Dembo Kanteh, a leader with a strong fervour for the development and training of others

Dembo Kanteh the first Head of the Research Support Office (RSO) plays a pivotal leadership role in managing, identifying and developing strategies to optimize the grants administration process of MRC Unit The Gambia (MRCG). Dembo currently serves in the Executive of the West Africa Research Management Association as Assistant Secretary General of West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA). Dembo’s key role at WARIMA is to increase MRCG’s visibility for research management through the publication of MRCG’s science research.


Dembo Kanteh, Head of the Research Support Office

Dembo obtained his first Degree BA (Hons) Economics from Delhi University in India in 1996. He started work in MRCG in June 1999 as a Trainee Administrative Manager. MRC Unit The Gambia sponsored his management training through the Open University, where he obtained his MBA. Dembo held a steady stream of responsibilities in MRCG working as an Administrator in the Field Stations, in Research Programmes, as Grants Manager and more recently as Head of the Research Support Office.

As MRCG depends on competitive funding for all of its research, Dembo effectively oversees the preparation, timely submission of grant applications, contracting, and management of grants. He successfully monitors interventions and programs funded by grants to ensure compliance with grantor guidelines. With his exceptional track record for achieving grant targets, Dembo also provides support to our sister sites across Africa. Under his leadership, the RSO over the years has become a centre of reference for collaborative research sites in Africa for learning and training.

Dembo and his team successfully embedded the performance reporting system at MRCG, which includes the quarterly Grants and Publications Report used both for performance review and decision-making Unit-wide and at the Leadership level. The team also collects information on performance for MRCG which forms the basis of the MRCG Performance Report. Within the Operational Department, Dembo’s team provides a view of work demands of projects for relevant planning to ensure grants are implemented according to the operational and financial needs of the MRCG.

Based on his background Dembo says “I have a strong fervour for the development and training of others. I have mentored and developed several management trainees who have either completed or about to complete their MBA studies. Together with them, we run a management lab group within MRCG, looking at relevant problems and proposing solutions for management.”