Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)

Supporting the next generation of outstanding African researchers, who will help solve some of Africa’s greatest health and development challenges is a key priority for the continent.

It is for this reason that the African Union (AU) Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015, endorsed the establishment of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) - a platform created by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the NEPAD Agency.

Housed at AAS headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, this pan-African platform offers an opportunity for long-term development of research leadership, scientific excellence and innovation that will impact on Africa’s developmental challenges. The AESA platform, among other things, is identifying challenges that hinder rapid scientific advancement in Africa, run open calls for proposals with transparent...

Supporting the next generation of outstanding African researchers, who will help solve some of Africa’s greatest health and development challenges is a key priority for the continent. 

It is for this reason that the African Union (AU) Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015, endorsed the establishment of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) - a platform created by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the NEPAD Agency.

Housed at AAS headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, this pan-African platform offers an opportunity for long-term development of research leadership, scientific excellence and innovation that will impact on Africa’s developmental challenges. The AESA platform, among other things, is identifying challenges that hinder rapid scientific advancement in Africa, run open calls for proposals with transparent review processes, actively manage grants and evaluate and measure the impact of such investments. AESA promotes collaborative and coordinated implementation of the AU’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) in the area of health.

AESA specifically:

  • Contributes to setting the agenda for health research and innovation in Africa;

  • Provides competitive grants to train future generations of scientists who can produce quality research to inform health policy, and develop medical innovations that will reduce the continent’s disease burden;

  • Builds scientific capacity to create facilities and an environment to attract and retain world class scientists;

  • Mobilises resources from multiple domestic and international partners in order to ensure Science Technology and Innovation (STI) programmes are adequately supported to maximise their impact.

AESA’s success is built on strong buy-in by African leadership, to contribute to the development of science, technology and innovation in Africa and development of active partnerships with domestic and international stakeholders. AESA is engaging state and non-state actors on the continent in order to mobilise investment in accelerating excellence in science on the continent. Internationally AESA has already received the recognition and financial support of three partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WellcomeTrust and UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).  AESA is designing programmes to fund African research in partnership with these and other global funding agencies, and with various pan-African organisations. The first of the AESA programmes is the Wellcome Trust-funded, Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS), a US$70 million initiative to support the development of world class researchers in Africa by providing competitive grants to collaborative teams to conduct health research, offer training and mentorship and improve research infrastructure. Similar initiatives are being negotiated with other partners.

Results:

AESA was launched in September 2015 to help drive Africa’s research agenda and build scientific capacity across the continent. The AESA launch ceremony also featured the announcements of two grant programmes intended to support Africa’s future research leaders: the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) Africa Awards and Grand Challenges Africa.


DELTAS Africa 
The US$70 million DELTAS Africa programme, initiated by the Wellcome Trust in partnership with AESA, and including additional funding from DFID announced today, supports the African-led development of world class researchers and research leaders across the continent. Over an initial period of five years (2015-2020), the programme will support collaborative teams to conduct health research, offer training and mentorship and improve health research infrastructure. Following a joint review, operations and leadership of DELTAS Africa will be transferred to AESA early next year.  

The first seven DELTAS Africa awards, new grants focused on locally relevant research including infection and immunity, mental health and biostatistics, were announced today. The programmes are led from universities and research institutes in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and involve collaboration across the continent and with international research centres. 


Grand Challenges Africa 
The Grand Challenges Africa is an initiatives that seeks to engage innovators from around the world to solve the most pressing challenges in global health and development. Through the AESA platform, Grand Challenges Africa will build on the success of local Grand Challenges programmes in India, Brazil and South Africa, as well as the strong base of African Grand Challenges grantees funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada and USAID.

Initially, Grand Challenges Africa will focus on supporting the over 400 existing Grand Challenges grantees in Africa, including by hosting a 2016 convening of African grantees. The programme will ultimately develop, launch and manage Africa-specific Grand Challenges targeted to the development challenges preventing African countries from reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

Grand Challenges also launched four new calls for proposals focused on antimicrobial resistance, newborn and infant gut health, digital financial services and other global health priority areas. Initial grants will be for US$100,000 and successful projects will be eligible to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1million. 

24 January 2017
24 January 2017 | Cape Town | Prominent research and development agencies have formed an intra – African collaboration in an effort to fund, conduct and facilitate research projects that will...
14 April 2016
The idea that Africa’s development depends critically on science, technology and innovation is embodied in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
In a key milestone for scientific and health research in Africa, the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, endorsed the establishment of the Alliance for...
Contact:

Contact detail: Prof Aggrey Ambali Email: aggreya@nepad.org, Tel: +27112563600

Back to Top