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Winners of health systems research essay competition announced

Seven young researchers under 30 – two men and five women -- have been chosen as winners of a competition seeking to identify the next generation of leaders in health systems research.

Organized under the auspices of the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, in partnership with the Global Forum for Health Systems Research and The Lancet, the competition attracted 129 entries from authors of 44 nationalities.

Winners are Bonventure Ameyo Masakhwe from Kenya, Margarita Bernales from Chile, Leanne Idzerda from Canada, Laurence Lannes from France, Long Qian from China, Amrit Virk from India and Edwin Wouters from Belgium.

The short (1500-word) essays reflected each author’s unique perspective on a particular aspect of health systems research, essentially one of the four sub-themes of the symposium: political economy of universal coverage, health system financing, scale-up of health services or knowledge translation.

PhD Fellowships in Malaria Research (Second round): For tropical disease researchers

The Malaria Capacity Development Consortium is seeking applications for the second round of the
PhD fellowship programme supported by the Wellcome Trust. This is open to African scientists
wishing to pursue a career in malaria research. There is 1 fellowship still available to develop a PhD
at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology ( The consortium
secretariat is based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The award consists of a four-year fellowship and will cover: stipend, tuition fees, the costs of up to one
year spent with a partner European University and up to £50,000 of research expenses for a project
that is related to the treatment or prevention of malaria.

Applicants must be African nationals, normally resident in a malaria endemic country of Africa and
have an intention to pursue a long-term career in malaria research or control. Candidates must have a

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) PhD fellowships in Lymphatic Filariasis

The Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNTD), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), is pleased to announce funding for six (6) PhD fellowships (University of Liverpool registered). Applications are invited from nationals of lymphatic filariasis (LF) endemic countries in the Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.
It is expected that during the fellowship period (between 2010-2014), students will develop skills to work in new and promising areas of research targeted at addressing key gaps in knowledge regarding the most effective means for achieving elimination of lymphatic filariasis by 2020.
The outcome of these studentships is to have trained individuals in endemic countries who can support national programmes to further enhance in-country knowledge and skills. On completing their studentships, the individuals return to their home institutes to add to the institutional and regional capacity.

New intiative boosts funding for research for neglected diseases in Africa

A group of European foundations have launched a new initiative to improve research into neglected tropical diseases in Africa.

The African Fellowship Programme on Neglected Tropical Diseases will fund projects for African scientists to carry out biomedical or public-health research into diseases such as schistosomiasis, the filariases, helminthes, Buruli ulcer, bacterial meningitis and viral diarrhoea.

"The idea is to build up a cadre of African researchers in the field and from there to try to build up research centres," says Sarah Lock, Commonwealth Programme Coordinator at the UK-based Nuffield Foundation, which has committed US$500,000 to the scheme so far.

The programme will award three-year fellowships of up to US$130,000 for the investigation of neglected diseases to African postdoctoral scientists and students completing their PhDs.

"As well as funding pure scientific research on how effective various drugs are, the idea is to see how best to get those drugs out to people — the delivery systems — why people are resistant to them, how you come to have a situation where drugs are free, or so cheap, but still not getting out to people — the public-health policy and social anthropology sides of things, as well as the pure science," Lock told SciDev.Net.

The organisers are hoping to appoint up to 20 fellows, who will receive training in key skills such as proposal writing and making presentations.

A mentorship programme will also provide fellows with up to US$15,000 to enable them to establish links with leading scientists, both African and non-African, in the field.

Lock says the researchers themselves and their departments will choose who is best to provide advice and guidance for their research. "The idea is that, as far as possible, this is African led."

Applications are open until 31 March. Shortlisted candidates will attend an international conference on neglected diseases, to be held in September in Bamako, Mali, where they will present their current work.

International experts will attend the event, and help judge the candidates. Fellowships will then be awarded between the end of 2008 and early 2009.

The scheme is the brainchild of the German-based Volkswagen Foundation and is based on consultations with African medical researchers. It is supported by the Nuffield Foundation, the Merieux Foundation of France and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal.

Online courses ; UNESCO Institute for Water Education

Registration for the UNESCO-IHE online courses is now open. Courses running in March 2008 include:

Ecological Sanitation;
Flood Modelling Management;
Integrated Coastal Zone Management;
Integrated River Basin Management;
Sanitation-related Urban Water Pollution;
Solid Wate Management and Engineering;
Water and Environmental Law & Policy;
Wetlands for Water Quality; and
Wetlands Management.

Course arre typically four months in duration and cost €550 (US$790).

