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International Research Ethics Networks for Southern Africa (IRENSA)

The following grant was awarded by, is supported by, is administered by or is in partnership with the Fogarty International Center at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Project Information in NIH RePORTER

International Research Ethics Networks for Southern Africa (IRENSA)

Principal Institution

University of Cape Town

Principal Investigator(s) (PI)

Benatar, Solomon R

Project Contact Information

University of Cape Town
Department of Medicine
J Floor GHS
Old Main Building Rooms 47-49
Observatory, 7925 Western Cape, South Africa
Telephone: 27-21-406-6115
Fax: 27-21-448-5653

Year(s) Awarded


Project Description

The International Research Ethics Network for Southern Africa (IRENSA) program offers mid-career professionals the opportunity to obtain a post-graduate diploma in international research ethics by attending three two-week intensive modules over one academic year, with practicum assignments completed at their home institutions. The program based at the University of Cape Town recruits ethic review committee members, scientists, clinicians, academics, government and military regulators, and researchers from the public and private sectors from South Africa and other African countries. The program includes an annual two day seminar for over 100 participants and a new module on global health, public health ethics and public health research ethics. The overall goal of IRENSA is to develop sustainable multidisciplinary expertise in international research ethics and bioethics in Southern Africa. This programme, taught by a multidisciplinary Faculty with national and international reputations in bioethics, is in many ways unique in Africa and is impacting considerably on the ethics of research in Southern Africa, where there has been both exponential increase in the volume of clinical research in developing countries and concern about unethical research, especially in relation to HIV/AIDS.

Between 2002-2008, IRENSA has provided research ethics training and skills to 71 mid-career professionals trained to the Diploma level. Diploma students drawn from South Africa and eight other low-income African countries - including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Malawi, Botswana and Uganda.