How can PhD research contribute to the global health research agenda?

Susan H Walker, Veronic Ouellette, Valéry Ridde
Canadian Journal of Public Health. Revue Canadienne de Santé Publique 2006, 97 (2): 145-8
We propose that PhD and post-doctoral researchers are a strong, untapped resource with the potential to make a real contribution to global health research (GHR). However, we raise some ethical, institutional and funding issues which either discourage new researchers from entering the field or diminish their capacity to contribute. We offer a number of recommendations to Canadian academic and non-academic institutions and funders, and aim to generate discussion among them about how to overcome these constraints. We need changes in the way graduate research is organized and funded, to create opportunities to work collaboratively within established low- and middle-income country (LMIC)/Canadian research partnerships. We urge changes in the way institutions fund, recognize, value and support GHR, so established researchers are encouraged to develop long-term LMIC relationships and mentor new Canadian/LMIC researchers. We ask funders to reconsider additional GHR activities for support, including strategic training initiatives and dissemination of research results. We also encourage the development of alternative institutions that can provide training and mentoring opportunities. GHR per se faces many challenges. If we address those that reduce our potential to contribute, we can become real partners in GHR, working towards equitable global health and solutions to priority health issues.

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