The College of Medicine (CoM) considers research an essential component of its medical education programme. Strengthening research is therefore an institutional obligation to ensure that adequate policies, infrastructure and human and financial resources are availed to faculty so that they conduct the research. It is critical that the research conducted is indigenously generated to ensure relevance to the health problems of the country. However, acquiring international funding is a highly competitive process hence the need to develop local research capacity to levels that allow Malawian scientists to develop proposals of international standard to attract funds, and be able to conduct high quality and world class research. The CoM places priority on developing research through various strategies including developing individual skills as well as establishing an enabling research environment in which the skilled researchers can operate. The latter is considered essential for overall research capability strengthening hence the establishment of the Research Support Centre (RSC) in 2006. The RSC was established to provide research support services ranging from clinical trials support, research training courses, data management and research information services. These services are still in their infancy but the benefits are already being felt. The CoM is therefore applying for the IEARDA (G11) to strengthen research and grants administration (RGA) with the long term goal of realizing scientific growth through effective coordination of research activities. The main objectives of the infrastructure development plan for RGA are to: ?Strengthen grants administration through distance and residency training at NIH and other funding and research institutions. ?Strengthening the research information system at RSC to ensure effective identification of funding and training opportunities, timely provision and easy access to relevant research information. Enhancing the research knowledge and skills, especially of junior scientists through appropriate short research training course (grant writing, research methods, data management etc) thereby enhancing ability to develop good quality proposals and employ good research practices in implementing their projects. ?Strengthening the research governance framework in order to engender a culture of research. ?Providing data management and clinical trial support services ?Reaching out to other organizations for establishment of networks of excellence in RGA. These objectives will be achieved through a variety of activities that involve training, technical support and provision of the necessary equipment. The infrastructure development is for a period of five years and is estimated to cost about $150, 000.00.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Extramural Associate Research Development Award (EARDA) (G11)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-M (31))
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James, Regina Smith
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University of Malawi
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