British not-for-profit medical research organisation LifeArc has granted £7.5m ($9.5m) to the Francis Crick Institute’s Crick Africa Network to support African scientists.
The latest funding will extend the scheme by another five years, per the 14 August announcement.
The Crick Africa Network fellows will receive four years’ worth of funding that will be used at one of five African Institutions, including the University of Ghana’s West African Centre For Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, the South African University of Cape Town, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicines’ Medical Research Council Unit in The Gambia.
The fellows will be able to use the Crick’s platforms and collaboratively research with LifeArc’s facilities in Edinburgh and Stevenage. They will also receive mentorship and support in grant writing, publications, and research ethics, based on the announcement. LifeArc’s Academic Engagement team will also help the fellows in commercialisation and translational science.
In 2017, the Crick Africa Network was launched to research infectious diseases with the support of a £6m grant from the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund. In the first cohort, the network has awarded over £11.6m to fellows in grant funding. Additionally, 97 students were supervised as part of the scheme, resulting in the release of 82 publications and the establishment of eight independent research groups.
Notably, biotech spin-out Yemaachi Biotechnology was launched since the Crick Africa Network’s establishment. The Ghanaian company seeks to optimise available molecular diagnostic and prognostic cancer tests for African populations.
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The biotech also aims to identify new biomarkers for the early detection of cancer in African populations and develop new tools for their diagnosis, based on its website.
The Crick Africa Network will also now help African scientists with the management and development of science and technology platforms, which provide critical technical research support, as part of the one-year Technology Development Fellowship.