Career Development Fellowships 2019
For many young scientists in developing countries the bridge between doctoral qualification and an established research career is the most difficult to cross due to lack of continued research funding and lack of access to established research networks. As research in the field of poverty related diseases (PRDs) gains momentum, it is paramount to facilitate opportunities for early and mid-career scientists in sub-Saharan Africa to develop their clinical research skills. Providing possibilities for individual training would enable talented scientists to establish themselves as independent researchers and team leaders at host institutions in sub-Saharan Africa for long-term continuity, networking and research ownership in the region.
The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to support early to mid-career researchers (“fellows”) by providing them an opportunity to train and develop their clinical research skills.
The objectives are:
- to promote retention of postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate medical researchers in the research field of sub-Saharan Africa
- to equip the fellows to establish themselves as independent researchers with ability to initiate their own research teams at host institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.
The proposed training should specifically enhance the ability of the fellow to design, plan and execute clinical biomedical and/or social science/ethics research projects within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme*. Novartis aims to co-fund this call with at least five additional fellowships (to a maximum value of € 750,000) for proposals conducting research in the area of maternal and child health on the interaction between PRDs* and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The contribution from Novartis aims to address a shortage of suitably trained mid-career researchers in sub-Saharan Africa working on maternal and child health in the context of a growing double burden of infectious diseases, malnutrition, and child and maternal mortality, in addition to emerging challenges of NCDs.
The proposed training should include an independent research activity and a clear description of the skills that will be acquired by carrying out the research. Fellows with training activities involving clinical trials and related studies must ensure that studies are appropriately designed and GCP-compliant. Individuals targeted by this Call for Proposals should have a track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals in their chosen area of research; a mentor who is an internationally recognised scientific leader working in sub-Saharan Africa; and a career development plan as part of the research proposal.
Proposals for an EDCTP Career Development Fellowship must be submitted by the prospective fellow in conjunction with and on behalf of their proposed host organisation (hereinafter ‘the applicant legal entity’). The grants are awarded to the host organisation with the explicit commitment that this organisation offers appropriate conditions for the career development fellow to direct and manage its funding for the duration of the fellowship. Fellows can only be funded once under this grant scheme.
Projects funded under this Call for Proposals should:
- contribute towards the achievement of SDG3 ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’
- promote career progression
- encourage entry and reintegration of African scientists trained abroad and
- enable the retention of postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers in their respective research fields and that the researchers develop into independent researchers and team leaders in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ultimately these grants will contribute to the generation of a critical mass of researchers and institutional research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.
A proposal/application will only be considered eligible if:
- its content corresponds, wholly or in part, to the topic/contest description for which it is submitted
- it complies with the eligibility conditions for participation set out below, depending on the type of action:
- The applicant must be a legal entity established in sub-Saharan Africa (the applicant legal entity)**.
- The fellow must be employed or have guaranteed employment by the applicant legal entity (the host organisation) where they intend to remain working for a minimum of two years after the expiration of the grant.
- The applying fellow must:
- be a resident of or be willing to relocate to a sub-Saharan African country;
- be either a graduate in a subject relevant to the EDCTP2 programme, with a PhD and up to five years’ relevant postdoctoral research experience, or a medical doctor with up to five years’ research experience;
- have at least one publication in an international peer-reviewed journal;
- not have been funded under this fellowship scheme before***.
- The requested EDCTP2 contribution per action shall not exceed EUR 150,000
- The maximum fellowship duration shall be 36 months.
* In the EDCTP2 programme, “poverty-related diseases (PRDs)” include HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and the following neglected infectious diseases (NIDs): dengue/severe dengue; rabies; human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness); leishmaniases; cysticercosis/taeniasis; dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease); echinococcosis; foodborne trematodiases; lymphatic filariasis; mycetoma; onchocerciasis (river blindness); schistosomiasis; soil-transmitted helminthiases; Buruli ulcer; leprosy (Hansen disease); trachoma; yaws; diarrhoeal infections; lower respiratory infections; as well as emerging infectious diseases of particular relevance for Africa, such as Ebola or yellow fever.
** This additional condition for participation according to the Rules for Participation (RfP) Art. 9.5 is required due to the objectives of this Training & Mobility Action. It aims to support junior fellows in sub-Saharan Africa in line with the activities called for by the EU legislator (EDCTP2 Basic Act, Annex II, activity 1c). It contributes to the specific objectives of the EDCTP2 programme which calls, e.g., for cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa on building their capacity for conducting clinical trials in compliance with fundamental ethical principles, relevant legislation, and international standards, and for extended cooperation with private partners (EDCTP2 Basic Act, Annex I, objectives 2b).
