The ARISE consortium


The objective of the ARISE consortium is to develop and consolidate a network of Research Support & Training Centers (RSTCs) in sub-Saharan Africa. These centers will be embedded in the local universities, will have ownership of the conducted research and will be working according to ICH-GCP research standards.


In 2012 the ARISE (Africa Research Initiative and Support – Network) consortium was founded as a joint venture of the existing COMMAL (College of Medicine – Malawi Amsterdam Liverpool) and INTERACT (Infectious diseases Network for Treatment and Research in Africa) programs. These programs, funded by the Ministry of Foreign affairs of The Netherlands, were initiated in 2005 with the general objective to strengthen the sub-Saharan African research and development capacity in the field of poverty-related diseases (HIV, TB and malaria). The Ministry decided to extend the funding for a period of four years (June 2012-October 2016) with the prime focus on consolidation of capacity built under the first phase of the program.

The main focal areas of the ARISE consortium are:

  • To consolidate and improve research capacity within 4 regional RSTCs at universities in Malawi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Uganda by synchronizing and twinning the success models for training and research capacity strengthening of the COMMAL and INTERACT programs.
  • To develop a coherent functional capacity building network of RSTCs with harmonized training methodology, international accreditation and a standardized evaluation system. This includes capacity sharing of PhD training and supervision.
  • To further develop the individual RSTCs into units capable of addressing national health problems as they emerge and delivering a service portfolio based on research disciplines. This includes the establishment of necessary infrastructure for the individual RSCTs to house the different ingredients of the RSTC model.
  • To further strengthen capacity in the field of grants & administration, data and IT management and improve communication strategies with the aim of increased know-how, income and visibility, ultimately resulting in financial independence not enforced by donor funding.

An African network will help focusing and forwarding research agendas of regional relevance. While many health problems seem local at first glance, several of their elements are essentially of regional nature (e.g. disease epidemiology, organization of the health sector, rapid urbanization). Addressing these in a similar fashion in different African settings will bring important dimensions to health research projects. African research networks will not only be essential for formulating research agendas in this respect, but also for attracting the funds necessary to carry out such projects.

An important aspect of the current success of the ARISE consortium is the growth in South-South collaboration between the various sites. By the end of 2013, the 4 RSTCs have been established within their respected host institutes in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi. In Zimbabwe the construction of a new RSTC building is almost finished. The prime RSTC activities have been sub-divided into: Training & Courses; Support Services; and Governance & Infrastructure. With respect to Training, GCP training was started in all sites and CRA training was given in Malawi and planned in the other sites. With respect to the Support Services, a portfolio has been developed including epidemiological & statistical support; data- & grant-management services and monitoring of randomized clinical trials. Research information services were started for students and staff of the host institutes through websites and regular newsletters.


Name: ARISE: The ARISE consortium
Status: Active
Principal Investigator: Prof. dr. M. Boele van Hensbroek
Partners: University of Malawi, College of Medicine, Malawi

University of Rwanda, College of Medicine, Rwanda

Makerere University, College of Health Sciences, Uganda

University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences, Zimbabwe

Contact information: Project Manager: Friso Janssen


Duration: Start date: 1 June 2012

Duration: 49 months

End date: 1 July 2016

Funded by: NACCAP, The Hague, The Netherlands
Countries: malawi




  • Research capacity development for Africa: Consolidation, Ownership and Independence.