Presidential address: the role of research networks in tackling major challenges in international health.

Dockrell, HM; (2010) Presidential address: the role of research networks in tackling major challenges in international health. International health, 2 (3). pp. 181-5. ISSN 1876-3413 DOI:

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One pressing challenge in the fields of international health and tropical medicine is how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Changes in how research is conducted are, however, contributing to progress in reaching these targets. Increasingly researchers from different institutions, countries and even continents are working together through research consortia. These consortia can be focused around research questions such as developing new TB vaccines, designed to deliver capacity building, promote advocacy, or to maintain efforts directed at threatened research areas such as leprosy research. Researchers connected through consortia can provide robust answers to research questions, removing duplication of effort, within a stimulating environment for discussion and development of research ideas. Another advantage is that south-south research links may be strengthened, which is of increasing relevance as the balance of power and money is moving south, providing new opportunities for the African continent. However, there are disadvantages as well as advantages to consortia. Having too many connections can immobilise researchers in a web of meetings, teleconferences, and reports, reducing the time for original innovative ideas. Learned societies, such as the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene provide their own networks and connections and allow the bigger issues of international health and development to be discussed in a multidisciplinary environment.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Academic Services & Administration > Academic Administration
PubMed ID: 24037698
Web of Science ID: 208481500005


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