Deadline: 13:00 GMT, 14 September 2023
Research Development Fellowship (RDF) Programme 2023-2024
Research Development Fellowship (RDF) Programme is designed to support African researchers who are working on important challenges for human health in Africa. So far, it has supported 65 health researchers with placements at world-class research institutions across Africa and Europe.
Aim of the programme
The RDF Programme aims to develop emerging African scientists who are working on important challenges for human health in Africa, growing their skills, experience, confidence and research outputs.
The scope of the Programme includes both infectious and non-communicable diseases that are significant and/or identified as “neglected” in Africa.
The RDF Programme enables talented early-career researchers to:
- acquire advanced research skills
- develop and test their own compelling research questions
- develop highly effective mentoring relationships
- grow their potential collaborations
- raise their profile through international networking
- The RDF Programme supports a placement of between three to nine months for each Fellow at a leading research organisation in Europe or Africa, with time either side of the placement for preparation and follow-up. This aims to promote development of technical skills, collaborations and networks.
- The RDF Programme does NOT provide Fellows with funds for a whole research project; it focuses on developing researcher skills.
- The maximum award for the fellowship placement is £47,000 (GB Pounds).
- Applicants will need to demonstrate a credible, ambitious vision for their research career in an area of human-health challenge for Africa; and a transformational, well-supported development plan that would be significantly enhanced by the RDF Programme.
- Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans at an early stage with their employing and potential host organisations.
Eligibility and guidance
To be eligible, applicants must be a national of a country in Africa. You need not be resident in Africa at the time of applying, provided that your application is officially supported by an African institution that meets the eligibility criteria for an employing institution and which attests that it intends to employ you locally. You can find information about the 2023/24 eligibility here.
How to apply
Guidance for applicants and the application form is provided on their open funding calls.
Visit this page for more information on how to apply
Applications open once per year, typically in June/July with a deadline in September (timings may be subject to change.)
Applicants must ensure that their Employing and intended Host Organisations (the sponsors) understand the purposes of the AREF Fellowship, how AREF will pay the organisations and what their obligations are if they accept an award.
Tips for success:
- Applicants need to articulate (i) a specific, important health challenge relevant to Africa, (ii) an original, potentially impactful and researchable question, and (iii) an understanding of the pertinent research methodologies / technologies to answer that question – and which capabilities you intend to develop. Many applications fail to be ambitious, original or feasible – or just lack specific details.
- Applicants must be specific about the research they are aiming to do after the Fellowship: we ask you to define a research question and outline strategy.
- Applicants must describe how planned Fellowship activities will lead towards addressing that research question and career goals.
- Applicants must engage as soon as possible with their home institution so they actively support the application.
- Applicants must engage early with their intended academic host and the host institution: they need time to develop the right kind of support for the Fellowship.
- Applicants should ensure that the costs are clearly specified and are permitted.
- The placement should provide an applicant the opportunity to develop skills and networks and it should be clear that it is not a continuation/extension of an existing activity.