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Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowships 2021

Funding Call Details

Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowships 2021

The Fellowships

Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowships are for talented African early career researchers who have the potential to become leaders in their field. These fellowships provide the opportunity to build an independent research career in a sub-Saharan African institution and to undertake cutting-edge scientific research that will address global challenges facing developing countries.

This is a partnership between the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Royal Society, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

FLAIR Fellowships

Aims of the Scheme

The objectives of the FLAIR fellowship programme are:

  • Developing Africa’s next generation of research leaders - supporting talented early career African researchers to establish their scientific independence, focus on developing their research and become leaders in their chosen discipline.
  • Supporting excellent research - enabling African researchers to address areas of global significance across the natural sciences through high-quality research, advancing knowledge and innovation which aims to benefit their country and address aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Enhancing research environments - working through relevant partners, awards will contribute towards institutional research capacity strengthening and establishing good financial grant practice in African universities and research institutions.
  • Fostering collaboration and impact – establishing mutually beneficial long-term links between African Fellows and relevant UK researchers to harness the expertise of the UK research base through equitable partnerships and enhancing knowledge exchange and translation into sustainable policy and practical benefits.

The programme will provide two years of funding and support in the first instance; subject to progress during the first two years (and continued funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund) holders may have the opportunity to apply for a renewal for an additional three years. The funding will cover salary and research and travel expenses and will allow holders to focus on developing their research with limited teaching responsibilities. In addition, FLAIR Research Fellows will receive a generous programme of support to develop them as independent research leaders including training, mentoring, opportunities to network both regionally and with the UK and to develop international collaborations.

Applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the GCRF research agenda and Global Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that their research aligns within the remit of these programmes.

Read our announcement of the inaugural FLAIR Fellows from the 2019 round.

Am I eligible to apply?

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • Are a national of a sub-Saharan African country;
  • Hold a PhD by the time you apply;
  • Are an early career researcher with a minimum of two years of research experience since completing your PhD and no more than eight years of post-doctoral research experience;
  • Wish to hold the fellowship in a research institution in an Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible sub-Saharan African country;
  • Have a clearly defined scientific research proposal focusing on one or more of the Global Challenge areas outlined in the scheme notes.

Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, please see the breakdown of subject groups and areas supported by the Royal Society. The Royal Society does not cover clinical medicine (such as patient orientated research and clinical trials), social sciences or humanities, other than when working in partnership with organisations.

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

What is the scheme's value and duration?

This scheme provides an award of up to £150,000 per year for two years in the first instance, covering:

  • Research Fellow's salary, up to £45,000 per year.
  • Research expenses
    - Research assistance
    - Equipment costs
    - Travel expenses
    - Research consumables
  • Institutional overhead, up to £15,000 per year

The scheme also provides a programme of support and development, including:

  • Mentoring
  • Training courses
  • Opportunities for international collaboration
  • Networking opportunities regionally and internationally

What is the application process?

Explore our top tips on what makes a great application. Explorez nos meilleurs conseils pour réussir une bonne candidature.

Applications should be made through the Royal Society’s grant management system Flexi-Grant®.

Your application will follow the process detailed in the scheme notes, overseen by the FLAIR panel.

Interviews will be held the week commencing 23 November 2020 at the African Academy of Sciences, Nairobi. You are advised to keep this week free. You will be notified of the result of the application process by December 2020.

We are committed to supporting applicants with disabilities. If you require a reasonable adjustment during the application process, please contact the team at to let us know.