Open Funding: Up to £47,000 available in funding. Research Development Fellowship 2023/24


The Africa Research Excellence Fund, AREF, is pleased to launch the call for the AREF Research Development Fellowship Programme for 2023/24.

The aim of the Research Development Fellowship Programme is to provide opportunities for talented health researchers based in Africa, so that they can lead research that is responsive to its African settings and can contribute to reducing the burden of disease. It aims to develop emerging African scientists through developing their skills, experience, confidence and research outputs.

Fellowships offer awardees the opportunity to develop their own research ideas, research skills and capabilities, to grow their research relationships through collaboration and mentorship, and to work towards a substantial research funding proposal.

We receive many updates from AREF Fellows who report how their Fellowship has progressed their career. Many have gone on to win fellowships and grants: this includes funding from institutions including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Wellcome Trust, African Academy of Sciences (AESA, FLAIR), the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and others.

Programme Overview

Aim: To support researchers in Africa who are emerging leaders and working on important challenges for human health, to develop their skills as a researcher. 

What we offer: A three to nine-month placement at a leading research institution in the UK, Europe or Africa, with additional support at your home institution before and after the placement. Up to £47,000 available in funding

Who is eligible? Early career researchers. These are research active post-doctoral scientists and clinicians with higher qualifications who are nationals of and employed in Africa (see detailed eligibility criteria). 

Information for potential applicants 

Read the guidance documents carefully before developing your proposal and starting your application. Complete the application form and all other supporting documents, and upload on to the online application (Application Form Part A.)

It is essential that you discuss your plans for an AREF Fellowship in the context of your career development with appropriate leaders within your Employing Organisation and Host Organisation at an early stage. You need your sponsors and other senior people to agree and support your plans. 

AREF does not reimburse your Employing Organisation for your salary while you are away on placement: we do, however, support reasonable accommodation, travel and training costs.


We aim to notify all applicants of the outcomes of their applications by end of March 2024.  

Successful Fellowships are expected to start between July 2024 and no later than December 2024.  

Deadline for submission of all application documents: 13:00 GMT, 14 September 2023

What you need before starting your application:

  1. Read the Application Scheme Information.
  2. Thoroughly review the Guidance on Completing the Application Forms.
  3. AREF Terms and Conditions.

Application documents:

  1. Online Application Form PART A 
  2. Download the Application Form Parts B-F, to fill and upload on to the online application form.
  3. Download and complete the Application Form Part G – Signature Page, then submit on to the online application.

You can read more about our fellowship, and what kind of topics our Fellows who come from Africa have been researching.

Should you have any further questions tha

Should you have any further questions that are not contained in information, please email by 8 September 2023. 

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