The AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme for Early Career Researchers

In collaboration with the UKRI Medical Research Council, the African Research Excellence fund invites applications for its 2022 Towards Leadership Programme (MRC).

The Towards Leadership Program’s goal is to prepare talented, emerging African scientists to compete successfully for UKRI MRC and other significant global health research funding opportunities. The program aims to help students get grant money, empower successful teams, collaborate internationally, influence stakeholders, and develop fulfilling research careers.

They are collaborating to invest in talented African scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa, boosting their global health research and leadership capabilities. They are working together to support talented African scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa, improving their global research and leadership potential.

The program will run between October 2022 – October 2023, consisting of two residential workshops and one virtual workshop.

The Programme comprises the following elements:

  • Three inspiring and practical blended workshops at six-monthly intervals
  • Supplementary webinars, tutorials, and online resources
  • Baseline and end-of-program assessments and evaluation
  • Collaboration between participating individuals

Duration: 12 months


To qualify for The AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of a country in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • are currently employed in Sub-Saharan Africa by a recognized university and/or specialist research institution.
  • be an early career researcher, having completed his/her research education and are now at the early stages of leading his/her own research group.
  • hold a research doctorate (PhD/DPhil/MD) from a recognized academic institution OR you have a medical/clinical qualification PLUS a research-relevant Master’s degree, both usually within the last 10 years.
  • demonstrate evidence of being at the early stages of leading a research team or being an active member of a research team conducting global health research
  • A significant part of his/her current employee role is to develop and conduct health research.
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To be considered for the Towards Leadership program, the applicant will need to provide a persuasive personal statement demonstrating:

  • His/her most recent research project and the potential for it to make an impact on health
  • A compelling career vision and how he/she plans to achieve it
  • His/her potential as an emerging research leader to build a successful research group, influence his/her discipline, and engage with impact or innovation outside of academia
  • How his/her institution will benefit from participating in the Programme.

Application Process

To apply for The AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme, click here.

Deadline: June 30, 2022.

For more information, visit the official site.

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