Multi-Million Rand Research Award to College of Health Sciences
UKZN’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) has been awarded a R45 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Developing Research Innovation, Localisation and Leadership in South Africa (DRILL).
The award will fund the implementation of a five-year multidisciplinary international research training programme for junior faculty members, under the auspices of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative 2 (MEPI2).
Led by Programme Director, Professor Jonathan Burns, who is the current HOD of Psychiatry at UKZN, research will be conducted in the fields of HIV and AIDS, Mental Health, Health Professions’ Education and Health Systems Research.
Trainees need to have an appointment within the CHS, a desire to pursue research as part of their professional careers and have already demonstrated some commitment to research as part of their career development.
Said Burns: ‘The trainees can be from any discipline which contributes to improved human health within their country and have a desire to build research leadership. They must also be committed to the development of the reformed health professional training located outside the metropolitan areas in KwaZulu-Natal.’
The grant will fund the training of 20 junior researchers with the aim of producing world-class scientists who will lead and direct research programmes designed around real world problems outside the Metropolitan areas and who will inspire and support others to follow their paths and build communities of practice. All 20 trainees will be retained within UKZN after graduation.
Principal Investigator, Dr Mosa Moshabela, who will lead the project’s HIV and AIDS research area, said: ‘The junior faculty research training programme is founded on the joint mission of the University and the Department of Health to establish a new generation of faculty members suited to deliver, support and lead the reformed health professional training and development located outside of the metropolitan areas in KwaZulu-Natal. We look forward to being responsive to health priorities through research that is underpinned by the philosophy of social accountability.’
Other Principal Investigators of the project include Professor Fatima Suleman of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who will lead the research area of Health Systems, and Professor Petra Bryciewicz of the Discipline of Nursing, who will lead the area of Health Professions’ Education, while a new research training programme covering areas of ethics, scientific writing and data analysis, will be developed by Professor Douglas Wassenaar of the UKZN Biomedical Research Ethics Committee.
Other PI’s of the project include Professor Fatima Suleman from the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences who will lead the research area of Health Systems. Professor Petra Bryciewicz from the Discipline of Nursing who will lead the area of Health Professions’ Education while a new research training programme covering areas of research ethics, scientific writing, grant writing and data analysis, will be developed by Professor Douglas Wassenaar, PI of the NIH-funded SARETI research ethics Masters programme in the School of Applied Human Sciences (Pmb) in the College of Humanities.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS, Professor Rob Slotow, thanked the NIH for the grant saying: ‘We seek to be locally relevant but globally competitive, scientifically robust and effective, to be scalable and expandable, and to have an impact beyond the trainees and the training institutions.’