Building research capacity and capabilities in Fiji: are we there yet? Building research capacity in Fiji

Main Article Content

Jyotishna Mudaliar
Bridget Kool
Janice Natasha
Judith McCool

Keywords

research capacity building activities; health sciences; low and middle-income countries; Fiji

Abstract

Introduction: A barrier to local investigator-led research in low income settings, is the limited availability of personnel with appropriate research skills or qualifications to conduct the type of research required for evidence-informed policy making to improve access and quality of health care. In response to this, Fiji National University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in Fiji, collaborated with academics based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand to deliver a series of research capacity development workshops in Fiji.


Methods: Participants who attended any of the nine workshops (n=123) were contacted via email to take part in a brief survey regarding their perceptions of the effectiveness of the research capacity building workshops. Of the possible 123 participants, 80% (n=76) completed the questionnaire. 


Results: Findings demonstrate that the majority of participants reported that they had gained research skills from the workshops (75%) including proposal development skills (68%) and knowledge of appropriate research methods (59%). Furthermore, 70% agreed that the workshops built their research confidence.  Since attending a workshop, 18% of respondents had successfully applied and received funding for research grants and/or fellowships.  Barriers to conduct research included workload (75%), lack of research knowledge, experience or skills (51%), and lack of institutional support (41%). Suggestions for future workshops included: more focus on data analysis, regular courses rather than ‘one offs’, and preparation of research findings (e.g. publications).


Conclusion: Our findings indicate that research workshops of this nature may increase individual research capabilities but sustained, locally led initiatives, backed by institutional and supplementary technical support are essential.

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