Press Release: Applications open for the Mental Health Data Prize – Africa 2024

July 2, 2024

NAIROBI, July 01, 2024—The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in partnership with Wellcome, has today begun receiving applications for the Mental Health Data Prize—Africa 2024. This prize seeks to bridge critical gaps in the understanding of anxiety, depression, and psychosis across Africa. The first-of-its-kind prize is open to innovators, researchers, and startups competing for up to ten awards, each valued at £200,000, that comes with a year of funding. It will see multidisciplinary teams led by Africans working together to generate scalable innovations and data-driven insights to enhance the continent’s understanding of anxiety, depression, and psychosis.

The call for applications, which runs from July 1 to 30, 2024, follows a free five-month-long virtual capacity-building program. Over 1,300 individuals from across Africa participated in the program, which covered areas such as data science, evidence-based policy, decision-making, AI and causal inference, and others. APHRC also facilitated the match-making process for research teams based on complementary skill sets, thus, addressing potential gaps helped form multidisciplinary teams, match individuals, and provide access to identified metadata sources. Applicants may submit their proposals through, after which successful candidates will be announced on October 15, 2024, after a rigorous assessment process.

Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, APHRC’s Executive Director, said: “The Mental Health Data Prize – Africa 2024 is not just a competition; it’s a call to action for Africa’s brightest minds to tackle one of the most pressing health issues of our time. We are looking for groundbreaking ideas, developed with input from different players in promoting mental wellbeing, that will use the innovations in data science and data-driven insights to transform mental health care across the continent.”

Dr. Kyobutungi called on passionate and creative minds dedicated to improving mental health outcomes in Africa to apply for the Mental Health Data Prize – Africa 2024 and make a tangible impact at the forefront of pioneering research and innovation.

Mental health remains a critical and often overlooked aspect of health in Africa. Recent research by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) highlights a substantial rise in mental health disorders, with millions affected by anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Yet, there remains a significant disparity in the availability and application of data-driven insights to tackle these issues.

Dr. Ekin Bolukbasi, the Data Prize Manager at Wellcome, said, “The enthusiastic response to our capacity-building program is a testament to the growing recognition of the importance of data in revolutionizing mental health research. We look forward to the innovative insights that will emerge from this prize to address the significant gaps in understanding the challenges and evidence-based interventions for anxiety, depression, and psychosis in Africa.”

Mental health problems appear to be increasing in importance in Africa, with the number of years lost to disability as a result of mental and substance use disorders increasing by 52% between 2000 and 2015, even as the continent’s population grew by 49%. 

To sign up for the Mental Health Data Prize – Africa, please visit 


About APHRC:

The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) is a premier research-to-policy institution, generating evidence, strengthening research and related capacity in the African research and development ecosystem, and engaging policy to inform action on health and development. The Center is Africa-based and African-led, with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and a West Africa Regional Office (WARO) in Dakar, Senegal. APHRC seeks to drive change by developing strong African research leadership and promoting evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) across sub-Saharan Africa.

About Wellcome:

Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health, and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, infectious disease, and climate and health.


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