African Independent Research Fellowships

African Independent Research Fellowships

African Independent Research Fellowships

The African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society have partnered to deliver a postdoctoral fellowship programme supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowships.

The FLAIR Fellowships Programme will produce Africa’s next generation of independent research leaders undertaking cutting-edge research that will address global challenges facing Africa.

The fellowships are aimed at talented African early career researchers with the potential to become leaders in their field and provide the opportunity to build an independent research career in an African institution.

The objectives of the FLAIR fellowship programme are:

  • Developing Africa’s next generation of research leaders - supporting talented early career African researchers to establish their scientific independence, focus on developing their research and become leaders in their chosen discipline.
  • Supporting excellent research - enabling African researchers to address areas of global significance across the natural sciences through high-quality research, advancing knowledge and innovation which aim to benefit their country and address aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Enhancing research environments - working through relevant partners, awards will contribute towards institutional research capacity strengthening and establishing good financial grant practice in African universities and research institutions.
  • Fostering collaboration and impact – establishing mutually beneficial long-term links between African Fellows and relevant UK researchers to harness the expertise of the UK research base through equitable partnerships and enhancing knowledge exchange and translation into sustainable policy and practical benefits.
  • The programme will provide two years of funding and support in the first instance; subject to progress during the first two years (and continued funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund) holders may have the opportunity to apply for a renewal for an additional three years.

    The funding will cover salary and research and travel expenses and will allow holders to focus on developing their research with limited teaching responsibilities.

    In addition, FLAIR Research Fellows will receive a generous programme of support to develop them as independent research leaders including training, mentoring, opportunities to network both regionally and with the UK and to develop international collaborations.

    Global Challenge Areas

    Proposals must seek to address the GCRF research agenda for enabling change and focusing on one or more of the following areas:

    Equitable Access to Sustainable Development - creating new knowledge and drive innovation that helps to ensure that everyone across the globe has access to:

  • secure and resilient food systems supported by sustainable marine resources and agriculture
  • sustainable health and well being
  • inclusive and equitable quality education
  • clean air, water and sanitation
  • affordable, reliable, sustainable energy

    Sustainable Economies and Societies - encouraging research that for the longer-term builds:

  • sustainable livelihoods supported by strong foundations for inclusive economic growth and innovation
  • resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change
  • sustainable cities and communities
  • sustainable production and consumption of materials and other resources

    Human Rights, Good Governance and Social Justice - supporting research that enables us to:

  • understand and respond effectively to forced displacement and multiple refugee crises reduce conflict and promote peace, justice and humanitarian action
  • reduce poverty and inequality, including gender inequalities.

    The above Global Challenges are illustrative and are not intended to constrain innovative approaches in other areas that address the GCRF’s aim of supporting excellent research that directly contributes to the development and welfare of people in developing countries.

    Subjects Covered

    Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics.

    Submissions from clinically qualified scientists may be considered but the Royal Society does not support clinical or interventional research on humans at the individual or group level.

    Additionally, funding from the Royal Society does not cover social sciences or humanities.

    Value of Funding and Support Provided

    Each fellowship will be up to £150,000 per year. This will include:

  • Funding for research fellow’s salary, research expenses, research support (excluding PhD studentships and full-time technician support), equipment, training, travel and subsistence and organizational overhead.
  • In addition, the scheme will provide a wider programme of support to develop fellows as independent research leaders including training and mentoring, and opportunities to network both regionally and with the UK and develop international collaborations.
  • All grants will be paid in Pound Sterling (GBP) to the African Host Organization. Currency fluctuations which result in the increases or decreases in the value of the awards are at the Host Organization and Award Holder’s risk.

    Duration and Start of Fellowship

  • Fellowships are expected to commence from next year.

  • The programme will provide two years of funding and support in the first instance; subject to progress during the first two years (and continued funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund) holders may have the opportunity to apply for a renewal for an additional three years.
  • Fellowships will be held full-time. Should any candidates need to hold the fellowship on a part-time basis because of caring responsibilities this will be considered and discussed on a case-by-case basis at the point of being offered a conditional award. Number of Fellowships Offered: Approximately 30.

    Eligibility

    Applicant Eligibility

  • Successful applicants will be talented African early career researchers who are ready to develop their independence and have the potential to become leaders in their field.
  • Underrepresented groups, including women, are particularly encouraged to apply.

    The applicant must:

  • Be a national of a sub-Saharan African country and wish to work in a sub-Saharan African country in a research position; or
  • Be a national of a sub-Saharan African country in the diaspora and wish to return to a research position in a sub-Saharan African country.

    The applicant must have been awarded a PhD at the time of application.

