University of Cape Town: UCT joins Wellcome Leap Global Network

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has joined the Leap Health Breakthrough Network, a global group of leading academic and research institutions committed to solving the world’s most serious health challenges at record speed.

Though it can currently take as long as a year to finalise a research funding agreement, the network will help eliminate barriers to progress thanks to the first-of-its-kind Master Academic Research Funding Agreement (MARFA), which equitably addresses all terms and conditions, including IP, ownership and publication.

As a MARFA signatory, UCT will need to negotiate only the statement of work and cost before funds can be transmitted and work can begin, potentially shaving months or more off of development timelines.

A global pandemic heralds (quick) global solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of tackling urgent, large-scale health challenges quickly and across disciplines, organisations and borders. It’s imperative that good ideas are identified and funded quickly, and that researchers across many institutions can build solutions together.

“COVID-19 has left no corner of the world unscathed, demanding immediate responsiveness and transdisciplinary engagement.”

“COVID-19 has left no corner of the world unscathed, demanding immediate responsiveness and transdisciplinary engagement,” says Professor Sue Harrison, UCT’s deputy vice-chancellor of Research and Internationalisation. “Yet it has also highlighted the obstructions that hinder critical research, international collaboration and timely solutions. As a MARFA signatory, UCT looks forward to working with the global research community to unleash truly transformative human health solutions far quicker than has thus far been possible.”

Bold breakthroughs

Wellcome Leap is a United States non-profit organisation founded by the Wellcome Trust in 2020 to accelerate innovations that benefit global health.

Operating at the intersection of life sciences and engineering, Leap builds and executes bold, unconventional programmes that target complex human health challenges, aiming to achieve breakthrough scientific and technological solutions over five to 10 years.

UCT joins the charter group of 21 world-class institutions, representing a network of more than 150 000 researchers across six continents. The charter signatories include:

Agency for Science, Technology and Research
California Institute of Technology
Carnegie Mellon University
Francis Crick Institute
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
National University of Singapore
University of Auckland
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of Cape Town
University of Dundee
University of Pittsburgh
University of São Paulo
University of Southern California
Uppsala University
Vanderbilt University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Wellcome Sanger Institute
Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, and
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
Find out more about Wellcome Leap at