Epidemic Science Leadership and Innovation Network (EPSILON) Research Program 2024
Applications are open for EPSILON Research Program. Science for Africa Foundation invites applications for innovative research initiatives in epidemic and pandemic research, preparedness and response.
This call will foster a vibrant ecosystem of Epidemic Science Leadership and Innovation Networks (EPSILONs) across Africa. Each EPSILON will comprise three to eight organisations in a ‘hub and spoke’ consortium. Each consortium will establish a network of research excellence in a thematic area relevant to epidemic and pandemic sciences research, preparedness and response.
These networks will nurture and promote world-class epidemic and pandemic sciences research and innovation in Africa, building a critical mass of experts across all health sectors in the continent to address ongoing health challenges while strengthening capabilities to respond to future infectious diseases health threats. They will contribute to developing communities of practice that may be leveraged for long-term collaboration and during future outbreaks to respond to urgent research and policy needs.
The Thematic research areas are:
- Vaccinology / early-stage vaccine research and development
- Virology – genotype to phenotype
- Clinical research and clinical trials on epidemic and pandemic prone infections
- Epidemic and pandemic public health policy research
- Climate change, biodiversity and pandemic prevention
- Advanced data assembly and analytics for threat assessment and mitigation
- Social and behavioural sciences
Applicant Eligibility Requirements
- Lead applicants can lead only one application but may be co-applicants in several applications.
- Lead applicants must be based at an eligible organisation and must fulfil the following conditions:
- Hold an academic or research post;
- Have a salary, or the guarantee of a salary, for the duration of the award period, or be required by their contract of employment to have a salary;
- Core Budget: Applicants should prepare a core budget for up to USD $4 million over five to six years, plus specific additional elements as detailed in the call guidelines. It is anticipated that successful consortia will attract additional funding from other sources over the duration of the programme. For more details about the thematic areas, please refer to the call guidelines.
- Catalyst grants: Each successful EPSILON will receive additional funding for catalyst grants to support innovative initiatives with the potential to achieve transformative changes in epidemic and pandemic sciences. In addition to the core budget of up to USD $4 million applicants should budget at least 25 catalyst awards, ringfenced at $10,000 – $15,000 each. In the full application applicants should outline their approach for establishing a catalyst fund, their selection criteria, and a communications strategy.
- Research and innovation fellowships: Each successful EPSILON will receive additional funding for competitive research and innovation fellowships. These would support extended research-focussed placements within a leading academic or commercial entity to undertake work that contributes to new skills development and scientific innovation. In addition to the core budget of up to USD $4 million applicants should budget for at least 15 fellowship awards, ringfenced at approximately $40,000 each to cover travel and subsistence costs, bench fees, and open access publishing fees. In the full application applicants should outline their approach for establishing a fellowship fund, their selection criteria, and a basic communications strategy.
- EPSILON exchange awards: Each successful EPSILON will receive additional funding for short scientific exchanges between institutions within the EPSILON network. In addition to the core budget of up to USD $4 million applicants should budget for at least 15 exchange awards at $10,000 each. These awards would cover relevant costs for a single individual for up to six weeks. In the full application applicants should outline their approach for establishing an exchange fund, their selection criteria, and a basic communications strategy.
- There will be additional funding and opportunities for individuals based at each EPSILON to access a substantial programme of research capacity-strengthening and policy activities, to include:
- Leadership training in pandemic research, preparedness, and response
- International and cross-disciplinary exchanges and fellowships
- Policy exchanges and engagement
- Catalyst funding
- Professional development for research management and finance staff
Deadlines: Preliminary Applications close in January 31, 2024
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