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Can J Public Health. 2012 Mar-Apr;103(2):128-31.

Supporting southern-led research: implications for North-South research partnerships.

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School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.



Global health research partnerships are commonly led by Northern investigators who come from resource-rich research environments, while Southern partners participate with a paucity of research skills and resources. This power asymmetry within North-South research partnerships may further exacerbate the unequal distribution of benefits from the research process.


This study is designed to present the benefits and challenges of engaging in the research process from the perspective of The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), an HIV/AIDS care and treatment organization that has been involved in global health research partnerships. It uses a validated research tool entitled "Is Research Working for You?" to facilitate qualitative interviews surrounding the experienced benefits and challenges in engaging in the research partnerships as described by TASO staff.


Three key themes emerged from the content and thematic analysis: 1) the reported benefits of research (e.g., evidence-based management, advocacy, etc.), 2) the challenges the research committee members face in becoming more involved in the research process (e.g., lack of data analysis skill, lack of inclusion in the research process, etc.), and 3) the institutional ambition at TASO to develop a Southern-led research agenda.


This is one of the few studies to document the development of a Southern-led research agenda in addition to the challenges of engaging in the research process. Mechanisms for moderating power dynamics within North-South partnerships can provide opportunities for improved research capacity and quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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