Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow Fellowship Programme

Mentors: have you identified a young investigator with immense potential?
Junior investigators: are you the next young leader in paediatric HIV clinical science?

The objective of the Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow Fellowship Programme is to contribute to strengthened HIV clinical research capacity in high-burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa by providing two-year research fellowships to three emerging young leaders in paediatric HIV clinical science.

There is recognition that support is needed to develop young leaders in paediatric HIV clinical research, especially in resource-limited settings. This project seeks to contribute to the success of emerging paediatric HIV investigators in sub-Saharan Africa by providing participants a chance to work with internationally renowned mentors on a research project that will develop their skills and place them in a stronger position to apply for subsequent intermediate level fellowships or grants.

Specifically, the programme is aimed at medical practitioners from sub-Saharan Africa with clinical research experience and the potential to become the next generation of leaders in paediatric HIV clinical science. Candidates will have established links with a potential mentor, who is a prominent researcher in paediatric HIV with an established clinical research collaboration based at an institute of excellence in sub-Saharan Africa. By supporting their work with the mentor, the programme will strengthen each fellow’s research skills and facilitate their integration into international clinical research networks while also contributing to increased institutional capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.


Applications were solicited in February from fellow-mentor pairs. Following the review process, up to three awardees will be selected to receive a two-year fellowship of up to US$ 70,000 (US$ 35,000 per year). The fellowship funds are to provide a stipend for the fellow and can support travel to attend one scientific meeting to present results; fellowship funds are not intended to cover direct research expenses, which must be provided by the mentor’s institution or additional grants.

The programme has four key outcomes:

  1. Fellows have increased knowledge and skills in HIV clinical research;
  2. Fellows can compete more effectively for international research funding opportunities;
  3. Fellows have strengthened relationships with a leading clinical scientist in paediatric HIV and with an institution of excellence in sub-Saharan Africa;
  4. Priority research gaps in paediatric HIV clinical science are addressed.

All fellows must apply for at least one intermediate fellowship or equivalent career development award or grant by the end of their two-year fellowship.

Eligibility criteria (2017 round)


  • The mentor must be either an Associate or Full Professor or Chief/Principal Research Officer with an established position at a research institute in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Submit their CV, including publication record in paediatric HIV clinical research;
  • Demonstrate that they are the principal investigator of the proposed research project that the fellow will be contributing to and that direct research expenses and adequate infrastructure for the period of the fellowship will be provided for by other grants or sources of funding;
  • Establish a mentorship plan that demonstrates how the fellowship will contribute to skill building and professional development of the fellow, as well as ensuring successful completion of the research project.


  • The fellow must be a junior investigator with a doctoral degree (PhD) or a doctor of medicine degree (e.g., MD, MBBS or equivalent) obtained no more than ten years before the application deadline (after 15 March 2007) and who has less than five years of relevant research experience.
  • The fellow must hold a passport from a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The fellow must fulfil one of the following criteria prior to the application submission deadline:
    • He/she is a clinical/research trainee (e.g., research or clinical fellow, senior medical resident/Registrar) at a sub-Saharan African academic institute or a sub-Saharan African institute whose primary mission is research.
    • He/she has a faculty or comparable position (e.g., assistant professor, lecturer, research officer) at a sub-Saharan Africa academic institute or a sub-Saharan Africa institute whose primary mission is research.
    • He/she is working at a sub-Saharan Africa organization with adequate research infrastructure to undertake the proposed research activities.
  • The fellow (and mentor) must demonstrate that funding to support the direct costs of the proposed research is available.

Key documents

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information about the Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow fellowship programme.

List of eligible research priorities

The research funded by the Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow Fellowship Programme must address crucial gaps in paediatric HIV research that impede optimal HIV diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care for infants, children and adolescents affected by HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Eligible research projects include original research that falls within defined priority clinical research questions.

Clinical research:

  • Pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and pharmacogenomics studies of paediatric antiretrovirals and of drugs for co-morbid conditions (particularly for TB, and malnutrition) with a focus on pre-term infants and neonates.
  • Studies to evaluate the short- and long-term complications of HIV and of antiretroviral therapy and the pathogenesis of such complications, as well as management of HIV, including interventions to treat HIV co-infections (especially TB) and co-morbidities (including malnutrition), as HIV-infected children age through adolescence and young adulthood.
  • Studies to evaluate pharmacokinetics and safety of newer ARV drugs in pregnant women and in breast milk, and the effect of antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy on maternal pregnancy complications, pregnancy outcomes (e.g., prematurity, low birth weight) and neonatal outcomes (morbidity and mortality) in HIV- and antiretroviral-exposed uninfected and HIV-infected neonates, including studies to evaluate potential pathogenesis of adverse effects.
  • Studies to evaluate the long-term effects of in utero exposure to maternal antiretroviral therapy in HIV-exposed uninfected children and adolescents, including effects on metabolism, bone mineral density and growth, other laboratory/biologic markers, and physical and cognitive development.
  • Studies evaluating and/or validating diagnostic assays to assess neurocognitive and physical development among HIV-infected and HIV-exposed uninfected infants, children and adolescents in resource-limited settings.

Steering Committee

The Fellowship Programme is guided by a Steering Committee (SC), which is comprised of leaders in paediatric HIV clinical research, with experience in sub-Saharan Africa. The main responsibilities of the SC are to:

  • Provide strategic, scientific and technical input and guidance for the development of the fellowship programme, and
  • Participate in application review, short listing and final selection.

Committee members:

SC Co-Chair and IAS President
Linda-Gail Bekker, South Africa
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town

SC Co-Chair
Gareth Tudor-Williams, UK
Imperial College London

Elaine Abrams, USA
Columbia University

Tumani Corrah, The Gambia
Medical Research Council Unit

Lynne Mofenson, USA
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Tolu Oni, South Africa
University of Cape Town

Marissa Vicari, Switzerland
Ex officio – CIPHER Manager