The SACIDS Africa Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals in Southern and Eastern Africa
The SACIDS-ACE is a ONE HEALTH Virtual Centre, whose Mission is to harness innovation in science and technology in order to improve Africa’s capacity to detect, identify and monitor infectious diseases of humans, animals,ecosystems and their interactions in order to better manage the risk posed by them.
The SACIDS – Africa Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals stems from the concern for a high burden of infectious diseases in Africa and yet a low capacity for its risk management. It arises out of a consortium in Southern and East African countries (Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa) that was formed in 2008 as a One Health partnership of medical and veterinary institutions, plus smart partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), the London International Development Centre and The Pirbright Institute, with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania, as the Lead Institution. The core partnership of the Center is SUA, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). Its current partnership extends to institutions in Botswana, Kenya and Uganda plus associate relations with institutions in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Senegal as well as to new partners in Europe and the USA to include private sector partners.
The programme of the SACIDS-ACE is funded from a variety of sources including the Tanzania Government, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Wellcome Trust, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the World Bank-linked African Partnership for Skills in Applied Science and Technology (PASET) and the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.
The SACIDS-ACE is committed to the principle of gender equity and equal opportunity to individuals with physical disability from highly qualified and motivated young, bright African scientists with an ambition for research excellence leadership in infectious diseases to undertake research that will contribute to health, food, livelihoods and environment securities at African community, national, regional and continental levels and thereby to the global health and food security agendas.
SACIDS-ACE sponsorship is limited to number of applicants as outlined below. Registration is at either Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) or Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania, depending on area of research interest.
Scientific Competence Domains
The SACIDS-ACE boasts well-equipped laboratories at SUA for pathogen molecular biology, cell culture based virology, biosafety laboratories to BSL-3 level and, thanks to USAID support, a unique BSL-2 experimental animal facility. At MUHAS, SACIDS-ACE boasts access to the university and teaching hospital facilities of the prime nature in Tanzania, which are being expanded through a new campus under construction. Accordingly, we are able to offer research training competence areas in the following 3 domains:
- Virology and microbiology, including pathogen genomics – ranging from conventional PCR right through to whole genome sequencing and associated bioinformatics.
- Epidemiology – ranging from descriptive to data mining, focusing on relevant analytical epidemiological modelling tools such as risk modelling, network analysis and predictive modelling.
- Social sciences including economics, conventional social science and socio-anthropology.
Postdocs, and PhD plus MPhil students will additionally undergo special training in transferable and enabling skills including leadership/management and scientific writing
The research opportunities being offered will employ one or more of the above competence domains to objective driven research in the following overarching 3 strands:
- STRAND 1:Addressing Viral Disease Threat to Human Health, Food Security and Livelihoods.
- STRAND 2:Addressing Chronic Neglected Tropical Infectious Diseases (NTDs) in poor and marginalized communities – focusing on genetic determinants and genomic epidemiology of Mycobacterial infections across the human, animal and environment compartments as well as on Antimicrobial resistance. Proposals on other bacterial or parasitic NTDs will also be considered where such proposals will contribute to collaboration with other programmes/partners and are associated with funding.
- STRAND 3:Addressing Community Level One Health Security – cross cutting: disease surveillance, ecoHealth, health and food systems, social, economic and/or environmental determinants of health and/or food security.
While individual research students and fellows will be pursuing their work in one specific area, the research programme of SACIDS-ACE will increasingly emphasise collaborative trans-disciplinarity to address issues of national and regional importance, through the core competences of SACIDS-ACE.
Each student or Postdoc will be registered at either SUA or MUHAS, and will be co-supervised or mentored also by scientists from the wider SACIDS smart partnership.
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
Through World Bank funding SACIDS-ACE will sponsor 2 Postdoctoral Fellowships to cover stipend, university registration fees, approved research expenses, travel to partner institutions as may be necessary. These fellowships will be in be the following areas:
- Postdoctoral Fellow in the Genomics of Antimicrobial Resistance: Registered at MUHAS and closely linked to SUA and Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania and LSHTM in the UK
- Postdoctoral Fellow in the Genomics of Viral Diseases of Food Security Importance: Registered at SUA in Tanzania and closely linked to the RVC and The Pirbright Institute in the UK.
The Postdoctoral fellowships will be for 2 years. It is expected that during this period the research fellows will undertake both high quality research and develop funding proposals for their enhanced research within the SACIDS-ACE partnership and environment
PhD and MPhil/ Research MScfellowships for this Call
- Through World Bank funding, SACIDS-ACE will sponsor 15 4-year PhD Fellowships to cover stipend, university registration fees, approved research expenses, travel to partner institutions as may be necessary.
SACIDS-ACE will also sponsor 8 MPhil/Research MSc (i.e. 2-year full time research at Master’s level)
- Through funding by the Regional Scholarship Innovation Fund (RSIF) of the Partnership for Skills in Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (PASET), SACIDS-ACE will sponsor an additional 15 4-year PhD Fellowships, 12 of whom will be from RSIF PASET participating countries. The fellowship will cover stipend, university registration fees and approved research expenses. The research training of the RSIF PASET scholars will focus on issues related to food security, including (i) cattle productivity and/or market access limiting diseases (e.g. foot-and-mouth diseases, East Coast fever) with a focus on the genetic and antigenic variation and/or risk modeling, (ii) epidemic diseases of short-cycle stock (e.g. Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), African swine fever (ASF), Rift Valley fever and poultry viral diseases with a focus on the pathogen genetic analysis, molecular epidemiology, risk modeling and/or definition of risk based control strategies, and (iii) epidemiological, socio-economic and/or socio-anthropological studies on the interaction between animal health, livestock productivity, household food security/livelihoods and pro-poor market access in Tanzania.
- Candidates for RSIF PASET will be registered at SUA.
Postdoc and Student Selection
The selection will be in 2 stages:
- The first will be by the registering university (SUA or MUHAS) for admission into the relevant programme.
- Candidates with provisional admission by the registering university (SUA or MUHAS) will then undergo selection process by a SACIDS-ACE Panel of assessors drawn from the SACIDS Smart Partnership in Africa and UK.
- RSIF PASET PhD scholars will undergo an additional screening based on their separate RSIF applications and interviews by RSIF Implementation Unit (RIU) at the Association of African Universities (AAU) followed by final selection and validation by PASET Executive Committee (EC).
Further enquiries can be addressed to:
Either the registering University (above) or
The SACIDS Secretariat and Virtual Graduate School at Sokoine University of Agriculture
Enquiries about research areas can also be addressed to the SACIDS Secretariat, who will forward them to Professor Gerald Misinzo (for viral diseases), to Professor Matee (for Bacterial diseases and antimicrobial resistance) and to Professor Esron Karimuribo (for cross-cutting One Health research)