Career Development Fellowships in poverty-related diseases and child and adolescent health – 2020

Type of actionTraining & Mobility Action (TMA)
Open date09 April 2020, 12:00
Close date05 August 2020, 05:00
Budget€3.75 million
Funding level100% of eligible costs

Expected number of grants: 16-25

Call identifier: TMA2020CDF

Project Officer: Michelle Helinski, contact via

See the list of awarded projects.

Expected number of grants: 16-25

Call identifier: TMA2020CDF

Project Officer: Michelle Helinski, contact via

See the list of awarded projects.


For many young scientists in developing countries the transition from doctoral qualification to becoming an established, independent researcher is very difficult due to a lack of sustainable research funding and limited 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 for fighting PRDs, including areas that lack enough trained researchers, such as maternal, child and adolescent health (MCAH). In the next 10 years, it is essential for researchers in sub-Saharan Africa to establish centres of excellence in research for MCAH. These require trained personnel in this health area and well-equipped centres.

The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to support early- to mid-career researchers (“fellows”) by providing them with opportunities to train and develop their clinical research skills.

The objectives are:
1. to promote retention of postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate medical researchers in the clinical or field research areas of sub-Saharan Africa;
2. to equip the fellows to establish themselves as independent researchers with the ability to establish their own research teams at host institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Proposals should enhance the ability of the fellow to design, plan and execute clinical biomedical and/or social science/ethics research projects within the scope (1) of the EDCTP2 programme.

Due to the extraordinary global crisis of COVID-19 that is also affecting African countries, this topic should also be considered by applicants.

The Fondation Botnar (2) will co-fund this call with a contribution of € 1,500,000 for proposals conducting research in the area of child and adolescent health and wellbeing. Fondation Botnar’s contribution to this call aims to address the shortage of suitably trained early- to mid-career paediatric researchers in sub-Saharan Africa. In the frame of this call, Fondation Botnar encourages research proposals aimed at improving the wellbeing of adolescents suffering from PRDs (e.g. mental health, malnutrition) through the development, validation and/or implementation of new solutions. In keeping with its strategy and approach, Fondation Botnar wishes to support applications aiming to exploit scalable and sustainable Artificial Intelligence and digital technologies in urban environments.

Novartis International AG (3) 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, including e.g. sickle cell disease). 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.

Proposals should include an independent research activity to be conducted by the fellow 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 ICH-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 at their host organisation who is an internationally recognised scientific leader working in sub-Saharan Africa; and a career development plan as part of the research proposal.  Applicants must also show how their proposals will address geographical and gender imbalances in areas of sub-Saharan Africa that are highly burdened with MCAH problems but are still weak in attracting research grants.

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. The maximum duration of the proposed action is 36 months, with a foreseen start of the action no later than 1 October 2021. Proposals from women are encouraged.

Expected impact
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 of researchers in Africa
  • 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 at host institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ultimately these grants will contribute to the generation of a critical mass of clinical or field/social science/ethics researchers and institutional research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.

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:

  • The applicant must be a legal entity established in sub-Saharan Africa (the applicant legal entity)(4).
  • 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 (5).
  • The requested EDCTP2 contribution per action shall not exceed EUR 150,000.
  • The maximum fellowship duration shall be 36 months.

(1) 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.

(2)  The Fondation Botnar is a Swiss-based foundation which champions the use of Artificial Intelligence and digital technology to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing urban environments. To achieve this, the foundation supports research, catalyses diverse partners, and invests in scalable solutions around the world. Find out more at

(3) Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, it uses innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In its quest to find new medicines, Novartis consistently ranks among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Find out more at

(4) 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).

(5) 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 5 August 2020 at 17:00 CEST via EDCTPgrants. Evaluation results are expected to be made available by 21 December 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:

  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 3.75 million.

The requested EDCTP contribution per action should not exceed EUR 150,000.

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 and therefore you are advised to register on the system as soon as possible

More information

Projects funded under this call

Career Development Fellow: Dr Rubina Bunjun
Assessing cross-reactive and pre-existing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in adolescents

University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Starting date: 01 June 2021
Duration: 36 months
Grant amount: EUR 150,000
Grant agreement: TMA2020CDF-3187

Career Development Fellow: Dr Bey-Marrie Schmidt
Strengthening community engagement in TB and HIV vaccine trials in South Africa

University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Starting date: 01 September 2021
Duration: 36 months
Grant amount: EUR 139,521
Grant agreement: TMA2020CDF-3204

Career Development Fellow: Dr Joseph N. Siewe Fodjo
“Slash and Clear” for onchocerciasis control and epilepsy prevention

Brain Research Africa Initiative, Yaounde, Cameroon
Starting date: 01 May 2021
Duration: 36 months
Grant amount: EUR 150,000
Grant agreement: TMA2020CDF-3152