Excell African Health Researcher Excellence and Leadership Programme 2018 (Fully-funded)

Excell African Health Researcher Excellence and Leadership Programme 2018 (Fully-funded)

Deadline: March 15, 2018

The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) invites applications for the Excell Researcher and Leadership Development Programme funded with a grant from the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The aim of the Excell programme is to enhance research capacity in global health – by African scientists in Africa for Africa. Through this 2-year programme, AREF will work closely with four to six research institutions from Sub-Saharan Africa, selected competitively.

The Excell programme is open to universities and internationally-recognised research institutions based in Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa Research Excellence Fund nurture early-career medical health researchers at their most vulnerable points of their career in Africa, for Africa.

This 2-year programme will enable 20 individual researchers (nominees) from participating research institutions to realise their health research and leadership potential – build strong research careers, empower excellent teams, win funding and collaborate internationally.

In the 18 months from May 2018 to October 2019, the programme will include:

  • Opening and closing conferences with participating institutions and individual researchers.
  • Four inspiring and practical residential 3-to-4-day workshops at quarterly intervals
  • Supplementary webinars, tutorials and on-line resources
  • Baseline and end-of-programme assessments and evaluation
  • Collaborating projects and networking


Up to 10,000 Eurosfunding will be available to support a capacity-strengthening project involving your team, the core of which will be your institution’s Excell Academic Lead and nominees. Your team will design and deliver the project during the programme period. The project will be focused on catalysing your institutional capacity development strategy. It should aim to be transformative, and to demonstrate how your institution can integrate and sustain the benefits of participating in the Excell programme.

Additionally, AREF will fund all AREF-approved travel and subsistence costs of participating Academic leads and nominees, training materials and teaching costs relating to the conferences, workshops and online learning.


  • This call is open to legally established universities and internationally-recognised research institutions based in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Applications should be submitted to AREF from the institutions by an authorised institutional Academic/Researcher-development lead who, as Lead Applicant will be responsible for developing and implementing the Excell programme within their institution.
  • Your application will need to be sponsored by the institution’s leadership: a named official with responsibility for research capacity development, such as the pro-vice chancellor for research or the research institution’s director. He/She must personally engage in local sponsorship and governance of the Excell programme.
  • AREF will accept applications from an entity within a university, such as a faculty, institute or centre, provided that the application is authorised by the institutional leadership (sponsor).
  • Only ONE application will be accepted from each university or research institution.
  • Joint applications such as between a university (-ies) and independent institutions are welcome, if one institution takes the lead and is responsible for ensuring sound governance and implementation.

If your institutional application is successful, AREF will select and offer to enrol three or four of your researchers (nominees) to participate in the programme.  Selection of individual participants for the programme will be based on AREF’s assessment of the relative potential for both the individual and institution to benefit, and on ensuring disciplinary, gender and regional balance in the Excell programme overall.

Nominating participants

Each organisation will select three or four nominees to participate in the programme, through an internal transparent, competitive process.  Institutions are encouraged to use the AREF-provided nominee application form and call flier, and to adapt them for their internal competition.  Institutions are strongly encouraged to start the process of selecting nominees early to ensure timely submission of their application.

To qualify as a participant, your nominees must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A national of Sub-Saharan African state
  • Employed in an eligible institution in a post with a significant and specific research role
  • Must have 2-6 full years of active postdoctoral research experience. Clinicians without a PhD who have a research Masters and 4-7 years of active research experience will also be considered
  • Declaration that they have not participated in an equivalent programme to Excell, or in separate training events that cover two of the five learning themes
  • AREF is keen to recruit talented researchers from a broad range of disciplines, including laboratory, clinical, behavioural, social, public health, economic, health systems, and environmental and mathematical sciences. Their research must be directed towards achieving better health outcomes in Africa.


Before starting your application, please read through all the information supplied.

Download the application package. This contains:

  1. AREF Excell Programme 2018 – Application Form
  2. AREF Excell Programme 2018: Information for applicants
  3. AREF Excell Programme 2018 – Nomination Form

Submit your form and supporting documents to AREF ([email protected]), copying in [email protected] (AREF Senior Administrative Assistant) by 4pm of 15 March 2018.

For more information, visit Excell Programme.