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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity in Medical & Health Sciences

Funding Call Details

Postdoctoral Training Opportunity in Medical & Health Sciences

The Africa Postdoctoral Training Initiative (APTI) provides fellowships to African researchers to spend two years at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) for professional training and to conduct research in priority areas. APTI is a postdoctoral programme through the partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).  

APTI fellows will train in a global health research area of priority for their home institutions and countries, and AAS, BMGF and NIH, while building bridges and lasting connections between the partner organizations and African scientists and institutions. While at the NIH, the fellows must be on leave or sabbatical from their home institution under the NIH Intramural Visiting Fellow Program ( The research priority areas are in infectious diseases, nutrition, and reproductive, maternal, and child health and developing skills for clinical and translational research. Research on other significant burdens of disease in Africa will also be considered.  More information available   

APTI fellows will be expected to lead important research programs in their home countries and institutions. After successful completion of the two-year postdoctoral fellowship, trainees will be provided with 50% salary support for an additional two years to assist their transition into independent researchers. 

The main objective of APTI is to train a cadre of African scientists so they return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, help solve Africa’s challenges in global health and development, and in turn become trainers of the next generation. A key ingredient is a focus on the home institutions. As such, APTI expects commitment from home institutions to provide a conducive research environment and dedicated research time for the fellows upon their return home. APTI fellows are expected to be a part of an African regional and global web of collaborations connecting to their home institutions. APTI fellows will linked to an existing African and global scientific networks and are expected to nurture these scientific collaborations and relationships. 

Candidate requirements: 

  • Must be citizens of and currently employed in an academic, research, or government position in an African country.  

  • Must have a relevant doctoral degree (e.g., PhD, MD, MBBS) awarded no more than 15 years earlier. 

  • Must have less than 5 years of relevant research experience following the award of their doctoral degree by their start date at the NIH.  The maximum five years of research experience are only after the doctoral degree has been earned.  Research conducted before the award of the doctoral degree does not count against this time. 

Selection criteria: 

  • Professional merit, scientific ability, and potential future career impact (based on CV, letter of interest, and two reference letters). 

  • Assurance and availability of resources from the home institution for a designated, funded research position for the postdoc upon completion of their fellowship (expressed in letter from director/head of research of home institution). 

  • Commitment to return to their home country following completion of training (expressed in a letter of interest). 

  • A selection committee will ensure the best match of outstanding candidates and NIH laboratory positions. Additional selection factors may include diversity in scientific research areas, geographic origin, and gender. 


APTI Candidate’s Requirements 

1) What are the research priority areas for the APTI call?   

The APTI call shall receive applications for research in the following priority areas 

  • infectious diseases,  
  • nutrition,  
  • reproductive, maternal, and child health,  
  • developing skills for clinical and translational research. 

Research on other significant burdens of disease in Africa will also be considered 

2) Can you kindly further explain what "Must have less than 5 years of relevant research experience by their entry on duty date at NIH" means?  

The requirement means that by the time a successful candidate is reporting on duty to NIH labs starting September 2020, their relevant research experience should be five years or less.  This call is principally focused on early career researchers who have been be active in research but with no more than five years of active post-PhD research experience. Research conducted before the award of the doctoral degree does not count against this time. 

However, we also make the following exception:  a successful candidate could be someone who may have earned their PhD, MD or MBBS more than 10 years ago but was involved in clinical care for e.g. eight years of non-research clinical care, and only got involved with research for the last 2-5 years. 

3) Should the research experience be less than 5 years after completion of PhD or less than 5 years total research experience? 

The research experience should be less than five-years after completion of PhD. 

4) Can someone about to graduate and does not yet having a permanent employment be eligible to apply for the African Postdoctoral Training Initiative?  

The programme is targeting researchers who are already working at an African institution with a research position to return to upon completion of program.  

Structure of the APTI Programme 

  1. Will the entire fellowship will be in the USA? Do you need to have a specific research in mind by the time of application?  The first two years of the program is located at NIH labs in the USA. At the end of year 1 and 2, the postdoc will have an opportunity to return home for a few weeks.  The last two years the postdoc returns to their home institution to continue their research.  

  2. Is the applicant required to identify potential research groups/mentors in the NIH as part of the application?  The first stage of applications do not require identification of research groups/mentors.  Only finalists shall be required to identify NIH labs they wish to be placed during the first two years of their fellowship.  

  3. If admitted to the program, is there scope for one to conduct ongoing studies in Africa during the postdoc program or one will work strictly within the host NIH lab?  The postdoc will strictly work in the labs at NIH.  The postdoc will also have an opportunity to travel home after years 1 and 2 for a few weeks.  

  4. Is it a requirement of the application submission process to have the approval of an NIH group to host the fellow? Yes, the lab will have an opportunity to interview potential postdocs before making their selection.  

  5. How much could be the stipend? The salary for the 2-years at NIH is approximately 50,000-65,000 per year for 2 years, and that will be based on level of experience.   

  6. Can a selected awardee defer the award to a later date?  Due to the structure of funding and lab availability we will not be able to accept deferments to the program in this call for applications. 

Submitting the APTI Application 

  1. Can I submit my application in MS Word?  The application must be written in English and completed online. 

  2. Where can I find the application link? The AAS Ishango Grants Management System 

  3. To whom should the professional letter of recommendation and letter of support be addressed?  The addressee should be the AAS Postdoctoral Programme Manager.