The Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (Ascend) programme advances the impact and sustainability of national programmes across the globe tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Ascend Lot 1 is focusing on controlling and eliminating five of the diseases in 11 countries across Southern and Eastern Africa and South Asia.
Our consortium consists of Crown Agents, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Oriole Global Health, and Abt Associates.
A core component of the programme is the Ascend Research and Innovation Investment Fund (RIF) which invites interested parties to suggest research and innovation proposals to enhance NTD activity, in the hope of receiving potential funding. These proposals will identify or produce evidence of cutting-edge approaches to NTD programming to accelerate progress towards control and elimination by addressing known barriers or issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the NTD landscape, and the fund seeks to explore how adaptive NTD delivery can be supported to ‘build back better’ to minimise the risks of COVID-19, whilst also accelerating the elimination of NTDs.
Both ASCEND Lot 1 Southern and Eastern Africa and South Asia and our sister programme, Ascend West and Central Africa, run similar funding rounds, but the timing and detail differ. Interested parties are welcome to apply to both consortia’s calls for proposals, or to propose an approach which cover countries in both, as long as one of the countries impacted by the proposed project is part of the 11 countries covered under this programme.
All stakeholders in the global community affiliated with eligible organisations, including non-profit, academic and for-profit or government-owned organisations, are welcome to apply to the fund, but must be able to demonstrate research or innovations capacity. Prospective applicants may submit multiple applications. International applicants are encouraged to show national collaboration and capacity strengthening in the target countries. Priority will be given to applications that relate to at least one of the five NTDs and one of the eleven countries that are part of the ASCEND Lot 1 Southern and Eastern Africa and South Asia programme.
NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis, and trachoma
Countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, and Nepal
The fund is looking to invest in a range of project types that vary in size and focus – from those that increase country capacity to adapt NTD platforms to respond to COVID-19; to others which strengthen or expand routine programme activities; to those that support field research and research uptake.
Applicants may apply for grants ranging from £25,000 to £350,000 to support projects, which can be at any stage from hypothesis testing, to pilot studies to scaling up.