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UKRI African Research Leaders for African Leaders 2023

This MRC/ DFID jointly funded scheme aims to strengthen research leadership across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by attracting and retaining exceptionally talented individuals who will lead high quality programmes of research on key global health issues pertinent to SSA. The African Research Leader (ARL; PI) should be supported by an enthusiastic local research environment and by a strong linkage with a UK partner (i.e. the UK Co-Investigator; Co-I).

About UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom that directs research and innovation funding, funded through the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Established on 1 April 2018 by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, UKRI brought nine organisations into one unified body.UKRI was created following a report by Sir Paul Nurse, the President of the Royal Society, who recommended the merger in order to increase integrative cross-disciplinary r... read more


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African Research Leaders


Aim and Benefits of African Research Leaders

Awards will provide support for up to 5 years and the MRC Contribution should not exceed £750k in total.


Requirements for African Research Leaders Qualification

The African candidate will:

  • have completed a PhD
  • be well-qualified for academic research having spent at least the last three years in active research (post-PhD)
  • be building a track record of independence in their selected field and demonstrating promise as a future research leader.

Outstanding candidates who do not have a PhD but who are educated to master’s level and have substantial research experience, as evidenced by their publication record, may also be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Applications from women are encouraged. Candidates wishing to combine their research with domestic responsibilities may seek the award on a part-time basis. The terms and conditions of the award make allowances for maternity or paternity leave. Allowance will also be made to those researchers whose career has been affected, either by a late start or by interruption, for personal or family reasons.



Interview date, Process and Venue for African Research Leaders

Strong applications will meet the four key elements of the scheme, namely:

  • a talented ‘rising star’ African Research Leader candidate,
  • a high-quality research programme proposal,
  • a research-conducive academic African environment / institution,
  • a firm partnership with a UK partner institution

The African research leadership proposal should be submitted in partnership with a UK co-investigator (mentor) offering relevant opportunities, such as:

  • senior or complementary scientific expertise
  • skill strengthening
  • discipline widening
  • technology sharing
  • mentoring.

The UK partner institution may be any eligible UK research institution, including MRC institutes and university units based in the UK.

Other named investigators are permitted where they bring expertise from another discipline required to fully address the health challenge identified.


Application Deadline

December 1, 2022


How to Apply

Your application will consist of the online Je-S proposal form and the following attachments to it:

  • Proposal cover letter (optional, maximum of 2 pages)
  • Separate CVs (maximum of 2 pages) required for PI, Co-Is and each named researcher
  • List of Publications (maximum of 1 page) required for PI, Co-Is and each named researcher
  • Case for Support (maximum 19 pages; refer to guidance)
  • Justification of Resources (maximum of 2 pages)
  • Data Management Plan (maximum of 3 pages)
  • Supporting letters (PDF copy of signed letters, please use Je-S attachment type ‘Letter of Support’) from:
  • The Vice Chancellor or equivalent at the African research institution (mandatory, maximum of 2 pages), to include:

a) declaration that it is a Government-owned/not-for profit institution;

b) statement about the research supportive environment available at the institution;

c) commitment to the continuity of support for the ARL;  

d) formal confirmation that the institution agrees to the roles and responsibilities as detailed in the application

When uploading the document as ‘Letter of Support’, please describe the document as ARL Host Institute Declaration’.

  • The placement organisation confirming their willingness to host the Research Leader’s proposed training visit plus details of the proposed placement using the placement template (if appropriate, maximum of 2 pages) – as one PDF.

If uploading this ‘Optional’ document as ‘Letter of Support’, please describe the document as ‘Placement Confirmation’

  • Key stakeholders e.g. Ministry of Health (if appropriate, maximum of 2 pages).

If uploading this ‘Optional’ document as ‘Letter of Support’, please describe the document as ‘Key Stakeholder’ – (Detail name of Stakeholder)

Please read the MRC Guidance for Applicants, which will provide you with the page limit for the attachments and guide you through the standard processes for preparing a proposal, costing your proposals and any ethical and regulatory requirements that may apply to the research. Please refer to the scheme specific guidance in preparing your case for support.

For more details, visit UKRI website.

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