The AREF Research Development Fellowship (RDF) Programme is open to support African researchers who are working on important challenges for human health in Africa in 2020.

The AREF RDF Programme aims to enhance the research competitiveness of emerging African researchers who are working on important challenges for human health in Africa. In 2020, these challenges will include infectious disease and non-communicable diseases. AREF’s goal is to transform the opportunities for up to 15 talented postdoctoral scientists in Africa in 2020 to contribute to reducing the burden of disease through leading research that is responsive to African settings.

The RDF Programme enables talented early-career researchers to:

  • acquire advanced research skills
  • develop and test their own compelling research questions
  • develop highly effective mentoring relationships
  • grow their potential collaborations
  • raise their profile through international networking

The RDF Programme will support a placement of between three to nine months for each Fellow at a leading research organisation in Europe or Africa, with time either side of the placement for preparation and follow-up. This aims to promote development of technical skills, collaborations and networks. The RDF Programme does NOT provide Fellows with funds for a whole research project; it focuses on developing researcher skills.

Applicants will need to demonstrate a credible, ambitious vision for their research career in an area of human-health challenge for Africa; and a transformational, well-supported development plan that would be significantly enhanced by the RDF Programme. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans at an early stage with their employing and potential host organisations.

Equality and diversity are core values of AREF and we encourage applications by scientists irrespective of gender, colour, race, or creed.  We strongly welcome eligible applicants from francophone and lusophone countries as well as from anglophone countries.

Worth of Award

  • The maximum award for the fellowship placement is £38,000 (GB Pounds).
  • Additionally, AREF will fully fund all workshops and mentorship support costs associated with the programme.


  • To be eligible, applicants must be a national of a country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • You need not be resident in Africa at the time of applying, provided that your application is officially supported by an African institution that meets the eligibility criteria for an employing institution and which attests that it intends to employ you locally.

Academic qualifications:

  • Non-clinician. Essential: PhD qualification within the last six years – awarded a PhD or equivalent postgraduate degree from a recognised institution of higher education after May 2014.

If you do not currently have a PhD, you must provide evidence that a recognised examining institution expects you to have been examined for the degree of PhD/DPh by September 2020. You will not be able to take up the Fellowship without having been awarded a doctorate by a recognized and reputable academic institution.

  • Clinician. Essential: Clinically-qualified applicants with a PhD/DPh/MD should have been awarded the doctorate from a recognised institution of higher education after May 2014.

Clinically-qualified applicants without a doctorate may apply.

  • They must have been awarded a research-relevant  Master’s degree.
  • They should also have at least two and not more than seven years of active research experience.
  • Experience both before and after gaining the Master’s qualification counts towards the experience total.
  • They will normally have plans to gain a PhD or equivalent doctorate (although not funded as part of the AREF Fellowship).
  • Medical College memberships and fellowships are not counted as doctorates.
  • Applicants must ensure that their Employing and intended Host Organisations (the sponsors) understand the purposes of the AREF Fellowship, how AREF will pay the organisations and what their obligations are if they accept an award.

How to Apply

  • download the Application Form, Information for Applicants and Cost & Finance Spreadsheet, and email to [email protected]

Deadlines: This call CLOSES at 12:00 hours (GMT) on September 23, 2020. The awards will be announced at the end of 2020.


Click here for more details and to apply

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