Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund 2014 Research Fellowships: Call for Applications

Closing date for applications: February 28th 2014

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa - International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is a shared agricultural research and biosciences platform that exists to increase access for African researchers to affordable, world-class research facilities. In addition, the BecA-ILRI Hub provides research-related services and capacity building opportunities to eastern and central Africa and beyond. 

The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF), managed by the BecA-ILRI Hub, provides fellowships to scientists and graduate students from African national agricultural research organisations and universities to undertake biosciences research-for-development projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub. The purpose of the ABCF fellowship program is to develop capacity for agricultural biosciences research in Africa, to support research projects that ultimately contribute towards increasing food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa, and to facilitate access to the BecA-ILRI Hub by African researchers.

 We seek applicants with innovative ideas for short to medium term research projects (up to 12 months) that can be undertaken at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Projects must be in the areas of food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa. 

Scientists and graduate students conducting research in the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply:

  • Improved control of priority livestock diseases including African swine fever (ASF); contagious bovine and caprine pleuropneumonia (CBPP and CCPP); peste des petits ruminants (PPR); Rift Valley fever (RVF); East Coast fever (ECF); capripox virus diseases of ruminants;
  • Harnessing genetic diversity for conservation, resistance to disease and improving productivity of crops and livestock (livestock focus: African indigenous breeds, particularly of goats, chickens, and cavies and other micro-livestock);
  • Molecular breeding for important food security crops in Africa;
  • Plant transformation to address food insecurity in Africa;
  • Plant-microbe interactions;
  • Tissue culture and virus indexing for production of virus-free planting materials in Africa;
  • Orphan crops including amaranth, baobab, taro, wild mushrooms, enset;
  • Crop pests, pathogens and weed management research, including biological control;
  • Food safety, including addressing aflatoxin and other mycotoxin contamination in food and feeds;
  • Nutritional analysis of food and feeds;
  • Rapid diagnostics for crop and livestock diseases;
  • Genomics and metagenomics, including for microbial discovery;
  • Studies on climate-smart forage grasses and mixed livestock-crop systems;
  • Microbial technology for improving adaptation of staple food crops and grasses to biotic and abiotic stresses;
  • Soil health in agricultural systems;
  • Special opportunities also exist to connect with leading international scientists linked with the BecA-ILRI Hub in the following areas: wheat rusts, insect pests, nitrogen fixation. (For these opportunities please apply by Dec 31st 2013)
  • Other special opportunities exist to connect with CGIAR Research Programs on Livestock & Fish and Agriculture for Nutrition & Health to explore how their proposed research might fit into the on-going efforts to improve pro-poor food systems in Tanzania (smallholder dairy), Uganda (smallholder pigs), Egypt (aquaculture) and Ethiopia (small ruminants). Such collaboration would allow the candidate’s research to contribute more directly to an impact-oriented research-for-development agenda, and offer additional opportunities for joint activities. For more information, please contact: Dr. Amos Omorea.omore at cgiar dot org (Tanzania dairy); Dr. Danilo Pezo d.pezo at cgiar dot org (Uganda pigs); Dr. Malcolm Dickson m.dickson at cgiar dot org (Egypt aquaculture); Dr. Barbara Rischkowsky b.rischkowsky at cgiar dot org (Ethiopia small ruminants).

 We particularly welcome applications from women candidates. 

 Applicant requirements

  • National (passport holder) of a BecA-ILRI Hub target country: Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda. In exceptional cases we may consider applicants from other African countries.
  • A researcher at a national agricultural research organization or university in a BecA-ILRI Hub target country
  • Currently engaged in research in food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa, or in a research area with relevance to agriculture in Africa
  • MSc or PhD in biosciences, agriculture or related subject. In exceptional cases we may consider applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Good working knowledge of written and spoken English
  • Completed online application form
  • A signed letter of approval for your application from the head of your institute.

Costs covered by the fellowship 

  • Research at the BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Travel
  • Medical insurance
  • Accommodation
  • Living allowance

Please note that fellowships do not cover the cost of fieldwork or research at the applicant’s home institute.


  • Closing date for applications: February 28th 2014.
  • We will begin to notify early applicants from Dec 1st 2013. The notification process will be completed by April 30th 2014.
  • Implementation of projects: from January 2014


 The ABCF Research Fellowship programme is supported by the Australian Government through a partnership between Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the BecA-ILRI Hub; and by the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you.

Email: Beca-Hub at cgiar dot org 


Attachments: Download this file (Application Guidelines.pdf)Application Guidelines.pdf[ ]129 Kb

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  • Guest (Bashahun G.M)

    Thanks for this important information. Currently livestock diseases are negatively influencing both animal industries and public health in Sub-Saharan African countries. Through better research hopefully we will solve the problem. Thanks,

    Comment last edited on about 2 years ago by Ethel Makila, Communications Officer
  • Guest (Mbonihankuye Cyrille)

    Thank you for the call for applications.

    Comment last edited on about 2 years ago by Administrator
  • Good effort towards capacity development and food security in Africa.
    I shall apply.

  • Guest (Assemu Tesfa)

    Dear Sir/Madam, thanking a lot for such time of chances. This is a promising way to raise youngster researcher and scientist, those had limited by lack budget for thesis research works as well as educational fees. So with a great thanks I acknowledge the project for this type of help and support.

    Assemu Tesfa


    That is great, thanks for availing me this opportunity. I shall send my application soon. Presently, my research on molecular characterization of Exserohilum turcicum isolates from maize in Tanzania is impeded due to finance and facilities.

  • Guest (Charles Byaruhanga)

    Thanks so much. This will help a lot to develop the capacity of researchers in Africa, especially those with little access to research facilities.

    Comment last edited on about 2 years ago by Administrator
  • Guest (Nguimdjio Kenfack Liliane Gwladys)

    This is a very good opportunity for career development of researchers in Africa. I am a student in level five in veterinary medicine in Cameroon. and am going to conduct research on antibiotic resistance in aviculture, specifically, determination of the presence of resistant and virulent gene of Salmonella and E. coli to antibiotics in chicken Cameroon.

    Comment last edited on about 2 years ago by Ethel Makila, Communications Officer
  • Thank you for the call for applications.

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