2022 AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme for Emerging Africa Researchers

The aim of the AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme is to empower talented, emerging scientists in Africa to compete successfully for UKRI MRC and other major funding opportunities in global health research.


The programme is directed towards to winning grant funding, empowering effective teams, collaborating internationally, influencing stakeholders and building rewarding research careers. Together, we are investing in talented African scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa, enhancing their global health research and leadership potential.

Programme Outline: AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme

The programme will run between October 2022 – October 2023, consisting of two residential workshops and one virtual workshop.

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The Programme comprises of the following elements:

  • Three inspiring and practical blended workshops at six-monthly intervals
  • Supplementary webinars, tutorials and online resources
  • Baseline and end-of-programme assessments and evaluation
  • Collaboration between participating individuals

The Programme has the following themes tailored to meet the needs of each cohort:

  1. The researcher as a leader: focusing on learning and leading in a complex world; raising the cohort’s self-awareness and mindfulness while also building their coaching, influencing, and leadership capabilities.
  2. The effective researcher: developing the individual’s ability to envision, plan and action career goals and developmental trajectory through personal development planning, time management, and mentorship.
  3. The researcher as a communicator: augmenting the individual’s leadership, authorship and authority skills through the use of effective presentations, storytelling and messaging while refining their engagement with research users.
  4. The compelling applicant: understanding funders; proposal development and writing skills- from formulating a research question, justifying the design/strategy, concept notes and full proposals; data sharing; understanding peer review; fellowship interviews.
  5. The researcher as a manager: building a great team; effective collaboration; implementation planning; working with Research Support and Finance departments; managing a budget and intellectual property

The five themes will be integrated across the three workshops. The balance of the curriculum will be determined by the participants’ needs.

The costs of the workshops and associated by accommodation and travel of selected nominees will be met by The MRC and AREF.

Key events of AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme

The timetable for all Towards Leadership participants is as follows:

  • Opening Workshop (residential) – planned for 2 to 4 November 2022.
  • Workshop 2 (virtual) – planned for 13 to 17 March 2023.
  • Closing Workshop (residential) – planned for October 2023

Programme Eligibility Criteria: AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme

Entry to the Towards Leadership is through an application process that will be rigorously and fairly reviewed to select the best candidates for the programme and will focus on:

  • Global Health Remit: AREF and The MRC are keen to recruit talented researchers from a diverse range of biomedical, clinical and health-related disciplines. If you are unsure of whether your research falls within this remit, please email [email protected].
  • Diversity: AREF will ensure the selection of a balanced cohort of men and women to the programme.

Before applying, ensure that:

How To Apply for AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme

To apply for the Programme, please click here to download the application form and return it to [email protected] before the deadline.

For more information: Contact AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme at [email protected]

The Application deadline is on the 30th of June 2022

2022 AREF-MRC Towards Leadership Programme for Emerging Africa Researchers

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