MRC Unit The Gambia is part of the Crick African Network Program, which has successfully received a £6 million grant from the Global Challenges Research Fund, for a fellowship programme to train African researchers to tackle infectious diseases in their home countries.
The Crick African Network aims to promote economic development and healthcare in partner countries by sharing the Crick’s extensive experience researching diseases including HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. This UK-Africa collaboration will provide successful African post-doctoral scientists with two years of intensive training and mentorship – the first year at the Crick, and the second year at their African partner institute – to foster the next generation of research leaders in Africa. The African partners in this Researcher Leadership Development Consortium include the MRC Unit in The Gambia, who are also representing the West African Global Health Alliance, Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town, South Africa, the MRC (Medical Research Council) Uganda Virus Research Institute and the University of Ghana.
The Crick will provide advanced training opportunities for the incoming fellows, as well as access to the Crick’s state-of-the-art facilities to carry out pioneering research on HIV, TB and malaria. The Crick and African partners will hold workshops in each of the African countries to promote the fellowship scheme and help potential applicants develop strong proposals. Applications will then open for the first round of fellows in July 2018, and it is hoped the first six African researchers will be recruited at Cricks from the partner Institutions later in 2018. An additional 12 researchers will be recruited in two further calls.
“We are now in an exciting position to offer significant career development opportunities to high-flying African health scientists of promise,” says Prof Robert Wilkinson, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town, who led the proposal and will direct the programme.