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About The Program

Future Leaders – African Independent Researchers (FLAIR) Fellowships are for talented African early career researchers who have the potential to become leaders in their field. These fellowships provide the opportunity to build an independent research career in a sub-Saharan African institution and to undertake cutting-edge scientific research that will address global challenges facing developing countries.

Each FLAIR Fellowship will be for two years initially and will offer up to £150,000 per year, alongside a programme of support to develop fellows as independent research leaders including training and mentoring, and opportunities to network both regionally and with the UK and to develop international collaborations.

This is a partnership between the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Royal Society, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The objectives of this scheme are to:

  • Support talented early career researchers to establish an independent research career in African institutions.
  • Enable high-quality research that addresses the global development challenges faced by the African continent.
  • Provide world-class support, training, mentoring and networking opportunities to benefit early career African researchers.

Applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the GCRF research agenda and Global Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that their research aligns within the remit of these programmes.

Am I eligible to apply?

Applications should be within the remit of natural sciences. This includes physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering, agricultural, biological and medical research (excluding clinical and patient-orientated research), and the scientific aspects of archaeology, geography and experimental psychology but excluding economics, social science and humanities research.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • Are a national of a sub-Saharan African country and wish to work in a sub-Saharan African country in a research position, or a national of a sub-Saharan African country in the diaspora and wish to return to a sub-Saharan African research position.
  • Hold a PhD by the time you apply.
  • Are an early career researcher and have no more than 10 years of research experience since completing your PhD by the time of application. Where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity, adoptive leave of extended sick leave, assessment will not only take into account the actual period of leave take (e.g. three months), but will also allow an additional six months for each period of leave (e.g. three months plus six months = nine months) when assessing research experience eligibility.
  • Wish to hold the fellowship in a research institution in an ODA eligible sub-Saharan African country. Please see the scheme notes for a full list of eligible host countries.
  • Have a clearly defined scientific research proposal focusing on one or more of the Global Challenge areas outlined in the scheme notes.
  • Applicants are not permitted to submit more than one application per round.

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

What is the scheme’s value and duration?

This scheme provides:

  • An award of up to £150,000 per year to include funding for research fellow’s salary, research expenses, research support (excluding PhD studentships and full-time technician support), equipment, training, travel and subsistence, and institutional overhead.
  • In addition, the scheme will provide a wider programme of support to develop research rellows as independent research leaders including training and mentoring, and opportunities to network both regionally and with the UK to develop international collaborations.
  • The programme will provide two years of funding and support in the first instance; subject to progress during the first two years (and continued funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund) holders may have the opportunity to apply for a renewal for an additional three years.

What is the application process?

Applications should be made through the Royal Society’s grant management system Flexi-Grant®. Applications will initially be reviewed and then shortlisted by members of the FLAIR Appointments Panels which are split by subject group into one Biological Sciences Panel and one Physical Sciences Panel.

Shortlisted proposals will be subject to high quality independent peer review, and once complete these proposals will then be re-assessed by the initial panel members before a final shortlist for interview is drawn up.

Applicants who have reached the final shortlisting stage will be invited for interview at the AAS offices in Nairobi where travel and accommodation expenses will be arranged by the AAS.

Results will be made available six months after the application closing date, in December 2018.

Use of application data

Please note that information regarding your application to the FLAIR Fellowship will be shared between the Royal Society and the African Academy of Sciences for data monitoring and scheme evaluation purposes. You will also be contacted by UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and selected third parties as part of their GCRF analysis and evaluation activities. If successful, the Royal Society and the African Academy of Sciences will contact you regarding the administration of your award throughout the course of your funding and after its completion. You will also be contacted by the Royal Society, African Academy of Sciences or an agent acting on their behalf, for reporting and evaluation purposes throughout the course of your funding and after its completion.

For more information, visit the official website of the Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowships for Talented African Early Career Researchers