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How research consortia can contribute to improvements in PhD students’ research environment and progress in sub-Saharan African countries

El Hajj, Taghreed ORCID:, Wiltgen Georgi, Neele, Crossman, Susie, Tagoe, Nadia and Bates, Imelda ORCID: (2024) 'How research consortia can contribute to improvements in PhD students’ research environment and progress in sub-Saharan African countries'. F1000Research, Vol 13, e238.

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The Africa Capacity Building Initiative (ACBI) programme aimed to ‘strengthen the research and training capacity of higher education institutions and support the development of individual scientists in sub-Saharan Africa through UK-Africa research collaborations’ including by funding PhD studentships. We conducted research to understand students’ experiences and to see how consortia-based programmes such as ACBI and their own institutions can enhance PhD students’ research environment and progress.
In-depth interviews with 35 ACBI-funded PhD students explored their perspectives about how their research and personal development benefitted from belonging to a research consortium. Questionnaires were used to corroborate interview findings.
Students recognised that membership of a research consortium provided many benefits compared to less well-resourced peers. By drawing on the programme and consortiums’ resources, they were often able to overcome some limitations in their own institution’s systems and facilities. Through their consortia they could access a wide range of international expertise and support from mentors and colleagues for their technical and psychosocial needs. Multiple consortia opportunities for engaging with the international scientific community and for networking, gave them confidence and motivation and enhanced their career prospects.
Our study and its recommendations highlight how the breadth and diversity of resources available to PhD students through research consortia can be harnessed to facilitate students’ progress and to create a supportive and conducive research environment. It also underlines how, through a multi-level approach, consortia can contribute to longer-term improvements in institutional research environments for PhD students.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 20.5 Biomedical research
W General Medicine. Health Professions > Professional practice > W88 Administrative work. Teaching. Research
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2024 12:31
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 12:31


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