Research is an indispensible part of academia and scholarship for the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS). Strengthening research is therefore an institutional obligation to which the college is fully committed. Criticalis development of highly skilled and motivated researchers backstopped by an effective research support base. Lack of an institutional research support structure has been recognized as a major barrier towards sustainable research capacity development in the college. This has become more evident as internationalization of research has increased competition for the limited pool of research funding. To effectively compete for funding and ensure quality research, the UZCHS needs to develop its research administration that will provide the base good grant management and support to researchers and students, ensuring the regeneration of research capacity. The proposed Institutional Research Administration Capacity Building (IRAC) Plan places priority on developing research administration capacity as a pre-requisite for broader research skills building and support for the research enterprise. This will be achieved primarily through the strengthening of a Research Support Centre (RSC) through training of the Extramural Associate and other RSC and departmental support staff in research and grants administration. The plan also includes the training and support for researchers and students to enhance awareness and appreciation of research, generate research interest in students and junior faculty, and develop requisite skills for grant application and conduct of research. The RSC will coordinate the various activities that will range from grant administration through clinical trials support, research training courses, data management and research information services. The UZCHS has committed to ensuring synergies of the proposed project with other research and capacity building initiatives in the college. The main objectives of the IRAC are to: Strengthen research administration through distance and residency training at NIH and other funding and research institutions;Strengthen grants administration through targeted training of RSC and other staff in the college;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 research administration. These objectives will be achieved through a variety of interlinked and synergistic activities that involve training, technicl support and provision of the necessary equipment. The IRAC is for a period of five years and is estimated to cost about $235,000.00.
Developing research administration capacity is critical for effective and sustainable overall research capacity building in the UZCHS. The capacity building will enable the college to create a culture of research underpinned by effective and efficient utilization of its human and material resources that will facilitate and sustain indigenous scientiic leadership that conducts nationally relevant research. This is imperative with the ever increasing shift by funding agencies from targeting individuals to rely more on institutional accountability o research funds.
|Mashaah, Thokozile; Hakim, James; Chidzonga, Midion et al. (2014) Strengthening research governance for sustainable research: experiences from three Zimbabwean universities. Acad Med 89:S69-72|