The Malaria Capacity Development Consortium (MCDC) has been working with their African partner institutions since 2009 to support the career development of their researchers. The key strategies employed have been Personal Development Planning (PDP) and formal mentoring. MCDC has also supported the development of postgraduate supervisors as part of its aim of strengthening the management of doctoral programmes within these institutions. These strategies are now increasingly included in faculty activities and programmes, but using Career Development Groups (CDGs) to facilitate a structured and supported approach will assist with their integration into institutional processes and practices; and help them become sustainable beyond the MCDC and other programme lifespans.
The aim of the CDGs is to develop and integrate needs-specific career development support and training for researchers within the MCDC African partner institutions.
In addition, the group working approach aims to build capacity within the institution that promotes sustainable and institutionally-led (as opposed to programme-led) provision of researcher career development support and training.
The Project Team
The project team is composed of the MCDC Educational Advisor and a career development group from each of the MCDC African partner partner institutions and MCDC affiliated institution.
Each Career Development Group comprises of a lead for each of the career development areas (Personal Development Planning, Mentoring and Postgraduate Supervision). These individuals coordinate working groups across their institutions for each of these specialist areas. A Head of Career Development provides overall leadership for the groups, ensures that an institutional strategy for the career development and training of researchers is developed, and plays a key role in the strategic advancement of career development for researchers within the institution.
The MCDC Educational Adviser is facilitating the overall project, supporting each partner institution to develop project plans and providing expertise with the implementing, monitoring and evaluation of these plans. MCDC provides a budget to each Career Development Group to support this work, but it is envisaged that this is only an initial outlay and that ongoing work will be low-cost and met by funds held at each partner institution. MCDC will also co-ordinate two annual meetings to bring together all of the Career Development Groups from across the partnership, to allow them to share resources, experiences and learn from one another.