African Career Accelerator Awards

The Crick African Network is pleased to announce a call for applications for the African Career Accelerator Awards.

Call status: Closed

Call for Applications


The Crick African Network's African Career Accelerator (CAN ACA) awards will provide Fellowship support for African Post-Doctoral researchers aiming to make the transition to becoming an independent researcher and launching their own research group. The CAN ACA awards will invest in early-career researchers who have demonstrated strong scientific and leadership potential, as well as a commitment to continuing their research on the African continent. This call is made possible by funding from the UK's Global Challenges Research Fund.

Nature of Award

Fellowships are for a duration of up to two years, and may include personal salary, visa costs and research expenses to implement the research. The Fellowships will be undertaken in two locations: The Francis Crick Institute ('the Crick', UK) and at one of the five African partner institutions: The University of Ghana (Ghana), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), University of Cape Town (South Africa), MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM (The Gambia) and MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit. Fellows will spend at least six months in each location, although this can be accumulated in more than one visit. It is expected that up to six fellowships will be awarded in this round, each with a value of up to approximately £130,000. Provision has been made to cover costs of travel for both relocation and conferences, as well as research related costs for consumables. Each fellowship also includes the option of the purchase of up to two pieces of equipment, each up to a value of £10,000.

Fellows will be supported by two supervisors/advisors: one each from the Crick and the chosen African partner institution, as well as having the option of support from one of the 14 Crick Science Technology Platforms (STP) which specialize in specific techniques and technologies.

In addition to conducting the proposed research programme, Fellows will participate in advanced training which will provide the skills and competencies to make the transition to becoming an independent research leader on the African continent. To facilitate this, Fellows will be supported to submit a research grant proposal to major international funders in order to be able to continue their work after the end of the Fellowship.

Fellowships will commence no later than 31st March 2019.

Research Areas

The scope of the research themes which can be undertaken as part of this Award can be defined as the infectious diseases of poverty, with an emphasis on Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV/AIDS, but also extending to neglected tropical diseases or non-communicable diseases with an infection component.
Clinical research is possible, but will have to be discussed specifically with potential supervisors/ advisors and institutions to confirm whether resources are available to support the research.


Applicants must be a citizen of one of the 55 African nations, as defined by the African Union.  Applicants will also have a PhD and have no more than 6 years' post-doctoral research experience (with allowances for career breaks) but more than 2 years' post-doctoral experience unless the applicant has an outstanding track record, supported by publication and employment history.

Background of Applicants

Competitive applicants will have a strong track record of research. They will have a PhD, and have progressed to a postdoctoral role through which they are on a demonstrable path to independence. Prior experience of applying for grant funding is desirable but not required.  Neither is it essential to currently be employed on the African continent, but applications should demonstrate the applicant's desire to establish themselves as an independent researcher on the African continent.

Application Assessment

The fellowships will accelerate careers that have already shown great potential both scientifically and in leadership. These awards will identify individuals who will go on to make significant contributions to research as well as science and knowledge on the African continent and applicants should articulate how this award would establish them as a research leader. 

Applications will be assessed predominantly on the quality of the science proposed, which will take into account the project, the individual, the research environments and the timeliness, relevance and feasibility of the project, by peer reviewers. The leadership potential of applicants and statements from supervisors will also be taken into account.

Strong applicants at the full application stage will be invited to interview. 

How to Apply

To apply, applicants must first submit a mandatory Expression of Interest form (see Guidance Notes for Expression of Interest form) by emailing it to The Expression of Interest form will be available between Monday 23rd April 2018 and 23:59 GMT on the 1st July 2018.

The purpose of the Expression of Interest form (EoI) is to establish eligibility as well as assisting applicants to find a combination of supervisors/advisors within the Crick and in African Partner Institutions who would be appropriate to support the proposed research. Having established eligibility, applicants are invited to discuss their proposed research with suggested supervisors to refine research plans.

Eligible applicants will be provided with the link to the online application portal which opens on 23rd May 2018 and closes at 23:59 GMT on 1st August 2018.

Applicants successful at the full application stage will be invited to interview. Interviews will take place during September 2018.

The outcome of applications will be announced on 1st October 2018.

For more information, email

  • Call Opens: Monday 23 April 2018
  • Online Portal for full applications opens 23 May 2018
  • The Expression of Interest Form is a mandatory stage
  • Deadline for Expression of Interest form is 01 July 2018
  • Deadline for full applications is 01 August 2018