H3D Foundation, who are leading the development of the Grand Challenges Africa Drug Discovery Accelerator (GC ADDA) network which engages more than 40 scientists in nine African countries, today announced that they are expanding the Global Health Mentorship program for early-mid career infectious disease drug discovery scientists from Africa, in partnership with CP+ Associates, and mentors from industry and academia. After 2 successful iterations covering some 50 mentor-mentee pairs, the team has opened the call for applications for its third cohort.

Susan Winks is Head of Research Operations and Business Development and the lead author in a Nature Medicine paper that described the tangible impact to the professional and personal development of mid-career drug discovery scientists (see Winks et al 2022: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01885-1). The mentees for this program are early-mid career researchers working on drug discovery projects at either the H3D Drug Discovery and Development Centre, University of Cape Town, or as participants of the Grand Challenges Africa Drug Discovery Accelerator Network. Mentors are subject matter experts in drug discovery and development whose skills have been acquired during an applied setting in industry, consulting practice or research institutions.

“We got together at a time when I was transitioning from a student role to a full-time academic role. My mentor works very closely with industry, and I’m a lecturer and last year, I moved into that position. So as a postdoc that moved into a full-time employee of the university with my main capacity staying as research, she gave excellent input on how to cope – in a timely manner e.g. How do I make this transition as easy as possible as quick as possible? And how to find my own niche. And I could not have asked for a better mentor in that. Her extensive experience in industry and see how things should be running and how to manage your day to day in that streamline way of doing things compared to where you are constantly in the lab.” -Mentee cohort 2.

“My mentor helped me break down the stuff I considered impediments e.g. impostor syndrome and increased my self-confidence – made me feel like I am a good scientist” -Mentee cohort 2.

“I am thrilled with how this program has grown from the first cohort of mentors and mentees and the very tangible examples of value that the international subject matter experts bring to the work of our African drug discovery scientists– this really has exceeded our initial expectations,” said Colin Pillai, Ph.D., of CP+ Associates.  “I especially encourage members of the African diaspora who are passionate about giving back to apply to be a mentor.”

Mentors who are interested in participating should respond before 31 March 2024 by completing this google form.

If you require further information, please reach out to info@cpplusassociates.org with the subject line “Mentor: Global Health Mentorship Program 2024”. An information session for the 2024 cohort of mentors and mentees will take place on 3 April 2024 at 15h00 SAST.