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.