Fostering Research Excellence – African Independent Research Fellowships | Apply Now

The African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society collaborate on FLAIR Fellowships, a postdoctoral program supported by GCRF. These fellowships aim to cultivate future independent research leaders in Africa, offering talented early-career researchers a chance to build their careers in an African institution. This article includes essential details like deadlines, benefits, eligibility, and tips for successful applications.

African Independent Research Fellowships

Overview of African Independent Research Fellowships

The goal of African Independent Research Fellowships is to support projects that advance science, society, and the economy in Africa. This initiative offers researchers a special opportunity to explore and expand their independent research, encouraging innovation and expertise.


The deadline for the fellowship programs is May 27th, 2024. Pay close attention to the submission timeline specified by African Independent Research Fellowships. Failure to meet the deadline could result in your application not being considered.

Grant Objectives

The FLAIR fellowship program aims to achieve the following:

  • Develop Africa’s next generation of research leaders: Support talented early-career African researchers in establishing their scientific independence and becoming leaders in their field.
  • Support excellent research: Enable African researchers to address global issues in the natural sciences, contributing to knowledge, innovation, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Enhance research environments: Strengthen institutional research capacity and promote good financial grant practices in African universities and research institutions through relevant partnerships.
  • Foster collaboration and impact: Establish long-term partnerships between African Fellows and UK researchers, promoting equitable collaborations, knowledge exchange, and translation into sustainable policies.

Global Challenge Areas

Proposals should aim to tackle the GCRF research agenda, focusing on one or more of these areas:

  1. Equitable Access to Sustainable Development: Create new knowledge and innovations to ensure global access to:
  • Secure and resilient food systems, sustainable marine resources, and agriculture
  • Sustainable health and well-being
  • Inclusive and quality education
  • Clean air, water, and sanitation
  • Affordable, reliable, sustainable energy
  1. Sustainable Economies and Societies: Encourage research for long-term development in:
  • Sustainable livelihoods with inclusive economic growth and innovation
  • Resilience to short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Sustainable production and consumption of materials and resources
  1. Human Rights, Good Governance, and Social Justice: Support research to:
  • Understand and effectively respond to forced displacement and refugee crises
  • Reduce conflict and promote peace, justice, and humanitarian action
  • Reduce poverty and inequality, including gender inequalities.

Grant Amount and Benefits

Each fellowship provides up to £150,000 per year, covering the following:

  1. Research fellow’s salary
  2. Research expenses
  3. Research support (excluding PhD studentships and full-time technician support)
  4. Equipment
  5. Training
  6. Travel and subsistence
  7. Organizational overhead

The program also offers additional support, including training, mentoring, regional and UK networking opportunities, and chances to develop international collaborations. All grants are paid in pounds sterling (GBP) to the African Host Organization, with currency fluctuations at their risk.

Fellowship Duration

The program initially provides two years of funding and support. Depending on progress and continued funding, fellows may apply for a renewal for an additional three years.

Fellowships are full-time, but if candidates need part-time arrangements due to caregiving responsibilities, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis upon conditional award. Approximately 30 fellowships will be offered.

Eligibility Criteria

Successful candidates will be talented early-career African researchers aiming to develop independence and leadership in their field.

Underrepresented groups, especially women, are strongly encouraged to apply.

The applicant must:

  • Be a national of a sub-Saharan African country, intending to work in a research position within the region; or
  • Be a sub-Saharan African national in the diaspora, seeking to return to a research role in a sub-Saharan African country.
  • The applicant should have obtained a PhD at the time of application.
  • The applicant must be an early career researcher with a minimum of two years of research experience post-PhD and no more than 8 years of post-doctoral research experience at the time of application. This includes teaching, honorary positions, and/or visiting researcher roles.

Eligible Countries

The FLAIR Fellowship program welcomes applications for hosting at higher education and research institutions in the following sub-Saharan African countries:

  • Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon,
  • The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe,
  • Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Application Process

To start your African Independent Research Fellowships journey, follow this guide:

  • Visit the Official Website: Access the African Independent Research Fellowships site at [] for program details and application guidance.
  • Review Fellowship Guidelines: Understand fellowship objectives, expectations, and evaluation criteria by studying the comprehensive guidelines on the website.
  • Check Eligibility: Confirm eligibility by reviewing outlined criteria, ensuring alignment with your research and program goals.
  • Prepare Documentation: Gather necessary documents: research proposal, CV, recommendation letters, and materials specified in guidelines.
  • Craft Research Proposal: Develop a compelling proposal outlining the objectives, methodology, and innovation of your research.
  • Submit Online Application: Access the application form on the website, providing accurate details.
  • Attach Documents: Upload required documents following program documentation guidelines.
  • Submit Before Deadline: Ensure timely submission well before the specified closing date.
  • Application Review: Your proposal undergoes a rigorous evaluation focusing on quality, innovation, and feasibility.
  • Stay Informed: Monitor communication from the fellowship program for application status updates.

Guidelines and Requirements

  • Maternity, paternity, shared parental, and adoptive leave: Additional time equivalent to the leave taken, up to 6 months, will be considered on top of the actual time off.
  • Extended sick leave (more than four weeks off, per UK Government’s definition): Additional time equivalent to the leave taken, up to 6 months, will be considered on top of the actual time off.
  • Each case is reviewed individually, and the employing institution may confirm the applicant’s eligibility. Supporting documents may be requested at the Royal Society’s discretion, with the right to consider exceptional requests.
  • Applicants can submit only one application per round also unemployed applicants are eligible.
  • Applicants must have a clear research proposal focusing on Global Challenge areas, supporting an independent research career.
  • Attracting other grant funding strengthens your career. Additional grants must meet these conditions:
  1. Fellow’s salary paid from FLAIR award, and other grants support research activities.
  2. Applicants with existing grants may request a partial salary contribution from FLAIR Fellowship (minimum 80% of working hours) with a clear justification.
  • At least 80% of the applicant’s time must be spent on the FLAIR program, ensuring additional grants don’t compromise program aims.
  • Part-time fellowships due to caring responsibilities are considered case-by-case, expecting at least 60% full-time equivalent work.


The African Independent Research Fellowships nurture early-career researchers in Africa, offering funding, training, and mentorship to foster independent research leadership. Targeting global challenges in sustainable development, economies, societies, and human rights, the fellowships empower successful applicants to advance their research careers and contribute significantly to their fields.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can researchers from outside Africa apply?

No, this fellowship is exclusively for researchers within Africa. Review the program guidelines to confirm your eligibility.

Are collaborative research proposals accepted?

Yes, collaborative proposals are welcome. Document collaboration details in your application.

What should be included in the research proposal?

The research proposal should outline objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes, and showcase innovation in your research.

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