The University of Warwick is to play a lead role in a £3 million initiative to develop promising young medical scientists to take the lead in tackling Africa’s deadliest diseases.
Funding for the scheme has come from a £30 million international consortia set up by the Wellcome Trust to strengthen research capacity in Africa, which is struggling with HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
Warwick is one of only a handful of UK universities involved, along with more than 50 institutions from 18 African countries.
Warwick Medical School works closely with one of the lead institutions in the project, the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (Carta).
This partnership will aim to develop institutional capacity to support and conduct health-related research vital to enhancing people’s health, lives and livelihoods.
One of the key Warwick academics involved, Professor Margaret Thorogood, said: “The Carta partnership will provide a unique opportunity for staff and students at Warwick to work alongside African researchers and teachers and to contribute to a truly innovative plan, which we hope will train a new generation of leaders of public health in Africa.”
Dr Alex Ezeh, executive director at the African Population and Health Research Centre in Kenya, believes the initiative will be important to improving research in the region.
He said: “Notwithstanding the attention it has historically received, research capacity remains very weak in Africa.
“The Wellcome Trust initiative represents a truly innovative mechanism to position African scholars and institutions as leaders in the collaborative efforts to rebuild research capacity in the region.
“It holds strong promise of creating a new class of highly-networked African scholars and institutions with the requisite skills to address the region’s health challenges.”
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, added: “The African continent faces some of the world’s most serious health problems. If we are to tackle these problems, we need health research on the continent to develop in a vibrant research environment geared to national priorities.”