Francisca Mutapi is an award winning global health expert empowering African scientists and policymakers to tackle infectious diseases and improve epidemic preparedness prioritising local needs and solutions. She leads collaborative transformative research developing and deploying infectious disease diagnostic tools and interventions across the continent, especially in places with limited infrastructure or resources. She was appointed as the first black African female Professor in Scotland and she sits on several advisory bodies including the WHO Africa Regional Director’s Advisory Board, the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Science Advisory Group and the board of Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases. She chairs the WHO African Region Monitoring COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness (AFRO-MoVE) network strategic advisory group. She is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences and is a 2021 TED Fellow and Senior Aspen New Voices Fellow. She is also a writer, an award winning visual artist and founder of Mwenje Wedu Foundation whose aim is to enable children and youth in Zimbabwe to reach their full potential through providing scholarships, training, social enterprise and creating an enabling learning environment.