Increasing the research capacity of scientists from developing countries

by IP Australia

(Government)

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An aid for trade-funded initiative to drive the development of research and development capacity to fight neglected tropical diseases in developing countries.

Project implemented: 2013 - to current

Project goal

Increase the research capacity of scientists from developing countries to reduce the prevalence of neglected tropical disease

delivering on

why is this project important?

Australia is taking an international leadership role by directing aid for trade funding to improve health outcomes in developing countries.

Key steps to make it happen

1Strategic partnerships

Partnering with public and private sector institutions to share their research and IP knowledge and support the scientists.

2Target skilled researcher

Target research institutions in developing countries that could benefit from their scientists being placed overseas.

impact to date

20 researchers who were placed in research institutions
The number of skilled scientists from developing countries who were placed in public and private sector research and development institutions.

Case study: Tahmina Ahmed is scientist from the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, who was placed at the University of Melbourne in Australia who is researching resistance to anti-malaria drugs, particularly for one of the deadliest parasites that causes malaria in highly endemic regions, Plasmodium falciparum. At the University of Melbourne, Ms Ahmed was provided with lab space and supervision. The host scientist, Dr Leanne Tilley provided mentoring support to the researcher and assisted with her scientific development, both in technical skills and career development skills. Ms Ahmed’s research was focussed on new treatment and contorl strategies for this specific parasite. Reflecting upon her research sabbatical, Ms Ahmed commented, "The fellowship has given me an international platform, where I had the opportunity to meet and to create new collaborations. I am hopeful to have my own research team to work on drug resistance mechanisms".

The Australian Government has directed aid for trade funding to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Re:Search initiative; a consortium launched by WIPO and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), pharmaceutical companies and university research and development (R&D) labs to fight neglected tropical diseases in developing countries, including malaria and tuberculosis.

 

Funding has enabled researchers from developing countries – such as Bangladesh, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia and South Africa – to be placed in world class research institutions in Australia, the United States, and Switzerland for up to 12 months.

 

This funding has been targeted to scientists from developing countries, as developing countries are disproportionately affected by tropical diseases, yet have limited capacity to fight these diseases.

This has allowed these skilled scientists – known as WIPO Re:Search Fellows – to improve their research skills, advance their research programs, develop a strong network of collaborators across the global and raise their profile within the global R&D ecosystem.

Researchers were also able to access IP assets to at the host institution, highlighting how IP can be used to facilitate and maximise knowledge and technology transfer.

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