Crick African Network (CAN) African Career Acceleration Fellowships 2024 for Early-career Researchers

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The Crick African Network is pleased to announce a call for applications for the African Career Accelerator Awards.

Application Deadline: 12th November 2023.

Eligible Countries: African countries

To Be Taken At (Country): The African Career Accelerator Awards Fellowships will be undertaken in Three (3) locations:

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  • At the Francis Crick Institute (‘the Crick’, UK) and
  • LifeArc &
  • At one of the five African partner institutions: The University of Ghana (Ghana), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), University of Cape Town (South Africa), MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM (The Gambia) and MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit.

About the Award: The Crick African Network’s African Career Accelerator awards will provide Fellowship support for African Post-Doctoral researchers aiming to make the transition to becoming an independent researcher and launching their own research group.

The Crick Africa Network (CAN) is offering African Career Acceleration Fellowships supported by LifeArc for early-career biomedical scientists to develop translational scientific programmes and become independent scientists.

We’re looking for ambitious early-career African scientists who can demonstrate strong scientific and leadership potential, a keen interest in translational science, and a commitment to establishing their own research groups and continuing their careers on the African continent.

The fellowships will accelerate careers that have already shown great potential both scientifically and in leadership. These awards will identify individuals who will go on to make significant contributions to research as well as science and knowledge on the African continent and applicants should articulate how this award would establish them as a research leader.

Research Areas: All projects should have translational potential. Our definition of translational science is that it serves clinical, commercial, or environmental benefit. It should address a clear unmet medical need and bridge the gap between basic discovery science and product development and can include

  • human genetics,
  • disease pathogenesis and immunogenetics,
  • pathogen genomics or bioinformatics,
  • host-pathogen interaction,
  • diagnostics and biomarkers,
  • pandemic preparedness,
  • antimicrobial resistance (AMR), or
  • drug and vaccine discovery for development.  

Our priority areas include

  • diseases caused by viruses such as HIV, HBV and SARS-CoV-2,
  • bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium ulcerans,
  • other bacterial pathogens including AMR-priority pathogens,
  • fungal pathogens,
  • protozoal pathogens that cause diseases such as typanosomiasis, malaria and cryptospoidiosis,
  • helminths, and
  • other neglected tropical diseases.

Type: Research, PhD

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for the African Career Acceleration Fellowship you must have:

  • Citizenship or permanent residency status for an African country
  • A PhD in a relevant field with two to five years of postdoctoral experience, or a clinical PhD (MBChB) with at least three years of relevant research experience
  • A strong track record indicating potential as a scientific leader on the African continent
  • A strong translational science proposal in one of the CAN research areas
  • Approached and reached an agreement regarding your proposed science with your mentor in your chosen African partner institute and your chosen mentor at the Crick before submitting your scientific proposal.

In exceptional circumstances we may accept a candidate with less than two years’ postdoctoral experience. If this is the case, please contact the CAN programme manager, Jennifer Brown at [email protected] to discuss before submitting your application. 

Selection Criteria: Applications will be assessed predominantly on the quality of the science proposed, which will take into account the project, the individual, the research environments and the timeliness, relevance and feasibility of the project, by peer reviewers. The leadership potential of applicants and statements from supervisors will also be taken into account.

 Number of Awards: Up to 6

Value of Award:

  • The fellows will also be expected to spend some time in the United Kingdom, to use the research and laboratory facilities at the Francis Crick Institute and LifeArc.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to be supported by one or more of the Crick’s 21 science technology platforms (STPs). LifeArc will also deliver translational development courses and host fellows for three to 12 months at one of their UK laboratories.
  • Mentorship from the chosen African partner institute, the Crick, and LifeArc will support with grant writing, publishing, research ethics and translation.
  • There is a strong ethos of collaboration and interaction across the network and fellows will be encouraged to learn from one another, as well as their mentors. The fellowships will cover salary, research costs, research assistant salary, and travel and subsistence costs. 

Duration of Programme: Up to two years. Fellowships will commence no later than  April 2024.

How to Apply: 

Before you apply

  • Before submitting your application, you must read the application notes (PDF).
  • If you have questions about the translational potential of your proposed research idea and how LifeArc could support development, please contact Andy Merritt, LifeArc project lead and head of academic engagement, at [email protected].
  • Applicants must have identified a mentor at their chosen African partner institute and the Crick before making an application. Crick research labs can be found in our A-Z lab listing

Submitting your application

For assistance and advice on potential mentors, please email the Crick Africa Network programme manager Jennifer Brown at [email protected]

Visit the Programme Webpage for Details


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