Faculty and staff at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) are working together to develop the Office of Research Management and Innovation (ORMI) at KCMC, one of DGHI’s key partners.
Scientific research capacity at KCMC has been strengthened over the years through research and research training programs. However, due to lack of resources, little attention has been devoted to research administration and management—and without a robust management system, research productivity and maintenance can suffer.
DGHI and KCMC team developing the Office of Research Management and Innovation at KCMC. Photo was taken during the KCMC staff visit to Duke in October 2014.
U.S. GOVERNMENT FUNDING IS MAKING THE ORMI POSSIBLE
In 2014, KCMC received supplemental funding through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative, administered by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, to develop a more sustainable research environment. To achieve this long-term goal, the KCMC leadership sought to create an office of research management and innovation and establish a training function in that office with assistance from DGHI.
Ahaz Kulanga, KCMC’s deputy provost for administration, recently traveled to Duke to work on this project. Kulanga noted, “Coordination of research at KCMC has been scattered, leading to the drainage of KCMC’s meager resources. The streamlined processes we’re developing through this new office will ultimately enhance the research of our faculty and students.”
NEW OFFICE WILL PROVIDE MUCH-NEEDED SUPPORT TO TANZANIAN RESEARCHERS
Establishing research management capacity is critical to the continued success of KCMC researchers and their collaborators in pursuing, securing and sustaining grant funding. Without these systems and expertise, researchers would have to take on administrative responsibilities that pull them away from their research. This burden negatively affects their ability to seek more funding, which in turn stagnates their career development.
The ORMI will support compliance to sponsored programs at KCMC, with a special emphasis on pre- and post-award compliance. The office will also coordinate the training of research administrators, researchers and their staff in all aspects of research management, including financial management and research ethics.
TRAINING AND CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION ARE THE CORNERSTONES OF THE PROJECT
In collaboration with an external consultant, the DGHI research administration staff has been using a train-the-trainer model to support KCMC in developing training capacity in this new office.
Through the training, KCMC research administrators are developing competencies in the administration and management of sponsored projects, with specific emphasis on U.S. federal agencies. The training and development section of the office will also provide continuing professional education.
TRAINING HAS INCLUDED A CONFERENCE AND ONGOING CONSULTANCY
The first training activity the KCMC research staff participated in was the pre-conference training workshops at the Society of Research Administrators (SRA) meeting in San Diego last October, where they received certificates in key principles of research administration and management.
After the SRA meeting, the team traveled to Durham to meet with leaders from Duke’s research support and administration offices to review research administration systems. The team also reviewed Duke’s Research Administration Academy (RAA), an online resource designed to provide grant managers with basic knowledge of research administration and hands-on training in common grant management tasks.
The consultant has been working with KCMC trainees—the future trainers—to develop and customize a curriculum to suit the KCMC environment using the RAA platform.
The project is scheduled to be completed this summer with an official launch of the ORMI in the fall.
Chris Tobias, DGHI’s associate director for administration and finance, noted that KCMC has been working on developing research administration capacity for many years through their research and training partnerships with U.S. universities, but this project is enabling them to take the logical next step of formalizing and institutionalizing these functions. “We’re happy to support KCMC in this endeavor,” Tobias said, “and we look forward to partnering with KCMC for many years to come.”