MEPI sites awarded $2.3 M to strengthen research management

    June 2012

    The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has allocated $2.3 million in grant supplements to institutions participating in the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) network. The supplements will foster, stimulate, or expand research administration capacity and training. The awards were made in June 2012 through the Initiative on Research and Innovation Management (iRIM).

    MEPI iRIM Supplement to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

    Abstract: This project is proposed as a supplement to the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) grant that supports the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative in enhancing training, research, and the practice of Emergency Medicine in Kumasi, Ghana. It has become apparent through MEPI that although research and research training at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) are relatively well developed, research proposal development, administration, and management have not received the same attention. Currently there is no systematic, university-wide research management structure in place at KNUST, which hinders the University's ability to compete for and manage large research projects. This proposal seeks to improve the provision of grants management at KNUST by establishing a university-wide Office of Grants and Research (OGR) through continued collaboration with the University of Michigan (UM) and other universities that have established grants management offices, such as the University of Ibadan (UI) in Nigeria. The Specific Aims of this proposal include:

    • Aim 1: Develop an Institutional Research Policy and Management Plan;
    • Aim 2: Establish an Office of Grants and Research (OGR) at KNUST, including the development of 5-year strategic plan and a 1-year implementation plan for the office;
    • Aim 3: Develop and implement customizable training modules that can be deployed across the institution and beyond;
    • Aim 4: Develop a research proposal roadmap to guide researchers through the expected path from conceptualization to program completion, as well as to provide resources for faculty and staff in accomplishing each anticipated step.

    The completion of these aims will integrate existing institutional ethical review as well as administrative and fiscal accountability processes, while enhancing overall institutional coordination and oversight. KNUST is committed to sustainability measures for the OGR beyond the period of supplemental funding. We believe that this project has the potential to catalyze grants management at KNUST.

    Relevance: The establishment of an Office of Grants and Research at KNUST will enable KNUST to compete for and administer its own grants and enhance research across the university. This office will also serve as a model for other institutions and improve collaborative research with other partners.

    MEPI iRIM Supplement to University of Nairobi

    Abstract: Research is one of the core mandates of The University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Kenyatta University (KU) the leading health training institutions in Kenya. Although the three institutions have well articulated research policies their research and innovations management processes are weak due to inadequate staffing, poor infrastructure and lack of expertise. The KNH-UoN Ethics and Research Committee (ERC) reviews proposals prior to starting research involving human subjects for all the three institutions and is facing increasing challenges to deal with its workload. In collaboration with the University of Washington (UW) we propose to strengthen research and innovation management in UoN, KU and KNH by recruiting and training of research administrators, standardizing procedures, developing infrastructure and digitizing records. The specific objectives of this supplement are:

    1. Strengthening process for research and innovation management by developing existing offices responsible for research and innovation into Centralized Institutional Research Management and Innovation Offices under UoN leadership,
    2. Recruitment of Senior Research Administrators (SRA) responsible for training on research administration and for coordination of grants management. Institutions will recruit these staff using their established processes and the grant will support their first year salaries,
    3. Training in research management and grantsmanship. Newly hired SRAs, faculty and other research administrators will be trained as trainers of trainers using training packages developed by UoN IEARDA, UoN MEPI and IEARDA iRIM, and
    4. Infrastructure development by equipping existing offices supporting research and innovation management and the KNH-ERC to adopt electronic research administration and management methodologies.

    The activities of this grant will be anchored in both the Medical Education Partnership Initiative and the International Extramural associates. Development grants and the activities will be closely monitored and evaluated during the grant period to ensure the objectives are met. On completion of the funding period, the three institutions have committed to fund and sustain the offices and activities initiated.

    Relevance: Strengthened research and innovation management in UoN, KU and KNH will enable the institutions increase conduct of locally relevant research that will result in improvement of the health of Kenyans. The collaboration of the three institutions each with a centralized research and innovation office that share resources of the more established UoN office will save resources and improve efficiency.

    MEPI iRIM Supplement to University of Ibadan

    Abstract: Nigeria's medical research productivity was quite remarkable during the 1960s and up to the early 1990s. For example, the medical research output from the University of Ibadan was so significant that it was rated the 4th in medical education and research among the medical schools in the British Commonwealth during the 1970s. The potentials are still great, however the present situation is challenging; the poor infrastructures, lack of institutional support and resources have severely limited the research opportunities for faculty members. In addition, there are major research and grants management gaps in Nigerian universities; including no organized grant management system, no established mechanisms for training of investigators on grant management procedures and guidelines, very limited systematic of identification and dissemination of research funding opportunities, very few faculty are trained on grant writing skills and no administrative support for investigators among others. This supplement request will be used to directly address these major gaps, initially to support the six universities in the MEPIN consortium within the one year duration of the grant. The specific objectives of this supplement to the University of Ibadan MEPI grant include establishment and coordination of network of six institutional research and innovation management (iRIM) offices in the six universities in the MEPIN consortium in Nigeria, development and/or strengthening of MEPIN university consortia members research administration offices, support for staffing, office renovation, infrastructure for computers and internet access, and modest operating costs for one year, training of MEPIN consortium member Research Administrators and Financial Specialists in research administration through regional designated IEARDA funded organizations and special faculty development programs to promote research effort in the MEPIN consortium universities. Development of comprehensive institutional research and innovation management (iRIM) offices in the MEPIN consortium universities will foster a sustainable research environment by developing the necessary research infrastructure and help to achieve the desired improvement of research funding and its management in Nigerian universities.

