Aubrey Sheiham Evidence-Based Healthcare in Africa Leadership Award

Professor Aubrey Sheiham was a dental epidemiologist who was inspired and encouraged by Archie Cochrane to question many of the practices in medicine and dentistry. His main commitments were to challenge dental establishments to be far more critical and to improve the health of populations in low and middle-income countries.  Prof Sheiham particularly believed that the misuse of healthcare resources has more serious ethical and health implications in low-income countries because the latter are often under-resourced and inadequate to start with. Prof Sheiham considered that supporting and training key health personnel in the concepts of Cochrane will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health care. Since 2001, through Prof Sheiham’s generosity, one Cochrane researcher from a low- or middle-income country has been funded and supported each year to complete a Cochrane Review on a topic relevant to his or her region, and to cascade relevant knowledge about Cochrane and evidence-based health care (EBHC) to his or her local networks. Prof Sheiham died in November 2015.

General information and requirements

Since February 2014, the scholarship has evolved into a new award focusing on leadership in EBHC: The Aubrey Sheiham EBHC in Africa Leadership Award. This award is offered annually by Cochrane to an individual from Africa to support the conduct and dissemination of a high-impact Cochrane Review focusing on a topic relevant to resource-constrained settings. The award is administered by Cochrane South Africa (SA).

In addition to undertaking and disseminating the review findings, the awardee will be expected to support capacity development by mentoring a novice author from Africa while conducting the review. The awardee and mentee will receive support to attend two face-to-face meetings, to ensure progress and provide mentoring during the review process. The meetings will take place at the most appropriate site to bring the team together - either at Cochrane SA, or another location identified by the awardee.

The preferred recipient will:

  • be an experienced Cochrane Review author (with at least one published review) based in Africa;
  • have demonstrated commitment to mentoring others in EBHC;
  • have agreed to support a named novice author from Africa as part of their author review team; and
  • have identified a  review topic of significant importance to people living in resource-limited settings and for which there is available evidence. An update of an existing review is allowed if it will have a high impact.

The awardee will be expected to:

  • have agreed on a review topic with the relevant Cochrane Review Group before submitting an application;
  • prepare a new, or update an existing, high-priority Cochrane Review during the tenure of the Award. The timeline for completing the review will be agreed by the awardee, Cochrane SA, and the relevant Cochrane Review Group;
  • provide proof that  there are eligible studies for inclusion in the review;
  • mentor a novice Cochrane author on the agreed review topic; and
  • plan and implement a dissemination strategy for the published review with the assistance of Cochrane SA.

The award covers:

  • attendance by the awardee at the annual Cochrane Colloquium (travel, accommodation, and registration);
  • the costs of up to two face-to-face meetings of up to 10 days duration for the awardee and his or her mentee; and
  • the cost of travel, subsistence, visa and accommodation for a period of up to one month at Cochrane SA or another appropriate site (if required) for dedicated work time on the review.

The awardee is expected to ensure that he or she has medical insurance cover for any travel undertaken related to the award.

All activities related to this award will abide by all applicable regulations related to COVID-19 and other emergencies.

The application must include the following documentation:

  • a full curriculum vitae (with three references) and a clear outline of work already done on systematic reviews, including experience with quantitative data;
  • a motivation letter indicating how the applicant would benefit from the award;
  • a summary of a suggested review topic – a maximum of 500 words explaining the relevance to resource-limited communities and the potential impact;
  • confirmation from the relevant Cochrane Review Group that the topic has been accepted;
  • confirmation that the applicant has identified a suitable mentee;
  • a description of the dissemination strategy for the published review (including potential stakeholders and dissemination methods); and
  • a signed statement from the applicant’s head of department or manager, that they are aware of the application and agree to release the applicant to work on the review during the course of the year.

Application and selection process

Cochrane SA establishes and administers the yearly timetable for advertising and selecting the Sheiham awardee. Once this has been decided, Cochrane SA circulates information about the requirements and application deadlines to Cochrane entities and e-mail lists, and an announcement is posted on the Cochrane website. Applications are reviewed by a selection panel chaired by the Director of Cochrane SA, whose members are drawn mainly from African countries.

Timetable for applications for the Sheiham Award

  • May: Call for applications opens
  • 31 July: Deadline for applications
  • 30 September: Announcement of the Award winner

Email queries and applications to Joy Oliver at