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Senior Fellowships Plus 2019

Status: Planned
Type of action: Training & Mobility Actions (TMAs)
Call budget: € 3 million
Maximum funding: € 750,000
Funding level: 100% of eligible costs
Open date: 2 November 2019, 00:00
Close date: 1 February 2020, 17:00
Go to EDCTPgrants

Expected number of grants: 3-4

Call identifier: TMA2019SFP

Description

Background
EDCTP has supported the development of a pool of highly qualified senior researchers in the field of poverty-related diseases (PRDs) in sub-Saharan Africa. In order to make an impact in the fight against the PRDs, it is important to ensure that there is continued support for the development and retention of early and mid-career scientists in the regions that are most affected. However, there is a huge regional disparity in the success rate of EDCTP fellowship applications that has resulted in limited capacity strengthening in resource-limited countries. Gender balance among fellows is also a challenge. This geographical and gender imbalance in capacity development has resulted in an inequitable distribution of trained personnel in disease-endemic areas and many high-burden, low-income countries have been left behind. New strategies are required to strengthen the capacity for clinical research in more resource-limited countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Scope
The purpose of this call for proposals is to support capacity development of potential African research leaders and to mentor junior researchers with emphasis on hands-on research training linked to clinical trial activities conducted in sub-Saharan Africa.

The objectives of the scheme are:

  1. to support senior researchers to advance themselves as recognised research leaders in high-quality clinical trial research and related activities;
  2. to equip senior researchers with the necessary skills and experience to train and mentor junior researchers, both at their home institution and at institutions in countries in SSA with limited human and infrastructural capacity.

 

Applications should focus on hands-on research activities equipping the Senior Fellow with competences to lead, train and mentor junior researchers in a scientific area within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme*. Applications should include a clear and concise individual capacity development plan for the Senior Fellow with measurable indicators of how the project will advance the Senior Fellow’s personal development towards scientific leadership. As a key component, the proposed work must include training and supervision of a minimum of two postgraduate students (PhD and/or Master’s) with a clear training and mentorship plan for each student. Additionally, the proposal must also include training and mentoring of one early career scientist (Trainee Fellow).

The Trainee Fellow must come from a different institution, which must be located in a sub-Saharan African country that is different from the country of the home institution of the Senior Fellow. The Trainee Fellow should either have a PhD in a subject relevant to the EDCTP2 programme and less than five years of postdoctoral experience or a medical doctor with up to five years of research experience. The research project of the Trainee Fellow should be presented as a separate work package in the application. This work package should have a clear and concise capacity development plan for the Trainee Fellow with measurable indicators of how the project will advance the personal and institutional capacity development.

The Senior Fellow should indicate how their advancement in skills and competencies for training and mentorship, as well as the capacity development of the other researchers under their supervision, fit into the overall regional capacity development and sustainability strategies of the EDCTP Association in addressing geographical and gender imbalance. Senior Fellows who plan to use clinical trials for training and mentorship, must ensure that studies are appropriately designed and GCP-compliant; good manufacturing practice (GMP)-compliant investigational product(s) are available and guaranteed; and all sponsor responsibilities can be fulfilled by the host institution (applicant legal entity where the Senior Fellow is employed) or product developer involved in the project. Senior Fellows should have a track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals in their chosen area of research and show potential to become future research leaders working in sub-Saharan Africa.

Applications for a Senior Fellowship must be submitted by an established legal entity in sub-Saharan Africa (‘the applicant legal entity’) on behalf of the prospective fellow employed by that organisation. The grants are awarded to the host organisation with the explicit commitment that this organisation offers appropriate conditions for the Senior Fellow to direct independently the proposed action and manage its funding for the duration of the fellowship. Trainee Fellows must be identified at the time the application is submitted and can be affiliated to the host organisation of the Senior Fellow.

Senior Fellows funded under this call for proposals will undergo a mid-term review that may result in discontinuation of the grant after three years in case of unsatisfactory performance.

Expected impact
Projects funded under this call for proposals should contribute to the generation of a critical mass of researchers and institutional research capacity in sub-Saharan African countries where such capacities have been most lacking.

Furthermore, the projects should:

  • contribute to the achievement of SDG3 ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’;
  • enable Senior Fellows to:
    • contribute to closing geographical and gender gaps among recognised research leaders and contribute to an increased pool of scientific knowledge and researchers in sub-Saharan Africa;
    • develop the ability to design, plan and execute complex research programmes in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members in geographical regions where the clinical research skills base is currently scanty;
    • produce higher-impact scientific and, where applicable, policy publications;
    • produce more competitive Trainee Fellows capable of independently attracting funding from various sources.

 

Applications will be considered to have a higher impact if Trainee Fellows are based in organisations or countries with little or no participation in ongoing EDCTP2 projects.

Eligibility
A proposal/application will only be considered eligible if:

  1. its content corresponds, wholly or in part, to the topic/contest description for which it is submitted;
  2. it complies with the eligibility conditions for participation set out below, depending on the type of action:
    1. The applicant must be a legal entity established in sub-Saharan Africa (the applicant legal entity)**;
    2. The fellow must be employed or have guaranteed employment by the applicant legal entity (the host organisation);
    3. 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 a minimum of five years of relevant research experience after the doctorate, or a medical doctor with a post-graduate qualification in a subject relevant to the EDCTP2 programme, and a minimum of five years of research experience after the post-graduate qualification;
      • have a minimum of 5 first- and/or last-author publications in international peer-reviewed journals;
      • currently not hold a senior fellowship from the EDCTP2 programme.
    4. The requested EDCTP2 contribution per action shall not exceed EUR 750,000;
    5. The maximum fellowship duration shall be 60 months.

 

Notes

*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, food-borne trematodiases, lymphatic filariasis, mycetoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, Buruli ulcer, leprosy (Hansen disease), trachoma, and yaws; diarrhoeal infections; lower respiratory infections; and 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 senior 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 legislations and international standards, and for extended cooperation with private partners (EDCTP2 Basic Act, Annex I, objectives 2b).

Procedure and application process

Submission and evaluation procedure
This is a single-stage application procedure. Proposals must be submitted by 1 February 2020, 17:00 CET via EDCTPgrants. Evaluation results are expected to be made available by 1 June 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 system to enable the fellow to direct independently the proposed action and manage its funding for the duration of the fellowship. The home organisation(s) of Fellowship trainee(s) included in the proposal must also provide a support letter confirming that the organisation is supportive of the proposed action and willing to support 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:

1. Excellence

  • 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.

 

2. Impact

  • 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 the potential benefit of the research to the affected populations;
  • Advancing the fellow’s clinical research skills and career development;
  • Contribution to the 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.

 

3. Quality and efficiency of the implementation

  • Quality and effectiveness of the work plan, including the 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;
  • The intention of the fellow’s home organisation to develop and commit to a career post-fellowship or re-integration plan.

 

Financial provisions

  • The call budget is EUR 3 million;
  • The requested EDCTP contribution per project should not exceed EUR 750,000;
  • The funding level is 100% of eligible costs.

 

Grant agreement
The legal entity employing the successful fellow (‘host organisation’) will be required to sign a General EDCTP2 mono-beneficiary grant agreement with options for fellowships.

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

  • The application must be submitted online via EDCTPgrants;
  • Only registered users of EDCTPgrants system can apply for grants; therefore you are advised to register on the system as soon as possible.

 

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