Contact details
Click here for more information;

Doctors warned fatal malaria strain 'mistaken for more benign form'

A potentially fatal form of malaria is often mistaken for a less serious form of the disease, say researchers in Malaysia. They warn that doctors throughout South-East Asia must be more alert to the problem.

Writing in Clinical Infectious Diseases (15 January), Janet Cox-Singh and colleagues from the University of Sarawak, Malaysia, say patients infected with Plasmodium knowlesi — a form of the malaria parasite commonly found in macaque monkeys — are often mistakenly diagnosed as being infected with P. malariae, a benign form of the disease.....................

For further details, Visit

The IIED-nef Fellowship Programme

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and New Economics Foundation (nef) are launching a Fellowship Programme to bring new thinking to the challenges of applying economics to environment and development. The inaugural IIED-nef Fellowship prize will be awarded to an outstanding researcher through a competitive process .

The Fellowship will be full-time, for a duration of four months and the successful candidate will divide their time between IIED and nef. During this tenure, the Fellow will be expected to draw on and distil cutting edge theory and practice in their chosen area, facilitate a process of cross-fertilisation and learning between the two institutions, and formulate concrete proposals on directions for future research to make genuine progress in this vitally important area.

The Fellowship will culminate in a joint IIED-nef event, where key stakeholders will be invited to share in the results of this work, and contribute perspectives on the way ahead.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone to make a real contribution to both theory and practice: to both help frame the debate and chart the way forward, and to play a part in moving us from an unsustainable to a more sustainable economic system.

The application process

Our intention is to stimulate innovation and fresh-thinking. We invite proposals from interested and qualified researchers, setting out their understanding of the issues and clearly identifying the work they propose to pursue through the fellowship.

While we expect the successful candidate to have impressive academic credentials in economics, we will also be looking for the ability to bring insights from actual experience in government in designing and implementing public policy, or in the private sector in responding to and working to influence public policy, and/or from knowledge of other disciplines such as political science, sociology and psychology.

Reflecting the importance that we attach to this inaugural Fellowship award, the successful candidate will receive a bursary of up to £15,000 on successful completion of the four-month project.

Applications of not more than two sides of A4 and CVs to arrive no later than 1 March 2008

Please email

Or by post to: Dr. Camilla Toulmin, Director, IIED, 3 Endsleigh St., London WC1H 0DD.

Shortlisted candidates will be required to submit a full proposal.

IIED is an international independent policy research organisation founded in 1971. IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development at local, national, regional and global levels. In alliance with others we seek to help shape a future that ends global poverty and delivers and sustains efficient and equitable management of the world's natural resources.

nef is an independent ‘think-and-do’ tank that works to develop a new kind of economic understanding, integrating people's well-being with the well-being of the planet, in order to more effectively address the problems of sustainable development. nef staff have substantial experience in international finance and development, research management, programme and project design and management, debt, trade, policy formulation and dialogue, publicity and capacity building.

EDCTP GRANTS: Call for proposals on HIV treatment, and microbicides

Clinical trials, capacity building and networking for HIV/AIDS / microbicides in sub-Saharan Africa.

Call for proposal on HIV treatment

The objectives of this call are:
i. To support the conduct of clinical trials that evaluate second-line treatment strategies, with a focus on what products to switch to when changing from first to second-line treatment and when to switch.
ii. To improve Antiretroviral therapy (ART) in children, with a specific focus on using more optional combinations and product formulations with sub-studies in pharmacokinetics of drug combinations.

Available funds: € 6,500,000
Deadline of application: 1 April 2008

Call for proposal on HIV microbicides
The objectives of this call are to support the conduct of clinical studies on microbicides that will yield data on safety, surrogate end-points of biological activity and surrogate markers that might correlate with safety or efficacy. In addition, proposals that evaluate the effect of barriers, concurrent sexually transmitted infections, frequency of microbicide use and stage of menstrual cycle on safety and efficacy are invited. Innovative products or approaches are particularly encouraged.

Available funds: € 6,100,000
Deadline of application: 1 May 2008

Please consult the EDCTP website for more details on these calls for proposals on HIV/AIDS:

Contact details Further information available from Monday 3 December through Ilona van den Brink, tel. +31-6-20689948 or email


The Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program
was founded in 1993 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington,
D.C., in order to train women's human rights lawyers from Africa committed
to returning home to their countries to advance the status of women and
girls throughout their careers. The LAWA programme is inviting applications
for July 2008- August 2009 LAWA Fellowship Program; the deadline for
submissions is November 30, 2007.



The Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) based in Canada, invite letters of intent
from teams led or co-led by researchers from low- and middle income countries interested in conducting innovative projects exploring the linkages among economic globalisation, growth and HIV/AIDS along two themes:
Exploring how HIV/AIDS interacts with efforts to facilitate inclusive or
pro-poor growth strategies; and exploring the impacts of economic
globalisation and growth on vulnerability and resilience to HIV/AIDS. The
initial funding round will support up to five grants at a maximum of
Canadian$100,000 (approximately US$90,000) each for one- to two-year
projects. The application process is in two stages: letters of intent and
then full proposals. Letters of intent will undergo competitive peer review,
and successful applicants will be provided with Canadian$2,000 to support
development of the full proposal. Full proposals will undergo competitive
peer review. The deadline for application is 1 November 2007.

For more information visit:
The Health Economics And HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD)

Lancet editorial: 'Science at WHO and UNICEF: the corrosion of trust'

Hi Waysers, I received this recent analysis of topical health research issues. Please read and share your Comments.

Health research for development is dependent on cooperation and trust among international agencies, the health research community, publishers and other stakeholders. According to an editorial in this week's Lancet
[1], WHO and UNICEF are "appearing to manipulate science, breach trust... and reject accountability". They are "willing to play fast and loose with
scientific findings in order to further their own institutional

The charge is based on press releases from WHO and UNICEF, respectively, that pre-empted the publication of two important papers in the current issue of The Lancet.

The first Lancet paper, by Greg Fegan et al [2], reports the success of an expanded insecticide-treated bednet programme in Kenya: "The full paper reveals the strengths and limitations of the study, and provides important estimates of uncertainty. No such statistical caution was expressed in the WHO statement [3] about these data, released on Aug 16."

Furthermore, the editorial suggests a breach of trust by WHO: "In early August, the Kenyan team and WHO exchanged views about the results of this
trial 'on a confidential basis'. The investigators expected Ministry officials to disseminate their findings. But the scientific team planned
to remain silent until their data had acquired the 'legitimacy' of publication. They had WHO's agreement to do the same. But WHO broke its
promise. The agency released a confident press statement without even having the courtesy to inform the Kenyan scientists of their plans."

The second paper, by Chris Murray et al [4], reports a decrease in child mortality to 9.7 million deaths per year, but its sobering analysis concludes that 'globally, we are not doing a better job of reducing child mortality now than we were three decades ago", and predicts that by 2015, we shall have achieved only a 27% reduction in child mortality since 1990,
substantially less than the MDG4 target of 67%.

The Lancet says that on 4th September it had sent Murray's paper to UNICEF for its comments. Six days later, "UNICEF contacted selected journalists
about 'a major public health success'. For the first time UNICEF strongly publicised its claim that annual under-5 child deaths had fallen below 10 million." [5]

The Lancet concludes: "WHO and UNICEF are acting contrary to responsible scientific norms that one would have expected UN technical agencies to uphold. Worse, they risk inadvertently corroding their own long-term

This editorial raises a number of complex questions about communication and collaboration among stakeholders, and a more specific question about research communication: In what circumstances is it acceptable to publish a press release prior to a related scholarly publication?

The Lancet seems in no doubt: "When the data and their interpretation are more complex than a press release can convey, the sensible approach is to wait."

SOURCE: From Neil Pakenham-Walsh Co-moderator, HIF-net

[free access]

[free access]

[free access]


[free access]

[5] [free access]

Faculty for the Future program, Schlumberger Foundation

The goal of Faculty For The Future is to support role models and facilitate gender balance in science and engineering faculties at key universities in emerging economies.

Potential candidates would be typically finishing a Master’s or PhD program and may already be in junior faculty positions in their home country. They would be planning to pursue further study overseas, PhD or Post-Doc, to develop their academic careers with a view to teaching in their home countries.

As teachers, they will contribute to the ultimate vision of the program which is the attracting of more talented young women into science and engineering careers. For many women the biggest obstacle to overcome is obtaining funding to start their PhDs. This is why most of our Faculty for the Future grants focus on those critical first two years. After the first two years it is expected that the candidates will have proved their research worth and will have access to more conventional forms of funding or paid teaching assignments.

Candidates may come from a range of disciplines within engineering and the physical sciences[1]. The disciplines do not have to be directly relevant to the Schlumberger oilfield businesses as this is a long-term capacity-building initiative. [1] Awards in biological sciences are limited.

