Sub-Saharan Africa



UK Research and Innovation - African Research Leaders 2023 Movemeback African initiative cover image


Apply for funding to support excellent global health research and strengthen research leadership across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). They aim to attract and retain exceptionally talented ‘rising star’ individuals who will lead high quality research on key global health issues pertinent to SSA.

Researchers should be supported by an enthusiastic local research environment and by a UK-based mentor as part of a partnership between the African and UK institutions. Awards will provide support for up to five years and the requested amount should not exceed £750,000 in total.


Lack of grant funding and research infrastructure in many SSA countries can make it difficult to attract and retain talented African scientists. As a result, African nationals are currently under-represented as leaders in medical research in the region.

This scheme seeks to support talented early-to-mid career African researchers who are either already based in a SSA country, or currently working overseas who wish to return to a SSA country.

You can apply for this opportunity if you are a researcher based at an eligible African research institution with sufficient research capacity to manage and deliver research. This includes:

  • Universities or higher education institutions based in SSA with degree-awarding powers recognised by the government in which the organisation is based. This includes the MRC units at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Uganda and the Gambia
  • Research focused institutes based in SSA either funded by the government of the country in which the organisation is based or by a not-for-profit organisation
  • Research focused not-for-profit organisations based in SSA with dedicated research capacity
  • If a candidate is returning to work in SSA, they are expected to make their own arrangements for relocating and obtaining a tenured academic position at an eligible African research institution if one is not already held (and should be in post by the start of any award)

Your application will be required to meet the four key elements of the scheme, namely a:

  • Talented ‘rising star’ African research leader candidate
  • High quality research programme proposal
  • Research conducive academic African environment or institution
  • Firm partnership with a UK partner institution


  • Awards will provide support for up to five years and the MRC contribution should not exceed £750,000 in total. The majority of the funding will be for work taking place in the African research institution and so would be eligible for full economic costing (fEC) at 100% and must be entered as exceptions. Any costs specifically for the UK research institution will be provided on the basis of 80% fEC as usual

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