Challenges and progress building research capacity profiled in PLOS NTD

TDR news item
28 April 2017

The journal PLOS NTD has published an article profiling the progress and challenges building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries. They highlight successes from TDR and the recent changes made to increase the opportunities.

CIDEIM training in Colombia
CIDEIM training in Colombia
Credit: Cristian Santacruz

Numerous scientists explain the growth of capacity in their countries and regions. Mwele Malecela, chief research scientist at Tanzania's National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), told the journal that “more and more African scientists are now leading studies.”

Carlos Morel, Director of the Center for Technological Development in Health at Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), talked about how TDR made a big impact in his country in the 1970s and 80s by supporting bright students to go abroad and get good training. Those students then returned, established new labs and increased the research capacity considerably.

E. Kamau
TDR scientist Edward Kamau

More recently, TDR has started shifting away from training researchers abroad to forging alliances with well-established academic institutions that can act as regional training hubs. Edward Kamau, who works in TDR’s research capacity building unit, explained in the article: “The stipends and tuition are lower compared to training in the US or Europe, so maybe you can train 5 people instead of 2.”

Colombia’s Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones MeÂdicas (CIDEIM) is one of those TDR-supported regional centres. CIDEIM uses a customized training programme on the conduct of biomedical research. “The modality is `training a trainer,' so others can multiply it in their own setting,” said Scientific Director Nancy Saravia. “Then they become hubs and spread it.”

The article also covered the “transformative force” of open access publishing that has allowed many scientists access to a much broader range of research publications. These journals are often led or staffed by editorial board members who come from disease-endemic countries, such as Xiao-Nong Zhou, who is Editor-in-Chief of Infectious Diseases of Poverty, and they identify issues from that perspective.

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

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