Over the years, international agencies have dramatically increased their funding of research and training to deferent institutions in Uganda. However, it is observed that grants recipient institutions, individual researchers, students, and research administrators in Uganda have limited experience in electronic grant applications process, award management, fiscal accountability, and scientific reporting requirements for NIH and other international funding agencies. This situation is evident to most research and training institutions including Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC). It also noted that a lot is changing in regard to grants application guidelines and reporting regulations that require researchers informed at all times. This calls for strengthening of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at JCRC and other institutions in Uganda. The JCRC is a nonprofit making organization founded in 1991 as a joint venture of institutions that include Makerere University and the Uganda ministries of defense, health and education. JCRC works with many collaborators to provide research expertise and is an international center of excellence in research in Africa. The mission of JCRC is to conduct quality medical research and training, provide equitable and sustainable HIV/AIDS care and other health care services in Uganda and internationally. Today, the research environment at JCRC is rigorous and active with quality collaborative research projects addressing a broad range of research questions mainly in the fields of biomedical and social sciences. In order to respond well to different grants regulations JCRC established a standalone office of research. This was born out of the fact that a strong central oversight is needed to make sure that grants and other research activities comply to international funding agencies regulations and national guidelines. The required grants conformity on awarded institutions is ever-growing, and possible irregularities should be handled in a timely manner so as to avoid any potential problems. This adds to the usual assistance provided to researchers to identify grant opportunities, writing applications, submitting grant proposals, administer awards, and overseeing grants compliances. The goal of this International Extramural Research Development Award (EARDA) grant application is to develop cadres of research administrators that can address current and future NIH and other funding agencies'grants policies and procedures, and to strengthen the research and grant administrative infrastructure at JCRC and its affiliated institutions. Broadly, proposed program activities involve strengthening Office of Research and Development (ORD). Specific objectives for proposal are i). To strengthen the research training capacity and administrative infrastructure of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at Joint Clinical Research Centre ( JCRC) and the capability of its affiliated institutions. ii). To assist affiliated academic and research institutions in standardization and completing mandatory registration necessary for NIH electronic grant applications. iii). To foster and strengthen collaboration among social science, medical, clinical, and public health disciplines so that trainees can develop capacity to manage multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. iv). To strengthen the capacity of the office of research and development personnel to spearhead the translation of research findings into practice and policy advocacy thereby ensuring that evidence-based interventions from operational research are shared and implemented efficiently in order to improve health services, and v). To provide the JCRC International Extramural Associate (IEA) with training on NIH Grantsmanship so as to obtain knowledge and skills required to effectively administer NIH and other agencies awards. Activities involve completing Distance Learning modules by the IEA and prior to IEAs three-week residency training at NIH. Distance Learning modules will include introduction to the NIH, NIH terminology and funding mechanisms, role of NIH officials, receipt and referral of grant applications, peer review process, program funding cycle, grants management basics, use of animals in research, and use of human subjects in research. The residency at NIH and onsite visit by the NICH staff shall be followed by a baseline training needs assessment and consultative meetings with all partner institutions before confirming the structure development plan. The plan involves equipping office of research at JCRC, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Uganda Christian University Mukono. The JCRC research policy document shall be reviewed to match growing multidisciplinary and complex research projects in Uganda. Short training courses and seminars on: NIH focused grants writing and award management;Introduction to dissemination research and public engagement;Introduction to Research Ethics;How to utilize Facility based data for research and improving quality of service;and Training Trainers in NIH Grant Writing, submission and post Grant Award Management course.
The Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) is a nonprofit making organization founded in 1991 as a joint venture of institutions that include Makerere University and the Uganda ministries of Defense, Health and Education. The mission of JCRC is to conduct quality research and training, provide equitable and sustainable HIV/AIDS care and other health care services in Uganda and internationally. The current research environment at JCRC is rigorous with quality collaborative research projects on a wide range of research questions in the fields of biomedical and social sciences. In line with JCRC strategic plan, there is need to strengthen the capacity of JCRC and affiliated institutions to competitively write grant applications, submit them and manage awards from NIH and other international agencies. The goal of this International Extramural Associates Research Development Awards (IEARDA) application is to develop cadres of research administrators that can address current and future NIH and other funding agencies'grant policies and procedures, and to strengthen the research training and grant administrative infrastructure of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at JCRC and partner institutions. Partner institutions are;JCRC, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Uganda Christian University Mukono. The International Extramural Associate (IEA) for this grant application is Mr. Nelson Kakande who is a social scientist with a teaching profession background. Nelson has a Masters of Arts in Sociology of Makerere University Kampala with emphasis on medical sociology. Nelson is working with the JCRC as the program coordinator for NIH funded International Clinical Operational and Health Services Research Training award for AIDS and Tuberculosis (program (ICOHRTA AIDS/TB) program recently awarded re-entry grant (April 2009-March 2014). He has the required skills, interest, knowledge and access to suitable resources and critical networks to enable him function as the IEA for this IEARDA grant application. This IEARDA grant provides a chance for JCRC and its affiliate research institutions'staff and other researchers to acquire skills in Grantsmanship and to strengthen autonomous Offices of Research Development (ORDs) at participating institutions. The ORD at JCRC will eventually constitute a one-stop autonomous grants information, technical support and resource centre for investigators. The IEARDA program shall be implemented by a multidisciplinary team within the overall JCRC administrative framework where the ORD is directly under the Deputy Director Research, Clinical and Training. A program coordinator and administrative assistant will be recruited to form a secretariat. The secretariat for this program will document study activities, develop reports, organize meetings and conference calls, liaising with partner institutions, assisting tracking the outcomes and success of the project interventions and tracing the logistical aspects of the training. The program will have IEARDA Advisory committees that consist of heads of the institutions involved in the implementation and other members to be appointed on the team based on their expertise and experience. The roles of the committee will be to advise the Principal Investigator (PI), monitor implementation of activities, approve ORD sustainability plans, participate in annual review of the program and suggest desired adjustments to the work plan. The committee team shall participate in the overall program evaluation during the final year of the funding period. The program will involve long distance learning, three- week residency training at NIH for the IEA, consultative meeting with partner institutions heads, training needs assessment and developing training manuals. Seminars and workshops shall be organized to enhance specific skills and competencies of trainees in grant proposal writing, submit applications electronically, data management and scientific writing, research dissemination, fiscal accountability, procedures and policies;ethical review process, human subject protection, research compliance and reporting requirements of the NIH and other funding agencies. Training workshops proposed: Training Trainers in NIH focused grant writing, submission and award management, introduction to dissemination research and engaging the public in research, Introduction to research ethics course, and how to utilize health facility based data.