African leaders and global funders endorse new science funding platform for Africa

The Wellcome Trust is pleased to support the African Union’s recent call to establish the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), to be led by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

The announcement marks a major step towards advancing global health and development across the continent. The Wellcome Trust, the Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) are funding the development of AESA and share their vision of supporting the next generation of outstanding African researchers, who will help solve some of the continent’s greatest health and development challenges.

AESA will initially focus on health research that will improve livelihoods of marginalised and stigmatised communities, but plans to quickly expand to other scientific research areas in future. It will capitalise on African governments' increasing commitments to science and technology, as have been highlighted in the Declaration of African Heads of States (2007), the Algiers Declaration (2008), the Bamako Call for Action (2008) and the African Union (AU) Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024).

Simon Kay, Head of International Operations at the Wellcome Trust, said: "In supporting AESA the Wellcome Trust continues its record of training and developing excellent African researchers. By shifting the centre of gravity for leadership on Africa’s scientific challenges to Africa itself, and working with our funding partners, we expect the African Academy of Sciences to become the 'go-to' place for managing and catalysing Africa’s scientific programmes."

A formal launch of AESA is planned to coincide with the next AU summit in June 2015 in South Africa.


Clare Ryan

Lead Media Manager

Notes for editors

About the African Union (AU)

The African Union (AU) is a union of 54 African states which aims to accelerate the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political challenges. The highest leadership of the AU is the Assembly of Heads of States and Government. The secretariat of the AU is the African Union Commission (AUC), based in Ethiopia.

About the African Academy of Sciences (AAS)

AAS is a pan African organization. An Academy of all Sciences that honors the best African and non-African scientific leaders and is implementing programs in 6 key areas of science, technology and innovation (STI). It has been recognizing African and Africa experts by recruiting them into the AAS Fellowship since 1985. These Fellows, who are proven STI leaders, live and work in all corners of the continent. AAS has a strategic partnership with the AU, and its technical bodies such as NEPAD and the PAU. AAS enjoys the support of several governments (particularly Kenya and Nigeria) and major international funding partners, and is regarded as a “Strategic Partner” by the African Union Commission and NEPAD Agency.

About NEPAD Agency

NEPAD Agency is the technical body of the African Union. The core mandate of the NEPAD Agency is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of regional and continental priority programmes and projects and to push for partnerships, resource mobilisation and research and knowledge management. The NEPAD Agency is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

About DFID

The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK Government in fighting poverty through job creation, women's and girls' empowerment, and helping save lives in humanitarian emergencies. DFID’s Research and Evidence Division (RED) objective is to make DFID more systematic in using evidence as a basis for how best to reduce global poverty, and provide high quality relevant evidence to others. It aims to achieve this through commissioning research on key questions in development, robust evaluations of UKaid’s funded programmes, high quality statistics and active engagement with policy makers.
Find out more about research funding offered by DFID and its programme partners.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman and Co-Chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About the Wellcome Trust

About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.
Our investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.