*** This additional condition for participation according to RfP Art. 9.5 is required due to the objectives of the EDCTP2 programme which requires that the capacity for conducting clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa are built and strengthened (EDCTP2 Basic Act, Annex II). Allowing fellows in sub-Saharan Africa to only receive once a specific EDCTP2 fellowship will increase the number of different fellows supported and promoted under the EDCTP2 programme, and in turn, strengthen more broadly the corresponding clinical research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Procedure and application process
Submission and evaluation procedure
This is a single-stage application procedure. Proposals must be submitted by 27 November 2019, 17:00 CET via EDCTPgrants. Evaluation results are expected to be made available by 19 April 2020.
The host organisation (applicant) must provide a support letter confirming that the organisation is supportive of the proposed action and willing through its financial and administrative systems to enable the fellow to direct independently the proposed action and manage its funding for the duration of the fellowship.
Evaluation, scoring and thresholds
Following an admissibility and eligibility check, full proposals are evaluated by external, independent experts. Proposals are evaluated according to the criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation (see Article 15 of the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation Regulation No 1290/2013). Each criterion will be scored out of 5. The threshold for individual criteria will be 3. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 10.
For all proposals involving human participants, and/or human tissues, cells or personal data, the evaluation process will include an assessment of ethical issues.
The following aspects are considered under the evaluation criteria:
- Fit with the scope and objectives of the EDCTP2 programme, the EDCTP Association strategic research agenda and the call topic description.
- Importance, relevance/pertinence and clarity of the objectives.
- Soundness of the concept and credibility of the proposed approach/methodology.
- Suitability of the candidate, considering their track record, degree of independence and/or potential, and how the fellowship will further the individual’s career.
- Quality of the project and its fit with the fellow’s expertise and career development plan, including acquired competencies and skills to be developed further.
- Quality of the mentorship and/or training plan
- Call specific aspects as listed under ‘expected impact’ in each individual call.
- The extent to which the outputs of the proposed work would contribute, at the European, African and/or International level, to each of the expected impacts listed in the work plan under the relevant topic.
- Likelihood to result in major advances in the field with potential benefit of the research to the affected populations.
- Advancing the fellow’s clinical research skills and career development.
- Contribution to development of research independence and/or scientific leadership.
- Contribution to strengthening clinical research capacity at the home or host organisation.
- Effectiveness of the proposed measures to exploit and disseminate results generated during the fellowship (including management of IPR), to communicate the fellowship activities, and, where relevant, to manage clinical data.
- Sustainability and retention of capacity beyond the end of the grant.
- Quality and efficiency of the implementation
- Quality and effectiveness of the work plan, including extent to which the resources assigned to work packages are in line with their objectives and deliverables;
- Appropriateness of the management structures and procedures, including risk and innovation management, and how responsibilities for research data quality and sharing, and security will be met.
- Complementarity of the participants within the consortium, and the extent to which the consortium as whole brings together the necessary expertise.
- Appropriateness of the allocation of tasks and resources, ensuring that all participants have a valid role and adequate resources in the project to fulfil that role.
- Feasibility and appropriateness of the methods and project management to achieve the objectives within the timeframe of the grant.
- Compliance with national and international standards of research, Good Clinical Practice, ethics and safety related issues.
- Participants have the operational capacity, to carry out the proposed work, based on the competence and experience of the individual participant(s).
- Suitability of the fellow’s home and/or host organisation to support the fellowship project.
- Intention of the fellow’s home organisation to develop and commit to a career post-fellowship or re-integration plan.
The call budget is EUR 3.25 million.
The requested EDCTP contribution per project should not exceed EUR 150,000. The funding level is 100% of eligible costs.
The legal entity employing the successful fellow (‘host organisation’) will be required to sign a General EDCTP2 mono-beneficiary grant agreement .
Applicant legal entities (host organisations) selected for funding from this Call for Proposals will be required to conclude an employment agreement with the fellows prior to the conclusion of the EDCTP2 grant agreement.
Application process and guidance
- The application must be submitted online via EDCTPgrants
- Only registered users of EDCTPgrants system can apply for grants and therefore you are advised to register on the system as soon as possible
- For questions related to this call for proposals, please contact: Dr Montserrat Blázquez-Domingo at email@example.com.
- For questions and issues about EDCTPgrants and the online application submission please contact EDCTP via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For proposal templates and guidance documents, see the Guidance and EDCTP2 FAQs.