Deadline for proposals submission July 20, 2016

Following the success of 1st Edition, the Women for Africa Foundation (FMxA), in line with its mission of contributing to the development of Africa through its women, is launching the 2nd Edition of SCIENCE BY WOMEN programme, with the aim to promote African women’s leadership in scientific research and technology transfer and to foster the capacity of the research centres in their home countries. The main goal is to enable African women researchers and scientists to tackle the great challenges faced by Africa through research in health, agriculture and food security, water, energy and climate change, as well as mathematics and economic science.

Women’s lives are significantly affected by the repercussions of uncontrolled development; however, social, structural and economic barriers limit their capacity to tackle the great challenges faced by the continent. The gender disparities in science and technology in both the public and private spheres affect Africa’s population as a whole. Narrowing this gap, which has severe consequences on the balanced and sustainable development of African countries, is vital to achieve long-term progress and equal growing.

The programme´s ultimate goal is to enable African women researchers to play a leading role in the transition of Africa to a knowledge-based and innovation- led economy through research that can be transferred into products and technologies having impact on people´s lives

To achieve this ambitious goal, FMxA collaborates with the Spanish ‘Severo Ochoa’ Centres of Excellence, whose prestige is unanimously recognized throughout Spain and internationally, thereby ensuring excellence in scientific research in various fields. Our associated research centres are: the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO,, the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO,, the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB, and the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII,, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT, ), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (, the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (

Each of the seven centres will host 1 senior women researcher for a six-month fellowship. Applications will be subjected to a rigorous selection process, evaluating the academic merits and leadership of the applicants as well as the scientific quality and expected impact of their research projects. Selected candidates will receive training and integration in a dynamic, multidisciplinary and highly competitive working team, where they will be able to develop their research projects and acquire complementary skills, empowering them to transfer their research results into tangible economic and social benefits.


Deadline for proposals submission July 20, 2016

1. Overview

The Science by Women programme will fund a total of seven six-month visiting senior research fellowships for seven experienced African women researchers in any of the following Spanish and international research centres of excellence.

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)´s ultimate goal is to foster translation of scientific breakthroughs into novel and more effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Spanish National Biotechnology Centre (CNB) focuses on the application of contemporary biotechnology to major societal challenges in health, environment and agriculture.

Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) is specialised in the science and technology of harnessing light as a pervasive and universal tool that benefit health, energy, information as well as safety, security and environment

Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) is a prestigious biomedical research institute focused on communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT). Its goal is to generate knowledge in all the areas of mathematics, particularly in Algebraic Geometry and Mathematical Physics, Differential Geometry, Geometric Mechanics, Mathematical Analysis, Differential Equations and Applications, Number Theory, Group theory, Statistics, Probability, Operations Research and Mathematics of Quantum Information.

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (GSE) is an institution for scientific cooperation in research and graduate education in economics and the social sciences, and draws on the strengths and noteworthy reputations of its four academic units.

Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) The CRG is an international biomedical research institutes of excellence whose mission is to discover and advance knowledge for the benefit of society, public health and economic prosperity.

Each centre will host 1 researcher.

The preferred areas of research include:

  1. Health
  2. Energy, Water and Climate Change
  3. Agriculture and Food Safety
  4. Mathematics
  5. Economic Science

2. Eligibility requirements

  • Nationality of an African country.
  • PhD with at least 3 years of post-doctoral professional experience
  • Contractual relationship with a university or a public or private non-profit organization based in Africa dedicated to significant scientific research in the areas indicated
  • Excellent academic record and proven track of relevant research experience
  • Solid working knowledge of English
  • Proven experience leading a research group

Beneficiaries of first edition are not eligible.

Candidates must have already contacted and identified research groups in the host centres.

3. General Conditions

In general, the duration of the research stays will be six continuous months. Nevertheless, depending on personal and professional needs, the planned research may be realized during two stays within two years after the fellowship has been awarded.

Successful candidates will have access to the following benefits:

  • Flight from their centre of origin to the host institution and back
  • Living allowance of 2.400 Euros per month to cover accommodation, personal expense and health and occupational accident insurance coverage.

Beneficiaries must devote themselves entirely to research at the assigned research centre and may not be beneficiaries of any other fellowship, grant, stipend or regular income during their research stay.

Beneficiaries might be asked to formalise their relationship with the research centre in writing. In compliance with the local laws, the Woman for Africa Foundation or the research centre (as the case may be) will, if so required in each particular circumstance by the tax and/or social security regime, retain or withhold the compulsory amounts from the living allowances.

Women for Africa Foundation, in collaboration with the research centre, will help beneficiaries with the compulsory formalities in order to obtain the visa with Spanish Embassies and Consulates.

4. Deadline for applications

Deadline for applications is July 20, 2016.

Only applications submitted in English via the Science by Women microsite at will be accepted. They must include the following documents:

  • Letter of Interest (max. 1 page)
  • Full curriculum vitae
  • Fully filled form
  • Brief but concise description of the project to be developed in the Spanish host centre (max. 2 pages)
  • A letter stating the prospective host group’s interest to support the project proposed by the candidate

5. Selection process

Applications will be subjected to a highly competitive selection process by an international jury, including members of the Women for Africa Foundation’s Scientific Committee. The jury will evaluate the following criteria:

  • The candidate’s research career, curriculum vitae and experience as independent research group leader.
  • The project’s scientific -technical quality and innovative potential.
  • The expected and measurable economic or social impact of the research project.
  • The candidate’s plan to communicate and disseminate the project’s results.
  • The proper consideration of ethical issues where appropriate.

