Research in Africa and Asia

Health is a global issue and to improve it, we need to act in the locations where health challenges are greatest. We invest in researchers, large programmes of research and co-funded initiatives in Africa and Asia.

Supporting research ecosystems in Africa and Asia became one of our priority areas in June 2016.

Why it's important

Our support helps build the capacity for research in Africa and Asia and accelerates scientific progress. That leads to health benefits for communities in these regions.

Major Overseas Programmes

In the last 30 years, we've invested in Major Overseas Programmes (MOPs) in Africa and Asia.

These research programmes:

There are five programmes:

MOPs have had a significant impact in their regions.

For example, in South East Asia, early clinical trials using artemisinin derivatives showed they were more effective than quinine in the treatment of severe malaria. This led to a global policy recommendation by the World Health Organisation to use artemisinin-based combination therapies as the first line treatment for all forms of malaria.

Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa is an initiative to catalyse long term health and development progress in Africa.

It was set up in 2015 by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the New Partnership for Africa‚Äôs Development Agency (NEPAD) with support from Wellcome, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The AESA initiative acts to:

Developing Excellence in Leadership and Training in Africa (DELTAS)

The DELTAS Africa programme is a scheme funded by Wellcome in partnership with AESA. Eleven DELTAS awards have been made to leading African researchers to establish cutting-edge research and training programmes across the continent. 

We are currently working to hand over management of the DELTAS Africa awards to AESA.

Other partnerships

Human Heredity and Health in Africa initiative (H3Africa)

The Human Heredity and Health in Africa initiative aims to improve the health of African populations through the study of the genomics of common diseases.  The initiative is co-funded by Wellcome and the National Institutes of Health in the US.

The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance 

The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance is a co-funded initiative between Wellcome and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The Alliance was launched in 2008 and acts to support the future scientific leaders in India through fellowship awards.

MSD-Wellcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories 

MSD-Wellcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories, a partnership between Wellcome and Merck Sharp and Doeme Corp. Not-for-profit vaccine research and development initiative, based in India. Hilleman laboratories complete research into affordable vaccines, to combat disease in low income countries. 

Other funding

Investment in science through our funding schemes

As well as major programmes and initiatives, we fund individuals and teams working to address the health challenges in Africa and Asia.

For example, in Malawi, funded work has led to new ways of screening for TB in people who are HIV positive. This research led to World Health Organisation recommendations for TB screening and has the potential to save half a million lives.

Investment in public engagement

Alongside investments in science, we support engagement with the public and policymakers to raise the profile of research and encourage discussion about its impact on society.

For example, we supported

People we've funded

Many of our grantholders carry out research in Africa and Asia. See our directories: