Ripple effects of research capacity strengthening: a study of the effects of a project to support test facilities in three African countries towards Good Laboratory Practice certification

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Gates Open Research
Background: Strengthening capacity for public health research is essential to the generation of high-quality, reliable scientific data. This study focuses on a research capacity strengthening project supporting seven test facilities in Africa conducting studies on mosquito vector control products towards Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) certification. It captures the primary effects of the project on each facility’s research capacity, the secondary effects at the individual and institutional level, and the ripple effects that extend beyond the research system. The relationships between effects at different levels are identified and compared to an existing framework for the evaluation of research capacity strengthening initiatives. Methods: To capture the views of individuals engaged in the project at all levels within each facility, a maximum-variation purposive sampling strategy was used. This allowed triangulation between different data sources. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals in three facilities and a combination of email and remote video-call interviews were conducted with individuals at two further facilities. Results: We found that, despite a focus of the GLP certification project at the institutional level, the project had effects also at individual (including enhanced motivation, furtherment of careers) and national/international levels (including development of regional expertise). In addition, we detected ripple effects of the project which extended beyond the research system. Conclusion: This study shows that research capacity strengthening interventions that are focussed on institutional level goals require actions also at individual and national/international levels. The effects of engagement at all three levels can be amplified by collaborative actions at the national/international level. These findings show that research capacity strengthening projects must develop plans that address and evaluate impact at all three levels. Capturing the ripple effects of investment in research capacity strengthening should also be planned for from the beginning of projects to support further engagement of all stakeholders.
Laboratory, research capacity strengthening, good laboratory practice, insecticide, test facility, quality management system, quality management systems, Burkina Faso, Université Nazi Boni, CEA-ITECH_MTV, ACE: Bio-technological Innovation for the Elimination of Vector- Borne Diseases, Diabate Abdoulaye, William Kisinza