Successful applicants will present innovative research projects that respond to the needs of African populations and that are likely to be transferred into products or patents for commercial exploitation, which have a social impact in terms of people’s welfare and quality of life, as well as an economic impact in terms of companies’ productivity and competitiveness. In case a continuous stay of 6 months does not meet the candidate’s requirements, an alternative time schedule should be proposed and properly justified.

6. Research proposals

Research proposals shall cover the following lines:

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)

  • Basic Research
    It is the main activity at CNIO; the goal is to generate knowledge in the areas of molecular oncology, cancer cell biology, structural biology and Biocomputing that can be translated into better care for cancer patients.
  • Clinical Research
    Compromised in translating advances in cancer research to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. The major goals of the CRP are the conduction of early clinical trials with novel drugs; the discovery of biomarker of drug action and disease outcome, the implementation of a strategy for personalized medicine and, the launching of a training programme in drug development.
  • Applied Research
    Comprises areas of Drug Development, to identify novel drug targets and to validate them as potential therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of cancer; and Biotechnology, focused in the development of novel biotechnological tools and reagents for cancer research

Spanish National Biotechnology Centre (CNB)

  • Health
    Molecular, structural and synthetic biology aimed to improve the diagnostics, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.
    Molecular mechanisms underlying inflammation, the processes that drive tissue-specific tumour development, as well as tumour immunology and the relationships among stem cells, inflammation and cancer.
  • Environment
    Molecular environmental microbiology aimed at engineering bacteria for biodegradation of toxic pollutants or as biosensors to monitor the presence of chemicals.
    Biotechnological applications of plants as biopharmaceutical factories or as tools to fight environmental pollution arising from spillages or the accumulation of toxic substances in the soil.
  • Agriculture
    Signalling pathways involved in the adaptive responses of plant development and growth to environmental changes and pathogenic diseases.
    Development of tools and methods to improve crop production and quality, selection of new varieties more resistant to pathogens or their modification to reduce fertiliser needs.
  • Technology
    Development and application of key technologies in structural biology, systems and synthetic biology.

Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)

  • Light for Health: medical optical devices, photonics for clean food and clean water
  • Light for Energy: optical sensors, photovoltaic energies, new materials, graphene
  • Light for Information: optical telecommunications, quantum information, optical sensors Laser Technologies: new lasers  
  • Light-based technologies for industrial processes

Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII)

  • Work methodology in creating epidemiological surveillance networks.
  • Epidemiology of cancer and the environment.
  • Methodologies records of rare diseases.
  • Diagnostics and research in emerging infectious diseases

Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT)

  • Applied Probability, Statistics and Operations Research (statistical modelling, stochastic models in queuing and mathematical biology, and operations research); Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations (the mathematical theory of kinetic models related to statistical physics and convective instabilities in geophysical problems); and Mathematics and Quantum Information: Foundations and Applications

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (GSE)

  • Macroeconomic & Microeconomic Challenges for Development
  • Economics and politics of conflict
  • Private and social returns to education and education policies
  • Financial markets and regulation
  • Firm structure, innovation and growth
  • International trade and globalization
  • Fiscal policy, tax structure and infrastructure investment
  • Economic impact of health and health policies
  • Migration flows and migration policies

Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)

Research at the CRG is organised into four interconnected programmes, each comprising a varying number of independent research groups. These four programmes are:

  • Bioinformatics and Genomics: Genomic technologies are generating an extraordinary amount of information. Thus, a new scientific discipline, Bioinformatics, at the intersection between Biology and Computation, has recently emerged. Bioinformatics addresses the specific needs in data acquisition, storage, analysis and integration that research in genomics generates.
  • Cell and Developmental Biology: The CDB focuses on the interactions between intercellular signalling systems and the cytoskeleton and how this contributes to the spatial organization and information processing ability of cells and groups of cells. It has an emphasis on systems with strong genetics (Drosophila and zebra fish) and uses multidimensional phenotypes grounded in genomics and proteomics.
  • Gene regulation, Stem cells and Cancer: The interests of the program span from mechanisms of gene expression and epigenetic regulation to the molecular basis of cellular decisions involved in tissue homeostasis and cancer.
  • Systems Biology: The SB program covers a wide range of topics: from dynamic gene regulatory networks to systems neuroscience, and employ a wide range of model systems to address these issues, including prokaryotes, cell lines, C. elegans, Drosophila and mice.

7. Decision

The jury's final decision, which shall be dictated by the strictest criteria of meticulousness and transparency, will be published before October 15, 2016.

Successful candidates are expected to start their research projects at the assigned host institutions from November 2016.

8. Successful applicants’ commitments

The beneficiaries of the visiting research fellowships agree to respect and comply with the internal academic and legal regulations of the host research centre. The award of fellowships does not generate any statutory or labour relation with FMxA, and candidates commit themselves to return to their places of origin in Africa once they have finalized their research stay.

9. Monitoring of the project

Fellowship recipients are obliged to submit a final report on the results and impact of their research projects to the Women for Africa Foundation within 3 months after having finalized their research stay.

10. Results and dissemination of the research projects

The Intellectual and Industrial Property (IP) generated by the Beneficiaries throughout the term of the stay at the Host Entity will be regulated by the same terms and conditions which apply to the IP generated by the research personnel of the Host entity.

Submission of applications implies that the fellowship recipients grant to FMxA and the host center, in consideration of the benefits set forth in Section 3, the right to publish and disseminate the results of the chosen research projects in all forms (including, but not limited in form of working papers, electronic documents and books) and in all territories, with no detriment to the publications in scientific journals chosen by the researchers, which should in any case mention the support received by FMxA and the collaborating research centre.