The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) is transforming the leadership potential of Africa’s health researchers. We do this by supporting and developing early-career African researchers, ensuring their talent is retained within Africa, where their knowledge is required to improve health and save lives.

AREF was founded in 2015 by Professor Sir Tumani Corrah and established by the UK Medical Research Foundation. Since then, we have trained, mentored and given access to global networks to over 250 talented young researchers from 30 different African countries. In turn, these scientists have turned their ideas into fundable research projects that tackle Africa’s most pressing health issues.

AREF is overseen by a Board of Trustees that has ultimate responsibility for directing the charity, its assets and its activities. We are looking to complement the existing strengths of our Board with an independent Trustee who has senior-level expertise in fundraising. Ideally you will have had experience of the principles of governance in the public or charitable sector and will be passionate about supporting African-led medical research, for Africa, in Africa, by Africa.

AREF is committed to promoting equality and diversity opportunities and we welcome applications from all aspects of society. We would particularly welcome applications from people with links to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Board meets five times a year (including a strategy away day) usually in Central London or by video conference. The position is voluntary and not remunerated, although reasonable expenses are paid.

About the role

As a member of the Board of Trustees, you will provide strategic leadership and oversight for AREF as it seeks to fulfil its charitable objects. In addition to being a registered charity, AREF is a company limited by guarantee and, as such, our trustees are also appointed as its company directors. There will be opportunities for trustee training during the term of appointment.

What you will do

  • Ensure that AREF pursues its stated charitable objects by developing and agreeing a long-term strategy
  • Ensure AREF operates in accordance with its governing document and meets its legal and regulatory requirements
  • Ensure the effective and efficient administration of AREF and its resources
  • Maintain oversight of the work of the Executive, including both supporting and holding to account through appropriate challenging
  • Ensure AREF has the proper arrangements in place for the appointment, supervision, support, appraisal and remuneration of the chief executive
  • Chair the Donor Due Diligence Committee and Sub-Committee

You will have

  • Senior level expertise in fundraising
  • An understanding of the UK charity sector
  • Sympathy for the issues of public good and donor wishes in funding the development of African researchers
  • Excellent networking skills, influencing and communicating skills
  • Strong links to Sub-Saharan Africa

How to apply

Submit the following three documents to [email protected] by the closing date:

You can find full details about the role and how to apply by downloading our recruitment pack.

Closing date: 6 December 2021 at 12.00 (Noon)
Interview date: 15 December 2021


The appointment will commence in January 2022 for a three-year term, in the first instance.