The National Institutes of Health has awarded 10 new grants totaling up to $17 million over the next 4 years to support genomics research in Africa, as part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) program. This set of grants is the second disbursement of H3Africa awards and brings the total amount of funding since the 2010 launch of the program to about $74 million.
In addition to genomics research, the new awards will support training of African genomic scientists and building scientific infrastructure on the continent. H3Africa is funded by a partnership between NIH and the United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust.
“These H3Africa awards demonstrate our continued commitment to furthering the capacity for genomics research on the African continent,” said Eric D. Green, MD, PhD, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. “Studying human diseases within populations with the greatest genetic variability and encouraging the contributions of our African colleagues should yield new insights about the role of genetics in health and disease.”
Funding to Support Additional Centers
The new awards include funding for two additional H3Africa collaborative centers, one that will study the risk factors for stroke and another that will study the role of the human vaginal microbiome in cervical cancer. New individual research projects will study several other health conditions important in Africa, including neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, fevers of unknown origin, tuberculosis, and African sleeping sickness.
NIH Common Fund
H3Africa is a global health program of the NIH Common Fund, and is coordinated by the National Human Genome Research Institute, in partnership with a number of other NIH institutes and offices. These include the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NIH Office of AIDS Research, and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health.
H3Africa’s goals are to enhance the capacity of African researchers to undertake cutting-edge research to advance understanding of the genomic and environmental determinants of common diseases, and in the long run, to use this knowledge to improve the health of African populations.
The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high-impact, trans-NIH programs. Common Fund programs are designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute could manage alone.
Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at http://commonfund.nih.gov. ■