Rwanda's strategic vision includes improving the people's health by becoming a regional center of excellence in performing high-quality biomedical research to inform evidence-based policy and program decision-making. In pursuit of this mission, the University of Rwanda (UR) has partnered with Albert Einstein College of Medicine to develop high quality research infrastructure and develop capacity in individual investigators both to become scientifically productive researchers and to be able to independently apply for, obtain and manage external grant funding. The two institutions have collaborated successfully in obtaining large multi-year research funding, including the International Epidemiologic Database to Evaluate AIDS and the HIV/HPV Malignancy Research Consortium to develop research and scientific capacity in Rwanda. Critical to the development of individual investigators' ability to obtain independent grant funding is the support of an institution's dedicated research office in all components of grant-funded research. The 2014 assessment of research capacity needs at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) highlighted several gaps, including the need to improve institutional and faculty capacity in several areas related to effective implementation of research activities, compliance requirements and management of research funding. To address these gaps, UR-CMHS and Einstein will, through this grant, develop a sustainable research administrative capacity through a dedicated research office to facilitate research activities at all phases of the grant cycle including pre-award and post award processes, ensuring research integrity, financial oversight, regulatory compliance, management and accounting for revenue, through three specific aims: 1.) develop leadership in research administration, 2.) enhance UR-CMHS capacity in administrative research support infrastructure, and 3.) develop UR-CMHS to serve as a grant resource center hub in Rwanda.
The aims of this application will lead to an effective centralized administrative structure to facilitate the implementation of Einstein and URs funded joint research activities as well as the capacity of a robust and dedicated Grants and Research Support and Training Center (GRSTC) at UR-CMHS.
Biomedical and implementation research are necessary to guide public policy to improve the public's health. Performing high-quality research is markedly facilitated by institutional capacity in all phases of grant-funded research. Through this application we propose to develop the University of Rwanda's dedicated research office to contribute directly the country's vision of developing strong biomedical research to inform public policy as well as attain its goal of becoming a regional hub for excellence in public health research.