Contact details
Schlumberger in Nigeria is running in-country preselection processes. If you are from Nigeria, submit your application form by December 15 2007 to

All other candidates should apply directly to the Schlumberger Foundation,

For more information visit:
Click here for more information

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) : Call for proposals

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a partnership between 14 EU countries, Switzerland and Norway, and 47 African countries. It aims to join relevant European national research programmes and their African partnerships to develop new clinical tools against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is pleased to announce the following calls for proposals to apply for EDCTP grants:


Clinical trials, capacity building and networking in malaria vaccines development
Available funds: a minimum of € 14,500,000
Deadline for application: 19 November 2007

Clinical trials, capacity building and networking in malaria treatment
Available funds: a minimum of € 9,100,000
Deadline for application: 26 November 2007

Clinical trials, capacity building and networking in malaria in pregnancy
Available funds: a minimum of € 9,100,000
Deadline for application: 26 November 2007


Clinical trials, capacity building and networking in tuberculosis vaccines development Phase I, II and III
Available funds: a minimum of € 14,000,000
Deadline for application: 17 September 2007

Clinical trials on new drugs and improved drug combinations for the treatment of tuberculosis
Available funds: a minimum of € 9,000,000
Deadline for application: 5 November 2007

Cross cutting capacity building activities

Senior Fellowship
Available funds: € 1,200,000
Deadline for application: 12 November 2007

Establishment and strengthening of African National Ethics Committees or Institutional Review Boards
Available funds: € 450,000
Deadline for application: 05 November 2007

Establishment of regional networks of excellence for clinical trials and South-South mentorship programmes
Available funds: a minimum of € 10,000,000
Deadline for application: 03 December 2007

For more information about these calls and how to apply, please visit our website at

Contact details
EDCTP P.O. Box 93015 2509 AA The Hague The Netherlands email:


Young voices in research for health —Essay Competition Winners Announced

The Geneva-based Global Forum for Health Research and The Lancet today announce the winners of their second joint essay competition: Young Voices in Research for Health 2007.

The five winners are Seye Abimbola from Nigeria, Denise Nacif Pimenta from Brazil,
Lee Yung Wong from Malaysia, Laura Sikstrom from Canada and Zhang Lingling from the People's Republic of China.

The competition was open to young professionals (under 30) working on or interested in the broad spectrum of health research. The theme was ‘Equitable access: research challenges for health in developing countries.’

Twice the number of entries were received this year as for the first competition in 2006 and the quality on the whole was very high. The total number of entries was 289: 143 female, 146 male. Entries came from 60 different countries, from individuals of 64 nationalities. In regional terms – both by residence (105) and nationality (106) – the largest number of entries was from Africa.

Forty essays were shortlisted (see the list below) and will be published in an anthology to be launched at the Global Forum's 2007 meeting, Forum 11, in Beijing on 29 October.

For their prize, the winners will take part in Forum 11, whose overall theme was the title of the competition: ‘Equitable access: research challenges for health in developing countries.’ Forum 11 will take place in Beijing from 29 October to 2 November, at the invitation of the Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China.

The winning essays will also be published in The Lancet online.

Paper copies of Young Voices in Research for Health 2007 can be ordered free of charge from the Global Forum's website (for delivery in November) and the essays will also be available on line. A limited number of copies of the first collection of Young Voices in Research for Health are still available – order from the website.


For additional information, contact:

Susan Jupp, Head of External Relations, Global Forum for Health Research +41 22 791 3450

Sarah Ramsay, Executive Editor, The Lancet, +44 207 424 4941

The Global Forum for Health Research is an international nongovernmental organization, founded in 1998, whose mission is to focus research efforts on the health of the poor. It is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the governments of Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland and has an annual budget of US$ 4 million.

For The Lancet, an independent and authoritative voice in global medicine, see

The winners are:

Seye Abimbola, Nigeria, Of patents and patients

Denise Nacif Pimenta, Brazil, Can the 'North' learn from developing countries: question or affirmation?

Laura Sikstrom, Canada, "For the future for tomorrow": evidence-based research in food security interventions

Lee Yung Wong, Malaysia, The face of equitable access: going beyond health, to life for all

Zhang Lingling, PRC, Where have all the barefoot doctors gone in pursuing a more equitable new health care system in China?

Other shortlisted essays

Alisha Apale, Canada, Gospel from the ghetto: how will your notes help us?

