The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) is celebrating the award of a grant from the second phase of the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training, and Science in Africa (DELTAS Africa) initiative, which the program formally launched in a vibrant webinar on July 19, 2023. The grant will support and expand CARTA’s work in line with the program’s five-year strategic plan, CARTA2025.
An African-based, African-led initiative, CARTA was conceptualized to strengthen the capacity of African universities to produce well-trained and skilled researchers and scholars. The program, now spanning over a decade, is dedicated to equipping a new generation of researchers with the necessary skills and knowledge to address Africa’s most pressing challenges.
Through a multi-faceted PhD training and capacity-strengthening program, CARTA has empowered numerous African scholars to engage in rigorous research, contributing to scientific advancements that benefit the continent.
Its current phase aims to build a critical mass of well-trained and motivated researchers, supported by conducive environments, which can produce high-quality research to tackle common health and development challenges in Africa.
“DELTAS Africa II provides a unique opportunity to further strengthen the research ecosystem in Africa. It will facilitate greater collaboration, improved research infrastructure, and enhanced capacity building, advancing our collective efforts towards sustainable development,” states Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, CARTA Co-Director and Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC).
DELTAS Africa, a multimillion-dollar, long-term program, was launched in 2015 with the objective of supporting collaborative consortia, led by Africa-based scientists. The first phase of the program, implemented between 2015 and 2021, awarded grants to 11 consortia including CARTA, while the second phase will benefit 14 consortia across Africa. The second phase is implemented by the Science for Africa (SFA) Foundation with continued support from Wellcome and the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).
Dr. Alphonsus Neba, Deputy Director of Programmes at SFA Foundation, notes that “We [SFA] exist to support African scientists in addressing the continent’s most pressing developmental needs [……] All the DELTAS Africa programs are tactfully designed to be led by African researchers and in so doing African researchers lead the programs to develop a critical mass on the continent.”
At the virtual gathering, CARTA also awarded five successful research teams preparatory grants for the initial conceptualization of the CARTA Research Hubs. The grants will support the teams to develop extended concepts for the research hubs that will serve as centers of excellence in key priority areas and facilitate knowledge exchange and multi-disciplinary collaboration.
Elaborating on the vision of the CARTA research hubs, CARTA co-Director, Professor Sharon Fonn of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa says, “A successful research hub is one that is doing research. But for us, what is important is that it is hosting the next generation of African researchers and provides a role model environment where research can happen and the researcher can grow […] where we co-create research questions and methods and they are not being conceptualized from outside.”
CARTA remains committed to collaborating with partners across the continent to maximize the impact of its work and build a vibrant research landscape in Africa. Together, we envision a future where African researchers lead the change in addressing local and global challenges, driving sustainable development, and transforming lives.