On 13 September 2021, in partnership with the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC)'s Corporate Social Responsibility Department, we launched the first of two bespoke grant writing skills workshops to help support the diverse communities of health researchers across Africa.

The two-week long workshops, delivered by Dr Dawn Duke, Head of Programmes at AREF, and Dr Peter Dukes, an expert in researcher development, aim to assist talented early-career researchers increase their capability to solicit research funding and produce internationally impactful health research outputs.

AREF was founded by Professor Tumani Corrah KBE in 2015 to support the development of the new generation of African health researchers. AREF’s fellowship and development programmes give researchers the steppingstones needed to become outstanding leaders in their respective fields, ensuring that talent is retained in Africa to address the continent’s unique health needs.

To date, AREF’s grant-writing workshops have benefitted approximately 200 health researchers from across Sub-Saharan Africa at critical stages of their research careers. But AREF aims to do more to support the diverse community of scientists across Africa, to make workshops more accessible to female scientists and those working in under-served countries.

To address this gap, the first CCC-sponsored workshop will target biomedical post-doctoral women researchers in Africa, and the second workshop planned to start on October 11, will target researchers working in under-served countries in Africa that find it even harder to access the development opportunities needed to progress their careers and undertake internationally-competitive health research.

Founder and Co-President of AREF, Professor Tumani Corrah says: “We are proud to deliver these grant-writing workshops in partnership with the CCC to equip African health researchers with the confidence, knowledge and support required to win competitive funding from international funders.”

The partnership falls under CCC’s CSR mission to improve the social and economic livelihood of marginalized communities by developing and supporting initiatives that build capacity and empower people.

Samer Khoury, Chairman of the CCC says: “Africa has plenty of talent; especially among young women, and our duty as businesses is to give them the education and opportunities, so they can shine.”

The workshops will help these health researchers in defining their research focus, developing a well written research proposal, planning a project proposal and budget, and gaining an understanding of the international and national research funding landscape.