Malawi researchers to tap into GSK’s £4m for cancer, diabetes

Health researchers from Malawi are in line to tap from a £4 million first round of funding that one of the world’s leading pharmaceuticals firms GSK has made available for eight African countries to research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Research work on cancer

Research work on cancer

GSK said on Friday it has launched the first call for proposals for its Africa NCD Open Lab to support much-needed scientific research into outbreak of NCDs on the continent.

It said the fund of £4m (K320 billion) aims to support successful proposals from researchers in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.

“In this region, and across developing countries, non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, are becoming more prevalent, and we need to learn more about how – and why – these diseases manifest differently in this setting,” reads a GSK statement.

It says the research work would be collaborated through GSK’s Africa NCD Open Laboratory, a £25m investment set up earlier this year to deal with NCDs through research.

It says the Africa NCD Open Lab, based at GSK’s Stevenage R&D facility in the UK aims to address NCDs through the creation of an innovative research network under which GSK scientists collaborate with researchers across Africa on high quality epidemiological, genetic and interventional research.

“The aim is that this will specifically inform interventions for the prevention and treatment of five priority diseases – cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic respiratory disease–while helping build local expertise and creating a new generation of African NCD experts.

GSK says following the first call for proposals from the African researchers, an independent external advisory group, comprising clinical and scientific experts in the field of NCDs, will review applications to the NCD Open Lab, with recommendations for funding based on scientific merit.

The group will consist of a majority African membership to ensure that only locally-relevant research is funded, it says.

Dr. Mike Strange, Interim Head of Africa NCD Open Lab said the laboratory initiative said the potential to dramatically improve understanding of NCDs in Africa – and could ultimately, accelerate the development of new, better medicines to treat them.

“The launch of our first call for proposals is an important milestone for this initiative, and we encourage researchers working in the field of NCDs who are based in the eight eligible countries to consider applying for the funding and expert support available to them through this,” he said.

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Martin Luther King Malawi
Martin Luther King Malawi

Research approval in Malawi has a system that is too bureaucratic, they meet once every 3 months and they demand a 10% cut from your research budget, please make the room more conducive for researchers, stop this Church like “tithing” fees, put something standardized and more affordable, use internet and share the scripts and meet more often, otherwise this money will be returned to the funders at the end… That’s shameful.


We used to have many research stations in Malawi from Ngabu to Makoka but nothing came out!!!!! Perhaps in the healthy field something positive will come out.

Concerned citizen

I agree with number 2. This meeting syndrome has to come to an end. It is in general a waste of resources with minimal exceptions. Please produce tangible results.

Quota system

Too many obstacles to do research in Malawi. Costly fees yet the same monies are returned at the end of the year. The rest for meetings and meetings and meetings


it will be travel, allowances, shopping and an addition on the CV, nothing more. whatever they will find in terms of research will be handed over to the westerners and our researchers will be back to their teaching posts in the universities. Dont expect anything from this. Many similar researches have been done in africa using african scientists but up no none of them have been awarded scientific awards, none of our african scientists have come up with any cure for our diseases. even the cure for Ebola will come from the West

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