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CARTA: Building research leaders for Africa

- Deborah Minors

The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) aims to establish a vibrant African academy able to lead research that impacts public health.

Sharon Fonn

Professor Sharon Fonn in the School of Public Health at Wits and Professor Alex Ezeh of the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) in Kenya co-founded CARTA in 2008.

It was formed out of the realisation that individual African universities lack the human and financial resources and infrastructural capacity to tackle the challenges of doctoral training on the continent.

CARTA aims to develop a vibrant African academy that can lead world class multi-disciplinary research and impact positively on public and population health.

It does this by building institutional capacity at the universities who are members of the consortium, and through a doctoral training programme which recruits fellows from the staff of nine institutions across Africa.

CARTA’s mandate is to empower self-sustainability in African member universities and their fellows.

CARTA comprises nine African universities, four African research centres and selected northern partners.

To date, CARTA has a total 140 PhD fellows, 24 of whom have graduated. Most of these graduates are either enrolled in postdoctoral fellowships or have received re-entry grants to enable them to undertake research when they return to their jobs at universities.

Nineteen Wits staff members have won CARTA fellowships and many more of the CARTA fellows are enrolled as PhD students at Wits across all faculties.

In April 2016, the Wellcome Trust in the UK awarded CARTA a continuation grant of R108,15 million (£5.25million).

It is the second grant that CARTA has received from the Wellcome Trust, but the first through the DELTAS Africa programme.

DELTAS is the Wellcome Trust’s Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science initiative.