Sandpit – 2018

Applications for the 2018 Sandpit event are now closed.

We are pleased to announce the first HORN Sandpit event will take place between the 8th and 12th October 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The focus for this event is the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero hunger”, which cuts across HORN’s three developmental challenges:

(i) Disease and disease control: Increasing the health and productivity of livestock to provide better nutrition and reduced zoonotic disease transmission to people in the Horn of Africa

(ii) Agriculture, livelihoods and economics:  livestock agricultural systems in the Horn to reduce animal and human disease, improve local economies and increase financial resilience

(iii) Health in changing world: Human and animal health under conditions of societal, climate and environmental change

What is a Sandpit?

A sandpit is distinct from a workshop in that it encourages collaborative working and interdisciplinarity, promotes networking and generates research ideas and high quality research proposals. They should have impact in the region through the outputs of the research, and/or enhanced expertise and capability to undertake research; enabling participants to explore their ideas, building upon them and gaining feedback from their peers and support from Sandpit mentors.

As part of the event you will be provided with lectures and guided learning around One Health, ethics, grantsmanship and how to present research proposals. You will develop your ideas and proposals, submit an outline proposal and pitch your proposal to a funding panel who will decide whether your proposal is to be funded. Please note that for this event good spoken and written English is essential.

About HORN

The One Health Regional Network for the Horn of Africa (HORN) project ( is a large, interdisciplinary, collaborative partnership of the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, International Livestock Research Institute, and national institutions of research and teaching in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland.

One Health is the concept that the health and well-being of people is linked to the health of their animals and the environment.  It is nowhere more true than in the Horn of Africa where many people’s livelihoods are highly, or in some cases entirely, dependent on livestock. Animals are culturally, socially and economically vital in the region. Livestock provide, for example, over 60% of agricultural GDP in the Horn, but can also be a source of human disease. Outbreaks of disease in animals thereby directly affect people’s health, but also their wealth and nutrition.

Livestock production and human health and wellbeing in the Horn of Africa can be increased through research, leading to improved agricultural systems; more food and less malnutrition; more financial resilience; and better detection, diagnosis, prevention and control of disease.

HORN’s mission is to improve the health and wealth of the people of the Horn of Africa by increasing the local capacity to undertake high quality research in the interactions between people and animals – One Health.

HORN aims to develop a One Health Regional Network – a network of individuals and organisations across the Horn of Africa – that can undertake high quality research into the link between people’s health and wealth and that of livestock and the environment.

HORN will strengthen the capacity of organisations to undertake research by funding and supporting fellows to train and undertake research in the partner countries. In brief: 

  • Training will be provided to academic researchers from the region. Workshops and short courses (2-5 days), 4-8 week masterclasses and summer schools will educate researchers in aspects of One Health, as well as providing the generic skills that underpin high quality research, like research methods, statistics, presentation, grantsmanship.  An e-learning platform will enable a wider body of researchers to access the course material.
  • Researchers will undertake research projects of 3-12 months duration. These projects will be co-created (by discussion and interaction with expert academics) at group events (‘sandpits’), with successful ideas rapidly agreed and funded.

Information for Applicants

Through this Sandpit event, all participants who successfully obtain funding for research projects will become HORN Training and Research Fellows (HTRFs), and those who attend but are unsuccessful in obtaining research funding will be invited to become HORN Training Fellows (HTFs). All fellows will be invited to join our summer school and have access to on-line and other HORN training resources. This is the first of four Sandpit events with a further one to be held in Ethiopia and two in Kenya in future years. 

Applications for the Sandpit:

  • Please email [email protected] to request an application form.
  • Researchers at all levels are eligible to participate in a HORN sandpit, but we especially welcome applications from early career/junior researchers and those undertaking masters level research.
  • We aim to have 50% representation of both genders for participants at the sandpit.
  • The sandpit is open to researchers in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somaliland.
  • All costs of attending the Sandpit will be paid by HORN.
  • Attendance for the full five days is required.
  • To apply, send the following to [email protected] by 5pm GMT,  22nd June
    • A completed application form
    • A two page CV
    • A signed letter of recommendation from your employer/line manager, confirming that you will be able to attend the five day sandpit, and can be available for training and research leave (3-12 months) from early 2019.
    • The names, addresses and emails of two referees.
  • Before applying, please ensure that you will be free to attend all five days of the workshop on the dates stated above.
  • If you are successful in your application, all travel and subsistence costs will be paid if you are travelling to the workshop from outside of Addis Ababa. If you are based in Addis Ababa, then you would be expected to travel from home to attend the workshop each day.

You will receive confirmation of whether you have been awarded a place on the Sandpit event by the end of July 2018.

Funding of research projects at the sandpit:

  • Research projects are expected to be 3, 6, 9 or 12 months in duration (please note that arable farming is not included in this call).
  • We anticipate that projects will range in costs from £5,000 to £30,000 depending on scope and duration. Please note that all costings submitted as part of your proposal applications should be in UK pounds (GBP).
  • Costs are permitted to cover consumables costs, travel, field costs, subsistence and salary replacement where necessary. Please note that equipment cannot be covered except under exceptional circumstances. Further information on budgets and what is permitted will be provided at the workshop, including discussion of potential study sites where work could be undertaken.
  • Projects can be undertaken within your own institute, however, we would encourage projects to be collaborative and involve exchange of research staff between institutes and countries. Additionally, we would strongly encourage multidisciplinary projects involving collaborations between different institutes.
  • All research projects should have full local ethical approval before commencing, and the time taken to obtain approval should be taken into consideration when planning projects.
  • In terms of research proposals, both training and acquisition of research skills, whether this is for the applicants themselves or to also support others within their research group or lab, is encouraged.

Applications for the 2018 Sandpit event are now closed.