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KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme

The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme is a partnership between the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Oxford. The Programme has grown from a small group to a facility hosting over 100 research scientists and 700 support staff working across Kenya, Uganda and the region.

The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) - Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) was formally established in 1989 as a partnership between KEMRI (Kenya Medical Research Institute), Oxford University and Wellcome. We aim to expand the country’s capacity to conduct multidisciplinary research that is strong, sustainable and internationally competitive. Strong community links are at the heart of the Programme, with an emphasis on capacity building and training to build scientific leadership.

Several key principles run through our work:

to carry out research to the highest scientific and ethical standards on major causes of morbidity and mortality in Africa to build strong and sustainable internationally competitive, national and regional research capacity to work in a way that facilitates integration and cross-fertilisation of scientific disciplines, from basic biology, clinical and operational research to social science to have a direct input into local and international health policy. The KWTRP includes three hubs, with the main hub in coastal Kilifi, an hour’s drive from Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa. The Kilifi hub is based in the main County Referral Hospital, serving over half a million residents and linking basic studies with molecular laboratories to clinical applications with local relevance.

In Nairobi, the KWTRP hub has strong links with the Ministry of Health, with a number of researchers actively providing advice to policy-makers. Work is carried out in multiple locations across Kenya in collaboration with a number of bilateral and national partners and academic institutions, including the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University. Nairobi also serves as a hub for work conducted in partnership with many countries in Africa and more recently in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region.

The KWTRP is supporting the development of infrastructural capacity in Eastern Uganda in partnership with the Mbale and Soroti Regional Referral Hospitals. This work is focusing on malaria and its consequences in the region – direct morbidity and mortality and the indirect consequences of malaria including bacterial infection, malnutrition and genetic polymorphisms.

KWTRP hosts the Initiative to Develop African Research Leaders (IDeAL), a training programme designed to develop young African scientists into world-class research leaders. IDeAL aims to keep scientists at African institutions through a defined programme of recruitment, supervision, mentorship, multidisciplinary approaches and clear career paths.

The KWTRP is acting as a centre of excellence where promising African researchers can work within a strong scientific environment, forging their own links with the international scientific community.

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