EDCTP-TDR Clinical Research Development Fellowships

EDCTP-TDR Clinical Research Development Fellowships offer targeted training to enhance competencies in clinical trials for medicines, vaccines and diagnostics on a broad range of infectious diseases of poverty. 
Intergovernmental Organizations and Multilaterals 1
Private Foundation or Development Organization 1
Professional and Trade Associations 1
  • Develop strong research capability in low- and-middle income countries (LMICs) on infectious diseases.
  • Reduce research bottlenecks as more new products enter the development pipeline.

What are the health need and challenges?

Researchers from LMICs who are involved in clinical research projects have limited opportunities to acquire experience and develop skills for conducting clinical trials outside of an academic or public sector setting.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Founded in 1999 to promote high quality clinical research in LMICs, the World Health Organization (WHO) Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) Career Development Fellowships (CDF) program. With the help of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), it offers targeted training to enhance competencies in clinical trials for medicines, vaccines and diagnostics on a broad range of infectious diseases of poverty. CDF fellows from hospitals, academic and research institutions in low- and middle-income countries are selected to work in the clinical department of a host pharmaceutical company or product development partnership (PDPs) to receive training on R&D project management, Good Clinical Practice, pharmacovigilance, and regulatory requirements. To date, 8 IFPMA member companies have participated in the program.

In 2012, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) partnered with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) to offer researchers similar placements in pharmaceutical companies. EDCTP is a partnership between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa that supports the clinical development of new or improved interventions to prevent or treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected infectious diseases and related research capacity building.

In 2014, TDR and EDCTP signed an agreement to harmonize and streamline their two fellowship programs. The partnership ensures synergies for the organizations involved, and facilitates common communication with researchers and clinical staff, pharmaceutical companies, PDPs and research institutions.

The quest to have a sustainable response to health issues in Africa must be led by African scientists. TDR has helped us to develop a corps and a network of such African scientists by exposing them to high-quality international research institutions
Dr Antony Etyang
KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya
"The TDR and IFPMA collaboration on the CRDF scheme is a win-win situation building on the development of clinical research capacity in LMICs with 91 Fellows trained since 2008.”
Dr Pascal Launois
Scientist, Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) co-sponsored by UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO
My interest in research was stimulated by my desire to improve the lives of women in my society.
Dr Atinuke Olaleye
GSK Fellow 2017-2018
Results and milestones

Since 2008, the CRDF scheme has trained 91 fellows from 31 LMICs, which includes the 18 fellows selected in 2017 who are currently undergoing training.

An external review from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) of TDR’s career development fellowship has found the program has an impact on a broad range of factors, with ample future potential for continued growth and extension. Altogether, 95% of survey respondents think that their skills and competencies in good clinical or laboratory practices were “better” or “much better” at the end of the program.

TDR and EDCTP launched their first joint call on 31 October 2014. 20 product development organizations offered to host fellows in 2015, including Astellas, Bayer, GSK, Novartis, Merck, Sanofi and Sanofi Pasteur. The host organisations trained scientists – for a period of up to 24 months – to develop specialist product development skills not readily taught in academic centres or public research institutions. On returning to their home organizations, the fellows are expected to become an important resource for institutional capacity development to undertake and manage clinical research in accordance with international regulatory requirements and standards.

CDF fellows have come from 19 African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, The Gambia, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Others have come from China, Colombia, Peru and Vietnam.

A second joint call was launched on the 22 October 2015 and a third joint call was launched in October 2016, for which Merck is confirmed as new host organization.

Throughout these calls, Novartis has had multiple active clinical development fellowship engagements with the EDCTP. In 2019 and 2020, Novartis announced two 3-year commitments to support Career Development Fellowships on maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. Novartis is funding fellows that conduct research in the field of maternal and child health, focusing on the interaction between poverty-related infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases.

Up until 2013, Eisai also participated in the EDCTP-TDR Clinical Research Development Fellowships. Eisai had TDR program twice: once in 2010-2011 and then 2011-2012.

Other companies previously involved include Pfizer & Roche.

Geographic Reach
  • Africa
  • Americas
  • South-East Asia
  • Western Pacific
See Where
Disease Area
  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease
  • Other
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • Other
SGDs the partnership contributes to
SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  1. 3.3: Communicable diseases and NTDs
  2. 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals 
Partner organizations
Intergovernmental Organizations and Multilaterals

WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR)

Private Foundation or Development Organization

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Professional and Trade Associations

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership Programme (EDCTP)

Additional information