Joint Coordinating Board approves 2018-23 strategy and 2016 reports

TDR news item
4 July 2017

TDR’s 2018-23 strategy was approved by its Joint Coordinating Board at the June annual meeting. The strategy calls for a greater focus on implementation research to increase access to health products and improve the effectiveness of proven interventions, particularly for the most vulnerable groups.

The strategy is designed to build the science of solutions. Work is targeted to strengthening research capacity within countries to ensure that new interventions can be effectively and safely introduced, and proven interventions scaled up and deployed. TDR will be using a holistic approach that incorporates multiple diseases and disciplines.

An impact pathway shows how 3 core functions – global engagement, research capacity strengthening and research support – are designed to lead to impact. It is this combination that is TDR’s unique value, combining research with training and global engagement.

Board members commended this approach, and recommended that it be used to address both endemic and emerging diseases, particularly in the poorest countries and among the most vulnerable populations.

Workplans coming out of the strategy, which was developed over the last year with multiple inputs from stakeholders, will now be finalized in consultation with partners and stakeholders.

Increasing gender equity and representation from disease endemic countries

Members noted the value of scientific publications resulting from TDR granted scientists and recommended further analysis into the output. 73% of first authors of TDR-supported publications are from disease endemic countries (DECs), and 73% of studies are available in open access journals. The work to increase representation from DECs both on committees and those receiving research support was also clear. 72% of experts on TDR advisory committees are now from DECs, and 82% of TDR grants are awarded to institutions or individuals in DECs.

Board members also commended the launch last year of TDR Global, a network that tracks the career paths of supported scientists. The online database helps TDR to analyse the effectiveness of grant programmes, and to also provide networking opportunities among the researchers.

TDR’s work to increase gender equity was greatly appreciated. 41% of grantees are women and over half of the TDR advisory committee members are women.

Technical update on building capacity in West Africa

Each year board members receive a more in-depth presentation on one of the technical areas supported by TDR. This year, they saw the power of a regional approach in West Africa to improve health delivery through implementation research. TDR is working with 16 countries to build a network on tuberculosis. It has also worked in a separate project with Ghana, Tanzania and Indonesia to help those countries analyse and prioritize implementation research needs.

Joint Coordinating Board leadership

In other Board actions, Modest Mulenga, representing the Government of Zambia, was elected Chair, and Vic Arendt of Luxemburg Vice-Chair. Susanna Hausmann of Switzerland was elected rapporteur. One new member was selected, the INDEPTH Network, and five existing members were re-selected: the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative; the governments of Malaysia and Nigeria; and from the constituencies the Governments of India and Thailand, and Norway and Switzerland. Spain joined Panama in another constituency. These constituencies allow for greater representation among governments sharing one vote.

From left to right: Vic Arendt, Modest Mulenga, John Reeder, Susanna Hausmann (titles in text above)
WHO/TDR/Dilani Logan

The Board approved the following 2016 reports: Annual Report, Results Report, Risk Management Report, 2 financial reports and the programme budget, as well as the workplans for 2018-19.

For more information, contact:
Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289