following an internal selection process, each partner will nominate individuals to AREF for confirmation.

The partners have recruited talented researchers from a broad range of disciplines and a balanced cohort of men and women to the programme.

If you would like to learn more about the Towards Leadership Programme

Contact us at

About the partners

Africa Research Excellence Fund

Africa shoulders a crippling share of the world’s disease burden. Yet African opportunities for emerging post-doctoral scientists to develop, manage and lead their own health-oriented research projects – and then even more ambitious international programmes – are few.

The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) is a charity that works with partners to address critical barriers for institutions and talented scientists in Africa as they seek to strengthen their capacity to win funds and build leading portfolios of research that can improve health and save lives.

Crick African Network

The main feature of the Crick African Network is the delivery of 18 African Career Accelerator awards, over the course of three years. Each individual award will have a duration of up to two years, with the time being spent between the Francis Crick Institute and on the African continent at one of the five African partner institutes.

Fellows will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities as well as advanced training opportunities to drive their own research agendas. Fellows will also submit grant applications in order to make the transition to becoming independent researchers.  The partnership with AREF will support the development by Fellows of key “soft skills”.

PRECISE PREgnancy Care Integrating translational Science, Everywhere Network

The PRECISE Network is a new and broadly-based group of research scientists and health advocates based mainly in the UK and Africa. The network is based on a shared project that will investigate three important complications of pregnancy, namely high blood pressure, babies who are smaller than they should be before birth) and babies who die before birth.

PRECISE will train and mentor junior investigators in how to do pregnancy research.  The partnership with AREF will help sustain the benefits of the PRECISE programme, leaving a legacy of researchers with leadership capabilities.

RECAP Research capacity building and knowledge generation to support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics Network

RECAP’s vision is to strengthen research capacity and capability to generate knowledge on how to improve decision-making and accountability to help support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises. RECAP will focus on the sectors of health and social protection through integrating research and capacity building activities.  This partnership with AREF focuses on RECAP researchers based at the University of Sierra Leone.