Call for applications: Research Leadership Development Training Grants

The UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) invites applications for the award of up to 10 grants in post-graduate training in health research in an academic institution in disease endemic countries. Particular attention will be paid to applications from the following: Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as defined by the United Nations; female applicants; applications proposing a local study programme; and Social science applications to health research.

This is a new type of TDR grant that replaces the Research Training Grants (RTG). While the focus of the training and development is the individual grantee, this new approach makes provision for development opportunities for the grantee's home institutions in order to make improvements to research practices at the institution. Various training technologies will be utilized, including mentorship at different stages of development, and learning contracts.
TDR launched a new strategy in June, 2007, with a vision to foster “an effective global research effort on infectious diseases of poverty in which disease endemic countries play a pivotal role." TDR’s new vision is realized through a three-pronged strategy: stewardship, empowerment, and research on neglected diseases. DECs should have a prominent role in setting research priorities that are responsive to the need of, and ensure relevance to, sustainable and optimal health impact for the poor. Stewardship provides a collaborative framework and information service for research partners, and empowerment ensures that scientists and public health professionals from DECs can become prominent leaders who initiate and lead research activities.
Description of the grant scheme
TDR Empowerment (also called Business Line 2) envisions a comprehensive, sustainable research capacity development programme. Both individual researchers and their home institutions are supported collectively. With the active engagement of the host academic institutes, the trainees are encouraged to develop into future research leaders and partners in capacity building for health research in DECs. TDR is particularly looking to strengthen capacity in applying social sciences in health research. For this year, only applications for doctorate studies will be considered.
The grant provides the following opportunities:
  1. Individual post-graduate training in health research. TDR is looking to develop a group of young scientists from DECs who will become leaders in their fields of study, and in initiating research projects that are relevant to their countries. This group of young scientists will be expected to strive for relevance, excellence and high standards of ethics in conducting health research for DECs.
  2. Relevant capacity development at the home institute and/or academic institute can be considered for optimal training of grantee.
The longer term outcome of the programme is enhanced DEC leadership and capacity, at individual as well as institutional levels, in relevant technical and research management. The programme expects the trained individuals and their institutions to play pivotal, leadership roles in conceptualizing and prioritizing research needs, harnessing resources to respond to needs, maintaining contacts with key stakeholders for research and capacity needs, and communicating the research results to the public. The home institution and the individual should garner a strong presence in the research community in the region, and ultimately become a resource for such leadership training in the region. The individual scientists who are trained by this grant should serve as the focal points in each of the institutes, and will be continuously supported and developed by TDR to become leaders, to take leading roles in initiating relevant research for their countries and region.
Eligibility criteria
Applicants must:
  1. Be a national of disease endemic countries, usually not more than 35 years of age on the month of application;
  2. Been working for the last 12 months in a national institute that has a research element in a disease endemic country, and is committed to work with the institute for a minimum of five years after completion of the study;
  3. Propose a study topic and a study plan that is relevant to the needs of DEC, of TDR Business Lines (BLs) and diseases, and to the proposed research;
  4. Demonstrate interest and potential for leadership and innovation.
Institutions must:
  1. Be a national, or a not-for-profit, institution in a DEC with an element of health research on TDR-relevant issues and diseases;
  2. Allow the applicant to be trained in a post-graduate programme for up to three years;
  3. Support the research proposal of the individual and develop an institutional research plan in the proposed area.Two letters of reference scanned and attached to the application.
Selection criteria
Applications will be judged based on four elements which are equally important:
  1. The applicants:
    - Excellent track record, as a researcher as well as principled public health professional
    - Conceptual and management capacities
    - Potential for leadership development in own field of research
  2. The institution:
    - Excellent track record as a national institution, with an element of research in TDR’s issues and diseases.
    - Strong commitment to support the individual applicant, and the study plan proposed by the individual applicant
    - Potential for leadership capacity development, and support from leadership at higher levels for such development
  3. The study plan:
    - Coherent with, and supporting of, the proposed research
    - Showing linkages between individual and home institution development
  4. The proposed research will be judged according to the following criteria:
    - Excellence (feasibility, impact, innovativeness, scientific and research logic, and quality of the proposal)
    - Compliant with international standards of research, Good Clinical Practice, ethics, and safety-related issue
    - TDR relevance (conformance to TDR issues and diseases, public health relevance, and pertinent to the needs in the region.)
    - Whether the proposed research experience will fulfill the applicant's development needs
    - Potential of serving as platform for leadership and capacity development in the region
    - Physical environment appropriate for the proposed research (lab space, available technology, computer time, etc.)
Priorities for selection
  • Applications from LDCs
  • Women
  • Study plans that propose training in own country or region
  • Social science applications to health research
Selection process
All applications that are submitted before the deadline will be checked against eligibility criteria by TDR. All eligible applications are then forwarded to two members of the Training Steering Committee (TSC) for review. TDR may seek external reviewers if there is no expertise within the Committee. These reviewers submit their reviews to TDR for short listing of qualified applications. TDR representatives then make a visit to evaluate the institute against institutional eligibility criteria, as well as evaluating the applicants’ potential for development, and make recommendations to TSC, which meets in November. TSC reviews the evaluation on individual applicants made by the reviewers, and the recommendations about institutions and applicants made by the site visit, and makes recommendations to TDR Director for approval of grants.
Terms and conditions for applications
To apply for this grant, follow the Instructions for Applications when completing the application form. Two referees are required for each application. Applicants from countries requiring national endorsement should submit their application through proper government channels. All applicants should send a copy of their application to the WHO Representative's Office in their home country for information purposes.
Important notes
All applications must be received by 15 June 2008 only by email at
. Email subject line must include "LTG . Read and carefully follow instructions in each item on the application form. In addition, pages 1, and 12 (with original signatures) should be mailed to:
TDR, World Health Organization, CH - 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
Fax copies are not accepted. Read and carefully follow instructions in each item. Late and incomplete applications will not be processed. Applicants from countries requiring national endorsement should submit their application through proper channels. All candidates should send a copy of their application to the WHO Representative's Office in their home country for information purpose. For further information, please contact Dr Valaikanya Plasai at:
For further information, please contact Dr Valaikanya Plasai at:
Dr Valaikanya Plasai, Training Manager (a.i), EmpowermentSpecial Programme for Research andTraining in Tropical Diseases (TDR)World Health Organization1211 Geneva 27SwitzerlandTel: +41 22 791 2170Fax: + 41 22 791 4774



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Call for applications: Research Leadership Development Training Grants
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