The Clinical Research Career Development Fellowships (CDF), initiated in 1999 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) targets training to research and development (R&D) priority areas and develops highly skilled local researchers that add to developing countries’ R&D capacity now and for the future. This fellowship trains individuals during 12 months in situ with relevant company partners in order to develop specialised skills not readily taught in academic centres. These skills include inter alia R&D project management, regulatory compliance and good practice.

In 2014 TDR and the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), harmonized and streamline two similar fellowship programmes to create the new EDCTP-TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellowships (CDF)

This programme is more than a post-doctoral or internship placement.  Host organisations (companies) take responsibility for accelerated training with the knowledge that the candidate will not be retained in their organisation. Host organisations generally assign a senior scientist to mentor the fellows, thus making a significant in-kind contribution to the clinical fellowship programme through staff and other organisational costs.

Upon completing their fellowships, the individuals return to their home institutes to undertake a leadership role, and become valuable resources in the global effort on R&D for neglected infectious diseases. TDRs experience has shown that many organisations, including funding agencies, actively seek out individuals capable of conducting Good Clinical Practice compliant trials. The home institution receives funding to carry out clinical trials and upgrade facilities required for regulatory compliance.  As such, the CDF programme has an add-on benefit of strengthening the home institution's capacity to engage in new projects. At a more fundamental level it results in such research being managed and coordinated from within developing countries by developing country institutions rather than by external experts.

A recent external review of the TDR-supported fellowships found it to have an impact on a broad range of factors, with ample future potential for continued growth and extension. Some 95% of survey respondents said they considered their skills and competencies in good clinical or laboratory practices “better” or “much better” at the end of the programme. To date, a total of 60 fellows have participated in the programme.

The fellows themselves are selected competitively following a call for applications, based both on their individual capabilities and the value of such training to their host institution.  Find out more here (http://apps.who.int/tdr/svc/grants/calls/cdf).

Further pages of this site are restricted to past, present and future fellows, their sponsors and host institutions. If you have any questions please contact TDRfellows@globalhealthtrials.org