This programme is an initiative of Johnson & Johnson and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), with the support of the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, and seeks to address the drug development gap in Africa by building capacity and networks on the continent to enable countries to address diseases with high medical needs, locally.
Through the establishment of a Research and Development (R&D) training fellowship programme for highly talented, suitably qualified and experienced African physicians, pharmacists, epidemiologists and/or MSc’s in public health to help close the R&D knowledge and experience gap that exists in many African countries.
This fellowship programme is managed by the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) is an Africa-led, Africa-centred, and Africa-specific funding and agenda setting platform created to accelerate scientific excellence, leadership and innovation. AESA is an initiative of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency.
Within this fellowship programme, Johnson & Johnson, through its dedicated Global Public Health organization, together with the selected Fellows, consider the specific needs of the countries of origin and build upon the valuable knowledge which the fellows bring to the programme to optimize the course curriculum.
The majority of the 2-year training will be ‘on the job’ when fellows are being assigned to a late-stage development programme at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, primarily in areas of infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and vaccines. In addition, the training shall comprise of:
Training modules on all aspects of drug development with focus on clinical development;
Training modules in leadership, communication, project management, etc. to strengthen leadership skills;
Selective modules of the master programmes of Public Health or Tropical Medicine at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp;
Other opportunities as identified during the programme (conferences, other trainings).
The entire programme package maximally strives to strengthen the fellow’s skills and capacities and, upon return of the fellow, contribute to the creation of qualitative clinical development centres of excellence at sites across sub-Saharan Africa, and on the long run contribute to prosperity and welfare of the continent.
The Johnson & Johnson-AESA R&D fellowship programme is committed to building drug development capacity and networks in Africa to enable countries to address diseases with high medical needs, locally. In that spirit, Johnson & Johnson has established an R&D Training Fellowship Programme for highly talented, suitably qualified and experienced African doctors and scientists, to help close the R&D knowledge and experience gap that exists in many countries in Africa to be hosted by the AAS.
Year 1-2 | Training at the Janssen R&D campus in Belgium
The Fellowship Programme entails extensive on-the-job training in drug development at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen R&D Campus in Belgium, with major focus on clinical development. Additional theoretical training covers all essential drug development core activities such as label-driven drug development, regulatory & quality, discovery activities, chemical pharmaceutical development, preclinical development, clinical development & clinical trial execution, biomarkers & diagnostics, vaccines, and commercialization & access. In addition, the fellows can participate in courses in epidemiology, public health, or tropical medicine at the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine. Finally, courses in leadership, communication, and project management are also provided. These trainings focus on strengthening the fellow’s skills to interact successfully in an international and very often still male-driven environment.
On a whole, the courses are modularly built which allows to adapt the curriculum based on the fellow’s background and expertise, and the needs of the institute. The final curriculum is discussed with the fellow and home institute together.
During the on-the-job training,n fellows either shadow a Medical Leader, Study Responsible Physician, or Compound Development Leader, three key functions in R&D, and connect and closely collaborate with many other core functions at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen R&D Campus in Belgium and international R&D development sites.
Year 2-3 | Return to home country in Africa
The AAS and Johnson & Johnson will support the fellows for a 1-year period on their return to their home country. Elements of this support may include:
Training materials for academic teaching, capacity building and networks.
Clinical trial expertise to support initiation of local clinical research.
Evaluate opportunities and feasibility of institution to participate in international development programmes and networks
A Steering Committee is established for every fellow to monitor progress through the Programme. The committee includes the representatives of the AAS, Johnson & Johnson and of the institutes in the fellow’s home country and will:
Discuss Fellow’s practical arrangements in the hosting country and find solutions for any existing or potential future anticipated issues;
Discuss Fellow’s integration into Johnson & Johnson teams and find solutions for any existing or potential future anticipated issues;
Consider any adjustments to the course curriculum which may be deemed appropriate by the steering committee;
Review current thinking on the proposed position in which the Fellow will be deployed upon repatriation, and post-training completion support.
With the objective of repatriating the knowledge and expertise which the Fellows will gain during the course of the programme and aligned with the Committee’s proposed position of the Fellow when returning to sub-Saharan Africa, the AAS and Johnson & Johnson will evaluate how to best support sustainable capabilities across sub-Saharan Africa, contributing to the creation of clinical development centres of excellence at sites across sub-Saharan Africa.
As such, the entire programme package maximally strives to strengthen the fellow’s skills and capacities and, upon return of the fellow, contribute to the creation of qualitative clinical development centres of excellence at sites across sub-Saharan Africa, and on the long run contribute to prosperity and welfare of the continent.
Meet the Team