Julio Armas, Cuba, Graying of the global South: claiming a right to age with dignity

Mildred Asiimwe, Uganda, Access to health information in developing countries: challenges and the way forward

Benjamin Terrycarson Baba, Nigeria, Equitable access: research challenges for health in developing countries

Sarah Barkley, Canada, Research: making the world more inequitable? Insights from the eyes of a novice

Rajaie Batniji, USA, The other 10-90 gap: lessons learned from non-communicable disease research

Amy Baughman, USA, A diamond in the rough: thoughts on million dollar biomedical malaria research in Mali

Michael Callaghan, Canada, The Geneva Project

Chen Mengru, PRC, Delivery in Shanghai: demands from and supplies to vulnerable rural immigrant women

Andrew Deonarine, Canada, The real 10/90 gap

Anoop Dhamangaonkar, India, Health research in developing countries: challenges and possible solutions for its improvement

Ahizechukwu Eke, Nigeria, Forging cultural links into health research: the 'C-A-R-E' model

Emily Esmaili, Iran-USA, Mountains, monsoons and modern medicine: barriers to healthcare research and access in Himalayan India

Dashiell Gantner, Australia, Health access inequities in post-Communist China

Asieh Golozar, Iran, Rural doctors, evidence-based medicine: the dilemma of best research evidence

Amy Gray, Australia, Equitable access to research capacity as a tool for health

Matthew Griffith, USA, Research: swimming against the current of the Amazon

Hanna Guimaraes, Portugal, Pain relief: equitable access for children

Amitha Kalaichandran, Canada, Pedagogy of the researched: inequity as an instrument for poor global health

Farrah Mateen, Canada, The international medical journal?

Leah Mwai, Kenya, Demystifying science in the developing world: how can scientists be agents of change?

Elisa Nabel, USA, Lessons from Caio: community implemented health research

Eunice Ndirangu, Kenya, Challenges for health research in developing countries: stereotypes and cultural issues

Pin-Quan Ng, Singapore, The fever at the bottom of the pyramid: towards private-sector and market-oriented solutions for the 10/90 gap

Ziad Obermeyer, USA, Closing the evidence gap for public health interventions in developing countries

Asmar Osman, Bangladesh, Access to public health centres for the common people in a developing country: a research challenge

Vesper Fe Marie Ramos, Philippines, I also have a dream: a young doctor's thoughts on health research in developing countries

Kingsley Ukwaja, Nigeria, Equitable access to maternal health: the role of social science research in developing countries

Rachel Wake, UK, What would Wilberforce think? Two hundred years on and the 'abolished' slave trade rages on unnoticed

Sarah Walpole, UK, Research is power

Russell Walther, USA, A novel economic approach to solving the 10/90 gap

Blessing Wazara, Zimbabwe, Mobilizing the intellectual capital of developing nations

Yohann White, Jamaica, Health looks better on paper

Eugene Yim, USA, Understanding the North Korean perspective: a unique role of research in improving humanitarian collaboration

Gelza Mae Zabat, Philippines, Health from the eyes of a citizen


Information technology company Microsoft will give technical assistance to enhance access to on-line research for scientists, policy-makers and librarians in the developing world.

This was announced at a meeting in Washington last week (10 July).

Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities met to officially extend their free access to peer-reviewed journals for many developing world scientists to 2015, in
line with the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

The United Nations' Technology Officer, Randy Ramusack, said the technical assistance will give policymakers and librarians from the developing world faster access to peer-reviewed science journals from three portals.

The portals HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative),
AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) and OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment) provide access to journals focusing on health, agriculture and the environment to more than 100 of the world's poorest countries.

"We consider this as [a] donation to a society that needs it most and as the initiative's only technology partner, Microsoft is providing a new system for access and authentication, enabling secure and effective use of
the programs in developing countries," said Ramusack.

Microsoft will provide new software called the Intelligent Application Gateway 2007 that will meet increased demand for access to heavily trafficked portals and perform at the standards of today's most heavily trafficked websites, said Ramusack. The system will also enhance security through authentication of users when they log on.

Professor Otieno Malo, the chairman of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences, said this will improve research capacity for institutions and researchers.

"[The new system] will greatly enhance scientific research collaborations between the developing and developed world scientists through research
works and even put us in touch with relevant institutions and researchers once we get their works online," he told SciDev.Net.

"HINARI-AGORA-OARE removes many of the barriers that we in the developing world have been facing in accessing published literature," said Mohamed Jalloh, consultant urologist at the Hôpital Général de Grand Yoff in
Dakar, Senegal.
"These programs have the great potential to improve health, education training and research in remote areas all around the world," he said.
"They have drastically improved the way we work at the hospital."

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 16 - 23 July 2007