COVID-19 Open Funding Call for PhD / Doctorate Studentships based in LMIC Research Institutions

1  About
This is a worldwide call for early career researchers who have a PhD and are within their first 3 years of their first academic appointment (such as Assistant Professor or equivalent level). We are specifically interested in applications from new investigators to support the acceleration of careers of research scientists in Low- and Middle-income countries (LMICs). A maximum of 12 awards will be made.

2  Eligibility
Early career LMIC researchers who have a PhD and are registered in LMIC Institutions are eligible to apply. 

3  Conditions of the award
A.  The studentship will be based at a postgraduate degree awarding LMIC institution supported by co-supervision of a mentor based in a High Income Country (HIC) research institution.

B.  The co-supervision mentor (HIC researcher) must have a PhD and have successfully supervised at least one doctorate studentship previously.

C.  The research programme proposed must focus on any aspect of COVID-19 related research and/or the impact of COVID-19 on antimicrobial resistance. Applications are particularly welcome for aspects of qualitative research that measure the impact of clinical interventions.

D.  Expressions of interest are invited in the first instance and must be submitted jointly by the LMIC supervisor and a named supervisor at the HIC institution.

E.  Full applications must be submitted jointly by the LMIC student, their LMIC supervisor and the named supervisor at the HIC institution.

F.  A named supervisor within the HIC will mentor the student throughout the duration of the research studentship and evidence of how this will be done must be included in the application.

G.  The supervisor’s contract with the LMIC institution must last the duration of the studentship awarded (i.e. supervisors cannot be substituted during the programme).

H.  The HIC research institution must agree to host the student at their institution, supplying all facilities for the student to successfully carry out the research work which will be for a period of no less than six months.

I.  Research aims within the application must include an element of, or focus on, COVID-19 and its impact on antimicrobial resistance.

J.  Funds will be paid in annual instalments to the LMIC and HIC institutions in accordance with funds requested in the application form. Release of funds will be subject to receipt of 1) a progress report and 2) a financial report. Funds will be paid to the host institute and not to any individual.

K.  This award is to support a full PhD research project i.e. the time it will take to complete the project in order to fulfil PhD studentship criteria at the institute. The maximum duration for the project is 4 years.

• If a student withdraws a substitute scholar will not be permitted.
• The applicant from the LMIC institution is responsible for identifying the HIC partner/research group (BSAC will not advise or assist with this).
• BSAC does not arrange flights, accommodation, visas, insurances or other required documentation as part of the award; this will be the sole responsibility of the student and/or research partner.

4  Value
A.  This call funding is being offered in US dollars.

B.  The maximum value of the award is $30,000 in total (from which the co-supervising HIC institution may receive a maximum of $5,000 for consumables/bench fees).

C.  The grant must cover all LMIC studentship teaching fees, flights, accommodation, and associated costs for the visit to the HIC research institution.

5  Use of funds
Funds awarded will be used solely to support research studies and researchers performing research. No portion of the funding may be used to purchase capital equipment such as computers, iPhones, tablets, appliances, machinery, camera equipment, sensors, etc.

6  Application process and deadlines for submission
    This is a 2-stage process:

A.  Submission of an expression of interest
An Expression of Interest form must be completed by both co-supervisors from each institution i.e. the LMIC and HIC institutions. 
Forms can be access at the top of this web page and must be submitted via the BSAC grants online portal: Email submissions will not be accepted.

Deadline for submission of expressions of interest: 23:59 GMT (UK time) on Monday 18 January 2021.

B.  Submission of a full application
Full applications will be by invitation only, following triage of expressions of interest.
At the full application stage supervisors must have identified a named student who has been interviewed by both supervisors and the student must meet all entry requirements for postgraduate study at the named LMIC institution (the student does not necessarily need to be registered at the LMIC institution at the time of full application but this should be in progress).

Deadline for submission of full applications: 23:59 GMT (UK time) on Friday 9 April 2021.

7  Grant Awards
     Grants will be awarded by 30 June 2021.

For all enquiries please email

History of BSAC grants awarded: BSAC grants awarded

This grants call has been funded through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer. Other companies or organisations wishing to support this funding programme should email Tracey Guise.


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