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Call for Applications: Epidemic Science Leadership and Innovation Networks

Deadline: Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Key Information for Applications at Preliminary Stage

Call Open Date | 16 November 2023

Deadline for Preliminary Applications | 31 January 2024, 1700hrs East Africa Time (EAT)

Webinars for Applicants

Webinar I: December 6 2023  | Watch the Recording Here
Webinar II: January 17 2024 | Watch the Recording Here


For any questions or clarifications kindly send an email to [email protected] . Responses will be shared on Monday – Friday from 0800 hrs – 1700 hrs EAT. 

How to Apply

Applications should be submitted via the SFA Foundation Grants Management System (Agaseke) -



At any one time, the African continent experiences 100 or more ongoing disease outbreaks. As Africa undergoes rapid demographic growth, as the continent becomes increasingly connected, and as environmental degradation persists, the risks of outbreaks and novel disease emergence will likely intensify.

Investment in African epidemic and pandemic sciences research and preparedness will protect and enhance national and regional healthcare systems and help to safeguard African economic stability by mitigating adverse socio-economic impacts. Developing a thriving epidemic and pandemic sciences sector across academia, industry, government and policy organisations, and preparing an emerging generation of high-calibre scientists, policymakers, and healthcare leaders in Africa will enhance health security and economic prosperity on the continent, and leverage African expertise to influence epidemic and pandemic research, preparedness and response priorities at a global level. 



This call will foster a vibrant ecosystem of Epidemic Science Leadership and Innovation Networks (EPSILONs) across Africa. Each EPSILON will comprise three to six organisations in a ‘hub and spoke’ consortium. Each consortium will establish a network of research excellence in a thematic area relevant to epidemic and pandemic sciences research, preparedness and response.  

These networks will nurture and promote world-class epidemic and pandemic sciences research and innovation in Africa, building a critical mass of experts across all health sectors in the continent to address ongoing health challenges while strengthening capabilities to respond to future infectious diseases health threats. They will contribute to developing communities of practice that may be leveraged for long-term collaboration and during future outbreaks to respond to urgent research and policy needs. 

Impact areas


Increased health, resilience and wellbeing among the African and global population

Long term outcomes

  1. Epidemics and pandemics in Africa effectively predicted, prevented and managed
  2. Health, social and economic impacts of epidemics and pandemics in Africa effectively mitigated
  3. A vibrant epidemics and pandemics science ecosystem in Africa undertaking high-quality research and innovation

Medium term outcomes

  1. Increased translation and uptake of epidemics and pandemics research outputs into contextually relevant solutions, regulations, approaches and policies
  2. Sustainable career pathways for young researchers and professionals working on epidemics and pandemics
  3. Enhanced professionalism and a well-resourced (financial and human resources) epidemics and pandemics sector to support research in Africa

Short term outcomes

  1. Enhanced epidemics and pandemics scientific research quality
  2. Increased innovations to address epidemics and pandemics trends
  3. Young researchers transitioning to dignified and fulfilling work at scale
  4. Increased engagement and collaboration leveraging areas of synergy in epidemics and pandemics research, policy and practice
  5. Increased leadership influence of African epidemics and pandemics researchers across science networks, local communities, funding partners, private sector, industry and policy actors
  6. Supportive professional service and research management culture and structures in place across institutions
  7. Young professionals transitioning to dignified and fulfilling work at scale

For more details about impact areas, please refer to the call guidelines.


Applicant eligibility

Lead applicants can lead only one application but may be co-applicants in several applications. Lead applicants must be based at an eligible organisation and must fulfil the following conditions:

Hold an academic or research post; Have a salary, or the guarantee of a salary, for the duration of the award period, or be required by their contract of employment to have a salary;

Institutional eligibility

Eligible institutions will typically be universities or research institutions which are legal public charitable entities.  The lead institution will be responsible for overall funds management, accountability and reporting on behalf of the entire consortium.

Geographic eligibility

The call shall be open to all regions of Africa in terms of nationality/residency for the lead/co-applicants and institutions.

Consortia eligibility

Consortia must be made up of between three and six institutions, of which at least three – including the lead – must be African institutions.

Where an applicant does not currently have a post at the lead institution or partner institution they may be eligible to apply if they have a written guarantee of a post which, if their application is successful, they would take up by the time the award commences.

Lead and co-applicants must:

Be established research leaders of international stature as demonstrated by a track record of publications and leadership Be based at the lead institution for the duration of the grant and be able to take responsibility for leading the overall management of the programme, if awarded; Have a primary academic affiliation to the lead institution; and Be able to demonstrate a strong personal link to an African country through citizenship or legal residency.

Thematic research areas
  • Vaccinology / early-stage vaccine research and development
  • Virology – genotype to phenotype
  • Clinical research and clinical trials on epidemic and pandemic prone infections
  • Epidemic and pandemic public health policy research
  • Climate change, biodiversity and pandemic prevention
  • Advanced data assembly and analytics for threat assessment and mitigation
  • Social and behavioural sciences

For more details about the thematic areas, please refer to the call guidelines.


Applicants should prepare a core budget for up to USD $4 million over five to six years, plus specific additional elements as detailed in the call guidelines. It is anticipated that successful consortia will attract additional funding from other sources over the duration of the programme.  

For more details about the thematic areas, please refer to the call guidelines.

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Key Dates:

Nov 2023 - Jan 2024 : Preliminary Applications

Apr 2024 - Jun 2024 : Full Applications

Oct 2024 : Interviews

Oct 2024: Conditional Awards

Call Guidelines:

Call for Applications: Guidance Notes (EN)

Call for Applications: Guidance Notes (FR)

Call for Applications: Guidance Notes (PO)

Frequently Asked Questions

Foire aux Questions (French)

Perguntas Frequentes (Portuguese)

Frequently Asked Questions (English)