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Friday, November 14, 2014

Call for Proposals for £4m Research in non-communicable diseases in Africa

By Esther Nakkazi

GSK has launched a £4m call for proposals for scientific research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa. The first funding round, will support successful proposals from researchers in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya,Uganda and Malawi.

The proposals will be through GSK's Africa NCD Open Lab, established by GSK earlier this year, with a commitment of £25m funding over five years, as part of a series of strategic investments in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Mike Strange, Interim Head of the Africa NCD Open Lab, said: “We believe the highly collaborative research network we’re creating through the Africa NCD Open Lab has the potential to dramatically improve understanding of NCDs in Africa – and could ultimately, accelerate the development of new, better medicines to treat these.

“The launch of our first call for proposals is an important milestone for this initiative, and we encourage researchers working in the field of NCDs who are based in the eight eligible countries to consider applying for the funding and expert support available to them through this.”

NCDs including cancer and diabetes, are becoming more prevalent, across the developing world, and more research is needed to understand more about how – and why – these diseases manifest differently in this setting.

The Africa NCD Open Lab aims to address this through the creation of an innovative research network that will see GSK scientists collaborate with researchers across Africa on high quality epidemiological, genetic and interventional research, from its hub at GSK’s Stevenage R&D facility in the UK.

It will specifically inform interventions for the prevention and treatment of five priority diseases - cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic respiratory disease – while helping build local expertise and creating a new generation of African NCD experts.

An independent external advisory group, comprising clinical and scientific experts in the field of NCDs, will review applications to the NCD Open Lab, with recommendations for funding based on scientific merit. The group will consist of a majority African membership to ensure that only locally-relevant research is funded.

A second call for proposals in South Africa is planned for early in 2015 which will be launched in collaboration with the Medical Research Councils of South Africa and the UK, with a combined £5m funding.
For more information, or to submit a research idea for consideration, please visit http://www.gsk.com/africa-ncd-openlab.

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