The award recognises Professor Marsh's three decades of work to improve the health of children in Africa. His research focuses on the immune epidemiology of malaria, a disease that affects the health of millions of African children every year.
Professor Marsh is a principal investigator at the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme in Kenya, having previously been the director of the programme between 1989 and 2014. He is also a senior adviser to the African Academy of Sciences.
The $1 million Al-Sumait Prizes honour individuals or institutions that help to advance development in Africa. There is a particular emphasis on sustained research or innovative projects that have a major impact on the lives of many African people.
Professor Marsh said: "I am really delighted to be awarded the Al-Sumait prize. I think the launch of the prize itself is going to be an enormous encouragement to everyone interested in research and development in Africa. Personally I feel very honoured, and also very aware that this is recognition of work done collaboratively with an enormous number of wonderful colleagues in Kenya and across Africa. The award itself will be used to support our continuing work in the African Academy of Sciences and the Africa Oxford Initiative on research excellence in Africa."
Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome's Director, said: "I am delighted that Professor Marsh's tireless work in Africa has been recognised by the trustees of the Al-Sumait Prize. Kevin has been integral to the formation of AESA – the new agenda-setting and funding platform based at the African Academy of Sciences – and is very proud of the DELTAS Africa programme and supporting the next generation of African scientists at African universities and research institutes.
"His research into the control and eradication of malaria is invaluable, and I have no doubt that he will use this prize to continue his fantastic work on this disease and building capacity across Africa."