Funding available

There is one area of health research where you don’t have to fight for funding.

As Dr Roger Glass, chair of the session on Implementation/Operational Research held on the second day of the meeting, said, ″When have you ever attended a conference where you have three organisations saying there is funding available [for research]?″

So, people interested in conducting operational or implementation research (or as the World Bank calls it: impact evaluation), put in that proposal now to The Global Fund, the World Bank and USAID.

And the best part is, all three groups encourage incorporation of training schemes for local personnel in the field in the proposal for funding, so that meets capacity building agendas as well. This is especially important as most of the ground personnel are usually community workers, and not trained researchers.

However, participants who regularly work on the ground brought up the very relevant fact that although the funding bodies say there is flexibility in funding to include operational research, the reality is many people on the ground are either not aware of this flexibility or those in charge of the funds are not themselves that flexible.

Another interesting observation brought up was the continued usage of paper and pen in conducting surveys when most field workers would have a ″pocket computer″ with them in the form of their mobile phone. Time to bring surveying techniques into the 21st century?

Shiow Chin Tan, SciDev.Net

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