Strengthening research capacity

Institutional Support

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In 2009, a baseline needs assessment (BNA) of the institutional capacity of the MCDC partner African institutions to manage international quality doctoral programmes was made by a team led by Prof. Imelda Bates from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. This baseline assessment captured the situation regarding doctoral programmes in each institution at the start of the MCDC programme.

Recommendations were made about actions that could help each institution to manage sustainable, high quality doctoral programmes. The key common findings were the need :

  • to improve course documentation
  • to improve access to scientific resources
  • to expand and enhance supervisory skills
  • to provide formal induction and research skills courses for students
  • to monitor and actively manage student progression
  • to regularly review and enhance doctoral programmes

Subsequently, MCDC made available technical and financial support to overcome some of these obstacles. A follow-up exercise has been conducted with a team visiting each institution during August - October 2012 to review progress in meeting some of the needs identified in 2009 and to identify those that remain.  

Imelda Bates article for Assessing and Strengthening African Universities' Capacity for Doctoral Programmes is available here.

Further Support

Over the last year, MCDC has also worked with a number of partners to build sustainability into its programme of institutional support, using the considerable expertise within the consortium to develop and facilitate further training activities. These activities include

  • A final supervisors’ training workshop for post-graduate supervisors was hosted by KNUST, Ghana bringing the total number of supervisors to have attended an MCDC PhD supervisor training workshop to 100.
  • A “Training the Trainer” course for PhD supervisors hosted by UCAD, Senegal, which assisted attendees in developing a specific programme of support for post-graduate supervisors within their faculties.  
  • A two day mentor training workshop, developed and delivered by staff of MCDC, CoM and the Malawi-Liverpool Welcome Trust Clinical Research programme (MLW),  hosted in Malawi by CoM.
  • A two day mentee training workshop  held in partnership with  CoM, Malawi and the Southern African Consortium for Research Excellence (SACORE)
  • A number of PDP workshops to support the implementation of PDP for post-graduate students within the faculty.


Research Management Support Systems

A subsequent review of the Research Management Support Systems in our African Partner Institutions has been also undertaken by Prof Imelda Bates and her team at LSTM.  The aim is to identify any weakness or gaps in these areas that could be remedied during the last year of the MCDC programme. They conducted site visits to four African universities and here is the Final Overview Report for the Universities in Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Tanzania: January 2015- May 2016.





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