Building a sustainable research administrative environment in academic institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is crucial to the evolution and maintenance of strong research programs in those countries. While scientific capacity in LMICs has been strengthened over time through research and research training programs, little or no attention has been dedicated to research management, something almost every research institution in the developed world finds essential to sustaining the research enterprise.
In 2012 and 2013, African research administrators, who received training through the NIH International Extramural Associates Research Development Program, organized a series of workshops to train researchers and administrators from 32 sub-Saharan African countries in all aspects of grantsmanship. The workshops took place in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
These training modules were organized through the Initiative on Research and Innovation Management, a partnership program funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and managed by NICHD and Fogarty. The training was designed to build expertise and capacity in research administration by providing instruction on topics such as pre-award and post-award processes, grants and financial management and ethical compliance.
|Initiative on Research and Innovation Management Tanzania workshop organizers with NICHD staff
The workshops provided valuable training in research management to representatives from African academic institutions having limited experience with grants policy and procedures and fiscal accountability. Dr. Regina James, director of the NICHD Office of Health Equity, noted that “the goal of this training was twofold: first, to ensure that institutions and individuals are knowledgeable about policies, procedures and guidelines necessary to provide fiscal oversight and management of research grants, and second, to promote ‘in country’ leadership and dissemination of knowledge around the importance of research administration in building strong, sustainable research programs.”
To help make the workshop material available to a broader audience, NICHD staff worked with the grantees to develop interactive tutorials, video presentations and PowerPoint slides, which cover the gamut of grants-related topics.
NICHD also produced French-language materials—four tutorials along with 13 slide presentations from the workshop held in Senegal. To learn more about the training materials, visit www.researchadministrationtools.org/. —Christine Guilfoy