Closing the research gap between Africa and the rest of the world

Supporting a new generation of outstanding researchers to create an African research culture.

Closing the research gap between Africa and the rest of the world

The African continent is home to 12% of the global population, yet its researchers produce less than 1% of the world’s published academic research.  Inadequate research infrastructure and training support are holding back African academic innovation.

Cambridge’s commitment to coordinate its influence, expertise and resources across a multitude of academic disciplines, to support African scholarship and research is second to none.  

Innovative, internationally-competitive and sustainable African research

The Cambridge-Africa Programme partners mid-career African academics with mentors or collaborators at the University of Cambridge.  In just seven years it has exceeded expectations and become the most distinctive academic initiative working in and with Africa today. 

With support from the Alborada Trust Research Fund, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the AG Leventis Foundation, visiting African researchers are able to access the Cambridge’s expertise and the opportunities offered for multidisciplinary collaboration in a way which they could not back home.  In Africa they are the foundations for a transformation into a knowledge-driven continent. 

  • A Cambridge-Africa Programme workshop in Tanzania
    A Cambridge-Africa Programme workshop in Tanzania

Saving lives of expectant mothers

Take for example Dr Annettee Nakimuli’s research into maternal disease and mortality, under the mentorship of Professor Ashley Moffett from the Department of Pathology. She explains: "Pre-eclampsia is a life-threatening condition which affects about one in ten people in Africa – more in particularly poor places such as Kampala’s Mulago district, where I practice as a clinician.  My research to understand the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia can save the lives of these expectant mothers, and thousands of others across the globe."

Bringing electricity to rural Africa

Meanwhile Dr Abu Yaya is working with Dr Kevin Knowles in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy to deliver safe and affordable electricity to remote parts of Ghana. "Electro-porcelain protects humans from electrocution by insulating electric cables in homes, on the railways and in telecoms systems. Ghana currently imports all its electro-porcelain — at great expense. I’m looking into developing electro-porcelain composites from local raw materials, water and a furnace. It’s the first time it’s been done and it’s a cheap solution which could benefit poor populations", he says.

The discoveries of the Cambridge-Africa Programme's researchers can impact on the lives of millions of people, in Africa and globally.

Professor David Dunne

Extending excellence

Researchers such as these have significant contributions to make, not only to African scholarship and research, but to society, environment and health.

“We have a proven model that can take the best of Cambridge to Africa and bring the best of Africa to Cambridge.  We now want to expand the programme, which is at full capacity, to include more African PhD and Post-doctoral Fellows, in more African institutions and countries, and across a wider range of priority areas.  Their discoveries can impact on the lives of millions of people, in Africa and globally", explains Professor David Dunne, Director of the Cambridge-Africa Programme.

How you can help

  • £5 million will endow a large-scale research fund, the return on which would be used to support projects across Africa
  • £800,000 will permanently endow and name one PhD studentship
  • £300,000 will term-fund and name one three-year post-doctoral fellowship
  • £50,000 will support three fellows on a Collaborative Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for African Studies to come to Cambridge for six months

There are also opportunities to support individual projects at a variety of levels, from citizen-led governance and human rights, to maternal health, to promoting entrepreneurship.

Next steps

Make a gift online now or discuss your philanthropic objectives by contacting me.

Georgina Cannon

Georgina Cannon

Director of Development — Schools and Institutions

+44 (0)1223 330890

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