    Relevance: Establishment of administrative structures to deliver outstanding research support services and research training for staff in the MEPIN consortium will lead to the culture of high standard research performance in the institutions, promote research efforts, enhance the capacity of researchers in these institutions so that they may successfully compete for externally-funded grants and implement them with internationally acceptable practices.

    MEPI iRIM Supplement to Makerere University

    Abstract: Makerere University is partnering with 5 Ugandan Universities to improve medical education and research through the Medical Education for Equitable Services to all Ugandans (MESAU) consortium. The consortium will develop strengthened centralized institutional research and innovation management office (CIRIMO) at each institution through an iRIM supplement to the MEPI award 5R24TW008886. Our vision is "To be a leading consortium providing leadership in research and innovations management (RIM) in Africa". Project aims are: To develop:

    1. a strengthened CIRIMO at each institution
    2. a Ugandan network of CIRIMOs
    3. a cadre of competent professionals in research administration,
    4. assess progress of the CIRIMOs for sustainability and contribution to capacity building.

    Our work hinges on the principles of:

    1. collaboration across institutions,
    2. developing appropriate education and RIM interventions,
    3. learning from and supporting each other,
    4. leverage existing in-country and global resources,
    5. closing the human or other resource capacity gaps and
    6. institutional commitment to strengthening and sustaining CIRIMOs.

    Needs assessments will be done at each institution and determine capacity gaps to inform the planning process for development of 5 year strategic plans, work plans, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks to monitor progress. Each institution will review and strengthen finance, ethical and regulatory policies, guidelines, practices and controls with the aim of strengthening them to ensure best practices. Institutions will provide additional infrastructure, equipment and staff based on need and availability of resources. Two IEARDA programs in Uganda have experienced research administrators (RAs) who are also trainers in RIM. We shall collaborate with them together with Johns Hopkins University faculty in our planning meetings to serve as mentors and trainers. We aim to produce a cadre of competent professionals with career opportunities as RAs to facilitate research and researchers to flourish and ensure integrity in all aspects of the research enterprise. The MakCHS CIRIMO will enhance its capacity to serve as a national and regional resource center capable of supporting other institutions to develop their own capacities.

    Relevance: In order to reap maximum benefits from research investments it is critical that RIM capacity does not lag behind development of scientific capacity. This grant will enable the MESAU institutions to strengthen their RIM and play a greater role in generating knowledge to address priority health challenges and thereby enhance medical education and service delivery and contribute more meaningfully to national development. The researchers and their institutions will increasingly become key players in global health research.

    MEPI iRIM Supplement to University of Zimbabwe

    Abstract: This application for an Administrative Supplement for the Initiative on Research and Innovation Management (iRIM) will establish the Zimbabwe Initiative on Research and Innovation Management (ZIRIM) at the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) with outreach to other institutions in Zimbabwe. The UZCHS is a recipient of a MEPI Programmatic Award (NECTAR-Novel Education Clinical Trainees and Researchers program,) and two Linked Awards (a) CHRIS-Cerebrovascular, Heart failure, Rheumatic heart disease Interventions strategy and (b) IMHERZ-Improving Mental Health Education and Research in Zimbabwe.

    The proposed program places a priority on establishment of a centralized Research Management Office (RMO) which will provide the necessary platform for coordinating and supporting research and research capacity building in the College. This application for the supplement aims to accelerate and expand the organizational development of the RSC into a fully institutionalized central and effective RIM office. This will be achieved through the provisions of research management training, research compliance, and regulatory support and development of a comprehensive research governance framework. The improvement of the Information Technology Infrastructure within the college through the MEPI program has provided a platform for the development of a robust research information system and online training in research and research administration.

    The MEPI awards and other NIH and non-NIH research programs at the University have created a great need for a centralised institutional research and innovation management office. The MEPI award in collaboration with Wellcome Trust (Southern Africa Consortium for Research Excellence (SACORE)) grant have initiated the establishment of a research administration office, the Research Support Centre (RSC), and would like to enhance this to foster, stimulate, expand and sustain institutional capacity for research and innovation management at UZCHS through the following specific aims.

    The main aims of the ZIRIM program are:

    1. Establish a centralised Research Management Office (RMO) within the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences.
    2. Strengthen services of the Research Support Centre (RSC)
    3. Training and development of research administration courses
    4. Development of a research administration monitoring and evaluation system

    Relevance: Research administration has evolved through the years to be a significant contribution in the functioning of institutions. With the ever increasing demand for research and innovation, the regulatory and compliance requirements have become more complex. This has created the need for professional research administrators. It is against this background, that the UZCHS, through the MEPI and Wellcome Trust awards established a Research Support centre to coordinate all sponsored research support through a centralized institutional research and innovation office especially designed to strengthen research activities within the college and within other institutions in Zimbabwe. This application for the supplement aims to accelerate and expand the organizational development of the RSC into a fully institutionalized central and effective RIM office.

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