Postdoctoral training for African scientists

In late January, the National Institutes of Health announced the inaugural winners of a new fellowship program for African scientists interested in working at NIH labs. The 10 postdoctoral scientists will work at the NIH for two years and receive support for an additional two years once they return to their countries of origin and begin their careers as independent investigators.

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, in a statement, explained the purpose of the program this way: “Our goal is to equip these talented African fellows with the skills to become scientific leaders, prepared to help solve their country’s health challenges and train future generations of researchers. By designing the African Postdoctoral Training Initiative to begin at NIH and then continue at their home institution, we aim to prevent ‘brain drain,’ build sustainable research capacity, and establish long-term collaborations between U.S. scientists and African investigators and research institutions.” Collins’ lab will host one of the fellows.

While we couldn’t find any information about how to apply to participate in the program in future years, we feel pretty confident an application process will eventually be announced.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release we received:

The fellowship program targets early career scientists who have doctoral degrees and less than five years of research experience. Candidates must also be citizens of an African country and employed at one of the continent’s academic, research or government institutions.

NIH’s Fogarty International Center is coordinating the fellowship program. The African Academy of Sciences managed the recruitment and selection process, and plans to recruit another cohort in 2020.

The only link on the press release is for the Fogarty International Center, so we advise potential candidates to keep an eye on that website and reach out to the center later this year for details, if they don’t materialize.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to fund the program.




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