Recommendations from the EDCTP/ECRIN session on clinical trial infrastructure and capacity building in Africa

12 August 2021

The European Clinical Infrastructure Networks (ECRIN) and EDCTP hosted a session on clinical trial infrastructure and capacity building in Africa at the Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit on 17 June 2021. This session brought together key global health actors to collectively discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the next steps towards the comprehensive mobilisation of all stakeholders for building sustainable clinical research preparedness and response capacities. It led to the development of 11 concrete recommendations. These recommendations have been integrated in the consultation of the Advisory Group on Research and Innovation for Africa-Europe Cooperation, who will assist the European Commission with advice on how best to boost cooperation between the two continents through research and innovation.

The objective of the session was to explore how development funds dedicated to the establishment of clinical research infrastructures and capacity building activities can increase the impact on the health and wellbeing of African citizens and on the African economy. The session participants made the following recommendations:

  1. Galvanise existing models and networks through clear medium and long term commitments
  2. Correct the existing lack of equity in access to health and innovation by investing (in an equitable manner) in capacity strengthening and infrastructure in limited resource settings
  3. Support the creation of an ecosystem as opposed to a siloed approach
  4. Support infrastructure at the national level with a view of developing Centres of Excellence with state of the art equipment and highly qualified professionals, that attract both industry and academic trials.
  5. Support development of local expertise (scientific excellence and leadership) with strong international collaboration
  6. Support research network building, coordination, and harmonisation efforts
  7. Development cooperation funding must leverage domestic cofunding to enable sustainable research capacity
  8. Support innovative ways to raise ethics and regulatory oversight of clinical trials
  9. Increase investments in cross-disease health demographic surveillance systems and further integration of health research into health care systems
  10. Support more patient-centred approaches
  11. Capitalise on the digital revolution to extend the reach and impact of training and networks and closely monitor megatrends in digital technologies.

More information


The Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit was held virtually from 14-18 June 2021. Within the context of this Summit, EDCTP and ECRIN presented a dedicated session entitled ‘The importance of capacity building and development of a clinical research infrastructure in Africa’.


Read the recommendations that were made during this session in full.


The recommendations will be further discussed at the EDCTP virtual side event ‘EDCTP: an EU-Africa partnership advancing global health research and cooperation’ which will take place on 22 September 2021 as part of the second edition of the UNGA76 Science Summit around the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (SSUNGA76).