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Research Capacity Strengthening

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Presentation on theme: "Research Capacity Strengthening"— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Capacity Strengthening
Concepts, components and achievements Prof Ruairí Brugha Dr Elaine Byrne

2 Common goals Common goals between IA and the HEI researchers
pro-poor development and the elimination of global inequities working to achieve the millennium development goals, which means a focus on poverty reduction, education, women and children, and health and HIV/AIDS. Focus of ‘Programme of Strategic Cooperation’: a shared commitment to using research – and therefore of building research capacity – as a mechanism to achieving these goals

3 Meanings Research = re-cherche (to search closely) Evaluation
“search for knowledge or any systematic investigation to establish facts” “Applied research involves the systematic application of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge” Evaluation Systematic application of standards-based criteria to assess programmes same as research: rigorous application of appropriate methods (including use of the counter-factual [comparators] – D Murray Difference: research aims to produce new and generalisable knowledge The difference are found in the: Sampling Analysis Conclusions (reach beyond the programme / sample studied) Research aims to generate knowledge that is relevant to a wider population beyond that studied. Sample selection determines how findings can be used and applied Methodological rigour determines applicability and generalisability of findings to present and different contexts

4 Rationale for what researchers do
A. Policy makers and practitioners require reliable EVIDENCE Research provides the evidence which means Researchers need to be enabled to produce the evidence Researchers need the capacity / skills and resources to do the research Development EDUCATION Ensure curricula + learning outcomes based on up-to-date evidence Impart skills to students collect, appraise and synthesise the evidence that (should) underlie development policy and practice * Usually, we talk of the role of research, but too often fail to focus on the role of the researcher. The researcher’s first and obvious role is to oversee and do the research that meets the criteria of relevance, rigour and reliability or dependability for informing policy and other important decisions. The second and equally if not more important role is in development education, where the researcher needs to: have the skills and be able to impart the skills to others in how to collect, appraise and synthesise the evidence that underpins development policies and programmes; and ensure that the development education curriculum and learning outcomes are based on sound, up-to-date research-based evidence. It is not unknown for development HEIs to continue to teach forms of development practice that have been demonstrated several years previously to be based on myth and tradition. The basis or pre-requisite for the researcher and the research institution to fulfil these two roles is the doctorate, the PhD. Martina Hennessy will pick up from this point.

5 Meaning – research capacity
changes in the meaning of research capacity strengthening over time from individual to collective: Research capacity development is the process by which individuals, organizations and societies develop abilities (individually and collectively) to perform functions effectively, efficiently and in a sustainable manner to define problems, set objectives and priorities, build sustainable institutions and bring solutions to key national problems. (Global Forum for Health Research, 2000, p134) From focus on the individual (technical skills, technology, career paths, peer reviews, publications) – era of ‘mosquito’ scientist (scientists who come into the country, do their research and leave with their results) or the ‘parachute’ consultant (consultants who spend two weeks with a local team, consume a considerable part of the research budget, and then produce a large report for the donor or funder) approaches (Costello & Zumla, 2000; Edejer, 1999) to collectively individuals, organisations and systems conducting effective, efficient and sustainable research to address key national problems. More equitable relationship and longer term.

6 Meaning – research capacity (contd)
Different levels Components of capacity: To do the research To manage the research environment To get research into policy and practice Context-specific – many forms Builds on existing capacity and knowledge On-going and long-term (sustainable) More equitable relationships

7 Different levels of building research capacity.
Regional/Supranational health research bodies National Health Research Systems Organisational development Institutional/departmental/ team development Individual training Different IA projects operate across different levels. For example IAP operates at organisational development, ChRAIC operates at individual and team level as well as national health systems, examples of other projects Different levels of building research capacity. (Adapted from Lansang and Dennis, 2004, Fig. 1. Examples of efforts to build research capacity, ranging from individual to global movements, p764)

8 How can we strengthen research capacity?
From the literature success of RCS is based on: Scientific leadership Continuity of funding Appropriate infrastructure, such as buildings Core group of researchers Adequate equipment and communication technology Access to literature Networks with other institutions Stable posts and adequate remuneration Nchinda (2002)

9 Our research capacity gaps*
lack of an enabling environment for research at institution level, especially career paths and availability of mentors weak management and coordination of research process the need for a clear and coherent research framework agenda and priority setting capacities (externally driven) specific skills such as: writing research proposals, data collection, data analysis dissemination to policy makers, scientific writing research infrastructure, such as access to publications and internet Willingness and feasibility of stakeholders (southern and northern) to harmonise and align different RCS initiatives *Through stakeholder interviews (IAP), workshops (CHRAIC) and from all of us working with partners in IA supported programmes

10 IA HEI Programme achievements
Undertaking of collaborative research between participating institutions Masters and PhD students, publications, relationships/networks of institutions established Enhanced quality of teaching and learning with pro-poor focus Masters and PhD studies, external assessment of programmes, new and revised teaching modules Establishment of, and participation in, cross-institutional networks MoUs developed and signed, governance structures established, websites/portals developed, documentation of workshops/learning events, further funding sourced as result of partnership Development of specialist knowledge and research expertise Consultations between stakeholders (practitioners, politicians and researchers), appointed masters/doctoral students, pro-poor research being conducted, dissemination of research processes and outcomes Communications strategies to increase awareness and understanding of global development issues & IA Cross institutional cooperation between Irish HEIs, integration of Irish students into programmes, communication of research findings

11 How to assess? Difficulties designing RCS metrics as capacity is complex. Levels of capacity (individual, team, institution, organisational, national, regional, supranational) Components of capacity (to do research; to manage research and to use research) Stages of research (producing evidence; using evidence; managing evidence)

12 Explained further in breakaway session
IAP and metrics Research process: literature review, list of indicators, design, pilot and implement questionnaire selection of indicators through consensus Example of indicators from Malawi meeting: Proportion of Research Staff on Short-Term Contracts Average Time to Completion for PhD Training Support in Writing and Publication Planning Awards or Recognition of Staff Producing High Quality Research Explained further in breakaway session

13 References Global Forum for Health Research. (2000). The 10/90 report on Health Research 2000, Global Forum for Health Research. Lansang, M. A., & Dennis, R. (2004). Building capacity in health research in the developing world. Bull World Health Organ, 82(10), Nchinda, T. C. (2002). Research capacity strengthening in the South. Social Science & Medicine, 54(11),

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