Lack of an enabling legal framework, poor quality of secondary-school education, an absence of research leaders and role models, and the relatively low priority attached to research are all frequently cited as barriers to research capacity development in developing countries as a whole, and Africa in particular (Whitworth et al 2008). Studies have noted that previous research capacity strengthening interventions have largely focused on knowledge generation, and less attention has been paid to the dissemination and communication of research (Jones et al 2007).
Recommendations for future research capacity interventions broadly address the need for the following:
- Sustainability: Programmes need to be developed in collaboration with national authorities, address the specific needs of each country and be tailored to existing research capacity.
- Reciprocal partnerships: Partnership programmes should explicitly benefit both institutions in the South and North, including cost coverage, and there should be reciprocity in student and staff exchanges.
- Long-term engagement: Sida’s long-term engagement with building sustainable research environments is frequently applauded in the literature.
- Impact: There is a need to focus on developing capacity for research that is nationally policy-relevant (Jones et al 2007).