10 African Fellowships that Support Research and Innovation

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Do you have an interest in research and innovation and would love to know the various fellowship opportunities you can apply for to boost your career? Then this article is just what you need. Typically, fellowships are part of the funding opportunities available to students to desire to pursue their postgraduate degree at various universities. Other funding opportunities like grants, student loans, scholarships, graduate assistantships, and internships are some of the opportunities also available to help students with the cost of their studies. 

Before we examine 10 African fellowships that support research and innovation, take a minute to subscribe to our newsletter for more updates. 

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1. African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence

The African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific is given to qualified individuals who have made valuable and useful discoveries in the STEM field. There are two categories of these awards which include:

  • Life and Earth Science and Innovation
  • Basic Science, Technology, and Innovation at the national, regional, and continental levels.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Must be an African scientist who has made remarkable achievements in science, research, and innovation. 
  2. Must be a national of the AU states. 
  3. Must be residing in AU states. 


  1. The continental award winners are entitled to $100,000
  2. The regional award winners are entitled to $20,000.
  3. The National Young Scientist Award winners are entitled to $2,000

2. African Science Leadership Programme Fellowship

Also, the African Science Leadership Program is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation. The program is targeted at reaching out to professionals who want to improve their research careers in basic and applied science, engineering, social sciences, and then the arts and humanities, 

Eligibility criteria

  1. Prospective fellows must have a PhD or an equivalent qualification.
  2. A faculty or a continuing research position at a research institution.
  3. A sustained record of outstanding scientific outputs.
  4. Interest in translating and communicating the results of their work for impact on society.
  5. Active in research and teaching at an African institution of higher education or research.


The program starts with two intensive online workshops and afterward, fellows will also have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills for about a year. The training will cover: 

  • Core elements of collective leadership
  • Creative and systems thinking
  • Development of effective networks
  • Stakeholder engagement for change
  • Maximizing the efficiency and impact of collaborative efforts
  • Advanced dialogue and communication skills
  • Effective problem-solving and decision-making

3. Next Einstein Forum Fellows Program

Additionally, the Next Einstein Forum Fellows Program is another fellowship opportunity open to Africans interested in the research and innovation field. The program recognizes Africa’s young best scientists and technologists and provides them the opportunity to advance their scientific careers and also inspire the next generation of innovators. 

Eligibility criteria

  1. Be 42 years of age or less.
  2. Hold a passport from an African country
  3. Hold a PhD in a field of science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, or the social sciences
  4. Have a demonstrated track record of research/findings that have a global impact
  5. You are passionate about raising Africa’s profile in STEM globally
  6. Able to present their work to an audience in English or French

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  1. Fellows have the opportunity to attend the NEF Global Gathering.
  2. Attend the NEF Community of Scientists Annual Meeting with previous fellows and ambassadors
  3. Collaborate with, receive mentoring, and partner with leading scientists and other stakeholders. 
  4. Contribute to the establishment of a positive global view of science in Africa
    • Application and program participation are completely free

4. African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship

Another fellowship opportunity that supports research and innovation in Africa is the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship. It quips top women in agricultural science by strengthening their skills including their leadership skills. The award started in 2010 and 15 awards have been given to different fellows to advance their training and research. 

Eligibility criteria

  1. Must be a female and an agricultural scientist
  2. Fellowship is awarded based on merit, leadership capacity, and potential of the scientist to improve the livelihoods of African smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.
  3. There is no age restriction. 
  4. Successful candidates will attend the mentorship program in Kenya. 


Fellows are entitled to a two-year fellowship that is focused on fostering mentoring partnerships, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity which are all conducted with a focus on gender issues in agricultural research.

5. Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Additionally, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is a flagship program of the United States government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The fellowship is aimed at empowering accomplished leaders who have established records of promoting positive impact in their communities and countries. 

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Applicants must have A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in business, civic engagement, or public service
  2. A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship
  3. A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship
  4. Strong social and communication skills
  5. A commitment to return to Africa and contribute skills and talents to build and serve their communities

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Fellows get to develop their leadership skills through academic study, workshops, mentoring, networking with U.S. leaders, and collaboration with U.S. citizens. 

6. The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Founded in 2014, the Africa Prize for Engineering and Innovation is dedicated to developing African innovators and enabling them to maximize their impact. It also supports ambitious African innovators in developing scalable engineering solutions to address local challenges.

Eligibility criteria

Generally, applicants must have developed or should be in the process of developing a new technological innovation. Applicants should:

  1. Innovations must aim to promote the welfare and economic development of a country or countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 
  2. It should be designed to address a development need or specific challenge facing that country. 
  3. The application must be in English


The benefits of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Fellowship include: 

  1. Access to business and technical expertise and sector-specific engineering mentoring.
  2. Bespoke press coverage and communications support.
  3. Eight-month tailored training program.
  4. Access to the Academy’s network of high-profile engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa.
  5. The opportunity for finalists to present their innovation to a judging panel at the Africa Prize showcase event.
  6. Prize money of up to £25,000.

7. TWAS-ROSSA Regional Young Scientists’ Prize

Furthermore, the TWAS-ROSSA Regional Young Scientists’Prize is open to students who want to bag their postdoctoral degrees and help early-career researchers gain education and experience at top science institutions. 

Application Criteria

  1. Applications should be submitted through the online portal
  2. Applicants should only apply for one program
  3. Applicants should also upload the necessary documents. 


The academy’s regional offices provide an award that amounts to up to $3,000 yearly for recipients. 

8. CARTA Ph.D. Fellowships

Additionally, the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa was established in 2008. It focuses on supporting the development of a vibrant African academy able to lead world-class multidisciplinary research that impacts positively on the public and the health population. Also, CARTA is a collaboration jointly led by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Kenya, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa.


  1. Applicants must have a master’s degree in a relevant field
  2. Applicants must be teaching or research staff in one of the participating institutions
  3. The applicant’s PhD proposal must be related to public health and other related topics.
  4. Male applicants must be under the age of 40 and female applicants must the under the age of 45.

9. African Research Leaders Fellowships

The African Research Leaders Fellowships supports excellent global health research and strengthens research and leadership across sub-Saharan Africa. The award provides support for up to 5 years and the requested amount should not exceed £750,000 in total.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must: 

  • have completed a PhD
  • Qualify for academic research having spent at least the last 3 years in active research (post-PhD)
  • be building a track record of independence in their selected field and demonstrating promise as future research leaders

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10. African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES) Fellowship

The African-German Network of Excellence in Science exists to enable junior researchers from sub-Saharan African countries to help with research in another sub-Saharan African country. It also allows them the opportunity to collaborate with researchers to enhance innovation. 

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Applicants should indicate the grant they are applying for in the proposal and CV. 
  2. Applicants must be registered for a doctoral degree at a university in Sub-sahara Africa.
  3. Must also be a citizen of the country. 


The grant benefit amounts to EUR 2300 and EUR 3000.

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  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.