No Poverty Sandpit – 2021

We are unsure how Covid-19 will impact our scheduled activities in 2021. Until we know more, we are currently unable to commit to another Sandpit event. We are very sorry for any disappointment this may cause you, and we sincerely hope to offer you another opportunity to apply in the future. 

What is a sandpit?

The purpose of a sandpit is to generate and develop high quality research proposals, through a 5 day event that encourages networking, collaborative working and interdisciplinarity. Research ideas generated through a sandpit should have impact within the Horn of Africa region by responding to national (and regional) priorities using a One Health approach.

Sandpits provide an opportunity for participants to develop, refine and present research ideas. 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.

Day 1
Monday 1st June
Informal opportunity to meet mentors and peers
Day 2
Tuesday 2nd June
‘Clarify & Conceive’
Consider initial research ideas and learn more about One Health
Day 3
Wednesday 3rd June
‘Collaborate & Create’
Develop project ideas collectively in groups with peers and mentors
Day 4
Thursday 4th June
‘Develop & Prepare’
Grow ideas into projects, and learn how to pitch proposals in groups
Day 5
Friday 5th June
Project teams to present their proposals to the funding panel.

Alongside participants who attend the sandpit, there is a team to support you to develop research projects:








About HORN
The One Health Regional Network for the Horn of Africa (HORN) project is an interdisciplinary, collaborative partnership of the University of Liverpool (UK), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (UK), International Livestock Research Institute (Kenya & Ethiopia), the University of Nairobi (UoN), Addis Ababa University (AAU), Hamelmalo Agricultural College (Eritrea), IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (Somaliland) and Amoud University (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.

The first project sandpit was held in 2018 (21 attendees), and the second sandpit in 2019 (22 attendees). Participants from previous sandpits commented:

‘The sandpit event was amazing….I want to thank all HORN team and their partners. This event really motivates me to do more problem solving research and contributed to my knowledge’

‘The support was overwhelming. The mentors were really devoted to help us all around’

‘It is a learning experience, a bed of new ideas and views around varied subjects. It is very innovative’

‘I learnt how to work with people with multi-disciplinary background. I will use in the future to development One Health integrated project’

‘I enjoyed the collaborative and networking aspect, and the relaxed interaction with delegates, mentors and organisers’

Research Projects
Research projects will be fully developed & defined at the sandpit event, however, we are asking for applications from teams of individuals with a proposed research area/topic. You should be aware of the following conditions when preparing your application:

  • The cost of each project will vary depending upon the number of researchers in each project team, however we do expect projects to be achievable within a budget of approximately £10,000 (GBP), per researcher. For example, a project with 5 researchers, will have a budget ceiling of £50,000 (GBP)
  • Costs are permitted to cover consumables, travel, field costs, subsistence and salary replacement (where necessary). Please note that equipment cannot be covered, except under exceptional circumstances. Further information on budget conditions will be provided at the sandpit event.
  • Research ideas proposed should respond to national priorities of the country where your research will be conducted (please provide evidence of this within your application)
  • Collaboration is essential for One Health projects, and when applying, the team must include multiple disciplines. Please consider human, animal, environmental & social science expertise when establishing your team and applying.
  • Research teams should include both women and men. Across all projects, we will be aiming for 50:50 gender representation at the event.
  • All research projects (if funded) will have to apply for full local and international ethical approval before commencing, and the time taken to obtain approval should be taken into consideration. You will be supported throughout this process by your mentor/s if your project is funded.
  • When ethics has been granted, research projects must be achievable in a maximum period of 12 months (to include data collection, analysis and ideally, submission of a publication).
  • When applying, please consider the skills and expertise that you would like from mentors for your project.


  1. Researchers at all levels are eligible to participate in a HORN sandpit, but we especially welcome applications from early career/junior researchers
  2. We expect teams of researchers to submit an application, and have an interdisciplinary idea for a project that meets our funding criteria. They will have a chance to refine it at the event, but must come with an outline and team members already in place
  3. We encourage applications from new teams and new research projects
  4. Applications are open to researchers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somaliland and Somalia
  5. Applicants from a wide range of backgrounds are welcome to apply, including (but not limited to): microbiology, economics, data scientists, public health, medicine, veterinary medicine, epidemiology, zoo-archaeology, vector biology, anthropology and social science.
  6. Projects must include multiple disciplines amongst team members, and teams can have a minimum of 2 people up to a maximum of 5 people (this does not include mentors)
  7. Attendance at the full five days is required – please ensure you are able to attend all five days before you apply
  8. Important: applications that include teams from different research institutes is allowed, however, given time restrictions, there can only be one national institutional ethical review (in the country of your research). Please consider this when applying, and if you have any questions related to the ethics process, please email [email protected]

Further Information for Applicants
Attendance at the sandpit is not a guarantee that your project will be funded, as you will pitch your idea at the end of the sandpit event to a funding panel. All participants who successfully obtain funding for research projects will become HORN Research Fellows, and those who attend but are unsuccessful in obtaining research funding will be invited to become HORN Training Fellows. All fellows will be able to access HORN e-learning materials, and HORN research fellows will be invited to training events, including summer schools and One Health masterclasses. You will also be supported throughout your research projects by expert mentors.

To Apply

You must register as a member of HORN in order to access the Sandpit application form. Member registration allows you to access e-learning materials and connect with the wider HORN community.

Please note only one application needs to be submitted per team.

The application form requires you to complete a number of questions, as well as uploading copies of:

–          CV of all team members (maximum 2 pages per CV)

–          Signed letter of recommendation from the employer of each applicant, confirming that you are able to attend the 5 day sandpit event, and can be available for training and research leave

Application deadline: Thursday 30th April (5pm GMT/ 7pm EAT)

Applicants will be notified whether they have been awarded a place by the middle of May 2020. The cost of attending the sandpit event will be paid for by HORN.

If you are unable to access the online form, you can request a Word version by emailing [email protected].