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LSHTM welcomes new funding for next generation of outstanding African early career global health pro

New funding for PhD scholars aims to address funding inequities and develop an integrated network of global health researchers between the UK and African countries.

A group of 25 new PhD scholars based in five African countries will be paired with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and other partner institutions, thanks to a new philanthropic gift of £1.5 million from the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

The specially selected scholars will work across six partner institutions in Africa, including at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM (MRC Unit The Gambia), the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit (MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit), Zambart at the University of Zambia, CDT-Africa Center for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, The Health Research Unit Zimbabwe (THRU ZIM) at the Biomedical Research and Training Institute, and the ZVITAMBO Institute of Maternal and Child Health Research in Zimbabwe.

This programme is embedded within the Wellcome-funded CREATE PhD Programme, which aims to support 25 UK healthcare professionals to undertake PhDs in global health. The Programme is led by LSHTM, and includes four other UK partner institutions as well as the six African partner institutions.

The funding will enable 25 African fellows to undergo a three-year PhD programme, partnered with the UK fellows, creating a unique, blended and integrated cohort. The CREATE Programme fellows will be jointly supervised by both UK and African institution supervisor, will receive peer-peer support and mentoring. It will equip them with the skills necessary to become global health leaders.

In addition, the programme will also train both the UK and African supervisors of fellows so that they can effectively support their students and jointly guide them through their PhD.

In an effort to prevent ‘brain drain’ where skilled Africans emigrate to other countries to complete their studies, the scholars will spend the majority of their time in their home country. It is hoped that this programme will generate impactful and relevant research outputs for African countries, while also contributing to a positive research culture change within UK and African institutions.

The host institutions are encouraging interdisciplinary research projects on any number of topics around the health needs of people in sub-Saharan Africa, including but not restricted to infectious diseases, maternal, child and adolescent health, non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases and mental health.

Professor Rashida Ferrand, director of the CREATE Programme, said: “I am really excited to have the opportunity to provide fellowships in our African partner institutions. This funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is all about creating a robust pipeline for training future African global health leaders.

“By pairing these fellows with UK institutions, we hope to encourage bidirectional learning and peer support and to foster transcultural understanding. Our fellows will undertake shared learning and research activities supported by both the UK and African partners, which champion an inclusive and equitable research culture. It is my hope that this programme is a step in the right direction to redress the inequities in global health research.”

The programme will recruit up to five fellows each year, with a total of 25 African fellows by 2027. It will provide each fellow with around £60,000 to cover a PhD stipend, research fieldwork costs, training and mentorship. LSHTM and the UK partner institutions have also agreed to support the scholars with fee waivers.

The Hamish Ogston Foundation is committed to supporting heritage, music and health in the UK and abroad, working towards eliminating the disparities in both access to medical treatment and health awareness amongst sections of society with limited resources.

There are currently three fellowships in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda open for application this year. More information about how to apply for these can be found here: https://www.create-phd.org/how-to-apply

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