Research policy

Strengthening research capacity in small countries (Bhutan, Maldives and Timor Leste)

Strengthening research capacity in developing countries is one of the most powerful, cost-effective, and sustainable means of advancing health and development . In 1990, the Commission on Health Research for Development not only highlighted the need for more country-specific health research for developing countries, but also identified research capacity strengthening (RCS) as key to meeting national knowledge requirements and to ensuring contributions by developing countries to the global knowledge.

The need to develop a sound scientific research base to inform policy making and planning has also been well recognized by all Member states in South East Asia Region. Unfortunately, the level of research capacity in some countries of the Region is still limited.

31st and 32nd Sessions of the SEA ACHR made recommendation to strengthen research capacity in Bhutan, Maldives and Timor Leste and develop benchmark to measure the progress.

In collaboration with other agency and donors, major activities to be implemented, include:

  • Assist Member countries in developing detailed plan for health research capacity strengthening and priority research agenda in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including donors
  • Assist Member Countries in establishing a critical mass of researchers through recruiting and nurturing part-time researchers from academic institutions, health care insitutions or programme holders.
  • Support Member countries in strengthening all aspects of the research process (not just technical competence) including advocacy and promotion, priority setting, partnership development, facilitating the use of research results, networking and leadership.
  • Support Member countries in strengthening the “demand” for research by policy makers in the MOH, the public (community), civil society organization, the media, and the private sector and academic institutions.
  • Support Member countries in strengthening national health research networks and forums and enabling environment, all of which should lead to the long-term development of a research culture in Bhutan, Maldives and Timor Leste.

Indicators of the research capacity strengthening:

  • Number of training and workshop on research capacity building attended by researchers
  • Number of research conducted by the research institution
  • Number of dissemination workshops organized by the research institution
  • Evidence of infrastructure development of the research institution
  • Availability of annual planning and budgeting of the research institution
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