  • The applicant must be an early career researcher with a minimum of two years’ research experience since completing their PhD and no more than 8 years’ post-doctoral research experience, by the time of application. This includes time spent teaching, honorary positions and/or visiting researcher positions.
  • The African Academy of Sciences and Royal Society recognise there are diverse research career paths, as well as the challenges of managing a research career alongside other personal commitments.

    When reviewing applicants’ eligibility and research experience, The Royal Society will take into consideration time spent outside the research environment (e.g. time away due to personal reasons such as maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoptive leave or other caring responsibilities; ill-health or working in a non-research environment/role such as industry).

    Furthermore, where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity shared parental and adoptive leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner or adopter), or extended sick leave, the Royal Society will allow on top of each period of leave an additional amount of time when assessing eligibility.

    Each case will be considered individually as per guidelines below:

  • Maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and adoptive leave: On top of the actual time taken off work, an additional amount of time equivalent to the 100% taken will be added on top, for up to 6 months.

    Example 1: If an applicant took 4 months leave, additional 4 months would be added and a total of 8 months would be deducted. Example 2: If an applicant took 18 months leave, additional 6 months would be added (maximum additional time allowed) and a total of 24 months would be deducted.

  • Extended sick leave (defined as more than four weeks off work, as per UK Government’s definition):
  • On top of the actual time taken off work, an additional amount of time equivalent to the 100% taken will be added on top, for up to 6 months.
  • Each case will be considered individually and the employing institution may need to confirm that the applicant qualifies for this provision. Supporting documents may be requested for individual cases at the Royal Society’s discretion. The Royal Society reserves the right to consider individual requests outside of the outlined policy in exceptional circumstances.
  • Applicants are not permitted to submit more than one application per round.
  • Applicants who are not currently employed are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must have a clearly defined scientific research proposal focusing on one or more of the Global Challenge areas outlined above. The Fellowship scheme is designed to support applicants towards an independent research career.

    Attracting other grant funding in addition to the Fellowship strengthens your career.

    Subject to agreement, it may be permissible for applicants to hold additional research grants alongside the Fellowship. Any additional grants must meet the following conditions:

  • It is expected that the Fellow’s salary will be paid from the FLAIR award, and research costs from other grants will directly support research activities. In instances where applicants have existing research grants from which they draw a salary, it may be possible to request a partial salary contribution from the FLAIR Fellowship for a minimum of 80% of the applicant’s working hours upon a clear and reasonable justification provided in their application.
  • The majority of the applicant’s time (at least 80%) must be spent on the FLAIR programme and acceptance of the additional grants should not compromise the ability to deliver on the aims of the FLAIR Fellowship.
  • Should any candidates need to hold the fellowship on a part-time basis because of caring responsibilities this will be considered and discussed on a case-by-case basis at the point of being offered a conditional award, with the expectation that you work at least 60% full time equivalent.

    Host Organization Eligibility

  • Eligible host organizations in sub-Saharan Africa include:

  • African Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education and Research
  • African Private Institutions of Higher Education and Research
  • For profit organizations are not eligible to host FLAIR Fellows.
  • Candidates can apply to hold the fellowship at their current organization in sub-Saharan
  • Africa or to move to a new employing organisation in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Underrepresented organisations are particularly encouraged to apply, including smaller or younger organisations and those based in Francophone and Lusophone countries.

    Host organisations must:

  • Provide the required laboratory and office space for the Research Fellow to meet the aims of their research programme and ensure they have access to equipment in the department.
  • Limit the teaching responsibilities of the research fellow (including lecturing, tutorials, supervision and examining of students and other student contact time) to a maximum of 6 hours per week. The Research Fellow should have no administrative load.
  • Ensure that the Research Fellow receives the same level of support as other permanent members of the department including access to postgraduate students and other resources and will be invited to departmental meetings along with other faculty staff.
  • Provide the Research Fellow with support within the department from an experienced member of the faculty who can advise them on the development of their career.
  • Ensure that the Research Fellow has timely access to the funding provided by the FLAIR
  • Fellowship as required by the Research Fellow and will not unduly delay access to funding.
  • Demonstrate a good level of financial grants management and have the necessary processes, procedures and policies in place for both good research practice and compliance with UK legislation and guidance on the use of public funds for research.
  • Provide information on how the organisation/department supports the development of early career researchers transitioning to independence including relevant policies on supporting early career researchers (post-PhD).

    Countries Covered

    The FLAIR Fellowship scheme accepts applications which will be hosted at an organization of higher education and research in sub-Saharan Africa:

    Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon,

    Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon,

    The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe,

    Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Apply by 27th May.

    For more information and application details, see; African Independent Research Fellowships

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