NIH, South Africa partner on $8M in research projects

May / June 2015 | Volume 14, Issue 3

​The NIH and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) have jointly awarded 31 grants to U.S. and South African scientists to support research targeting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and HIV-related comorbidities and cancers. The multiyear awards, which total $8 million in first-year funding, are the initial grants to be issued through the South Africa-U.S. Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research.

Scientists located at eight South African institutions will work with investigators at more than 20 U.S.-based organizations, including NIH. The projects were required to have one or more principal investigator from each country and were selected through the NIH peer review process.

Female researcher in white lab coat views sample through a microscope in a dimly lit lab
Photo by David Rochkind for Fogarty

A U.S.-South African partnership will advance science on
HIV/AIDS and other topics.

The collaboration was established under a 2013 agreement between the two nations, which was facilitated by Fogarty. Each country is providing equal funding for the $40 million initiative.

"South Africa is a major partner in the fight to end both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis," said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. "These new awards tap the scientific expertise of both of our countries in an effort to further key research in these disease areas."

Among the newly funded research projects are those targeting HIV prevention, particularly among high-risk young women; identifying HIV-infected individuals and determining how best to link them to and retain them in medical care; developing strategies for optimizing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HIV-associated cancers; and addressing scale-up of TB prevention and treatment strategies, particularly among TB-infected mothers and children. Twelve of the awards will support two years of research; 19 awards will fund five-year collaborative projects.

"This commitment to shared funding will lead to new discoveries and help strengthen South African research and research management capacity," said SAMRC President and former Fogarty trainee, Dr. Glenda Gray. "It allows our scientists to work with top U.S. investigators and provides access to the NIH peer review process."

In addition to NIAID and Fogarty, NIH participants include the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Office of AIDS Research (OAR). A solicitation for a second round of applications is expected in about two years.

"This dual funding partnership model holds great potential to build collaborations and advance science with our colleagues in South Africa and beyond," said Dr. Roger I. Glass, Fogarty director.

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