MRC-LSHTM West African Global Health Research Fellowship Programme

Lead Research Organisation: MRC Unit, The Gambia


This proposal addresses a critical career gap in MRC’s leadership and partnership strategy for global health research. The Programme aims to strengthen the pipeline of researchers from the West Africa region and the UK/EU with the potential to become leaders of global health research. It focuses on the critical career gap at the immediate/early postdoctoral level. Fellows appointed will enhance the excellence of The Gambia Unit and LSHTM research, leadership capacity in the region, MRC’s global health strategy and UK capacity for leadership and partnership in global health research.

The fellowship targets recently-qualified doctoral graduates of outstanding ability, motivated to tackle important and challenging research questions by training and working in the West African region.
The fellowship programme will enable these individuals to move towards research independence and eventual leadership by deploying the complementary research, training, mentoring and networking capabilities of MRC and LSHTM

Working together, ensures that Fellows are appointed and managed to the highest standards, and that they have exceptional opportunities for research and training that is both excellent and relevant.

Technical Summary

The Programme goal is to strengthen the ‘pipeline’ of researchers from the West Africa region and the UK/EU with the talent and experience to become leaders of global health research in the future by bridging a critical career gap - at immediate/early postdoctoral level not covered by existing schemes. The output will be a growing cadre of talented researchers able to compete for intermediate and senior fellowships and academic lectureships. Through their fellowships and subsequent careers, they will enhance the excellence of Gambia Unit and the LSHTM, contribute to MRC’s global health strategy, and enhance the UK/EU capacity for and reputation in this field of research.
We aim to:
• leverage the complementary research and training strengths of The Gambia Unit and the LSHTM
• attract and appoint three outstanding early-career scientists from the West Africa region and the UK over three years with the ambition and capability to work in West Africa on important global health problems
• enable the Fellows to develop into highly competitive, mobile, career scientists with leadership potential
• help Fellows obtain a further academic or research position on completion of their fellowship, while sustaining productive relationships with the Gambia Unit, LSHTM, regional and international collaborators and mentors
• develop a cadre of potential global health researcher leaders, able to work across disciplinary, sectoral, translational and geographic boundaries.
• create the basis for a sustainable regional postdoctoral ‘training and development platform,’ at a manageable scale, focused on complementary interests and capabilities, aligned with funders’ strategies including those yet to emerge for EDCTP-2
Our ambition is to enhance the global health research capacity of the UK/EU and the West Africa region, by nurturing a cohort of emerging research leaders, who will:
• bring new insights into disease and health challenges, based on world-class science and deep local knowledge
• enable translation of knowledge into appropriate and effective interventions, working with policy makers, industry and services
• develop and sustain research partnerships aligned with long-term, strategic global health programmes
• attract new funding to global health research that is well aligned with UK and West Africa’s regional needs
The Programme is open to clinical and non-clinical scientists from West Africa and the EU who have up to 3 years’ postdoctoral experience. We will appoint three Fellows. Selection will be through a competitive process. The primary criterion for selection will be quality of both candidate and project proposed.
Description MRC Unit, The Gambia/LSHTM Partnership 
Organisation London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Gambia Unit will provide field and clinical platform
Collaborator Contribution The provision of specialized training such as statistics and bioinformatics
Impact Fellowship award granted to a post-doc researcher Dr Brenda Kwambana on the West African Global Health Research Fellow programme
Start Year 2013