Supporting the next generation of researchers in India – call for research ideas opens today!

19 Aug 2019
With Dr Gitanjali Batmanabane, Director of AIIMS-Bhubaneswar (centre), members of her senior faculty and Professor Pramod Samantharay (third from right), one of RSTMH's long-standing members

As part of our five-year strategy, we are encouraging those working in and interested in tropical medicine and global health to start research into an aspect of this field that interests them.

We hope that by encouraging this next group of researchers, academics, scientists and professionals to get involved in their own research for the first time, we will be stimulating many new ideas and innovations, which could make a real difference to our sector.

To help with this objective, I am pleased to announce that today we are opening a call for research ideas from those across India to present their thoughts to an audience of peers and mentors later in November.

AMR in India

In July, we heard the big announcement that the Ministry of Health in India had banned the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of the antibiotic, Colistin. The ban on using the antibiotic on farms aims to stop the spread of deadly, drug-resistant superbugs and maintain its efficacy in humans, as an investigation found that the drug was being used in poultry farming as a growth promoter, among other things. 

Colistin is a “last resort” antibiotic that saves lives in intensive care units. In recent year, medical professionals have been alarmed by the number of patients who have exhibited resistance to the drug. A ban on its use in farming will hopefully rectify some of the damage done to increasing antimicrobial resistance in India.

This news is specifically significant for us as drug-resistant infections is a key priority that was identified in our current five-year strategy. As such, we want to concentrate on strengthening our existing relationships with networks and partners in this area.

For example, earlier this year we appointed Professor Dame Sally Davies as an Honorary Fellow. Dame Sally, the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England, has made it her life’s work to raise awareness of the global threat that AMR poses to all of us. 

Annual meeting on One Health

Additionally, the theme of our Annual Meeting this September, which will be held in Liverpool, is One Health – another of our priority areas. Two major themes of surveillance and delivery of healthcare will be considered through the cross-cutting lenses of economics, social sciences and technology, with specific talks on antimicrobial resistant bacteria in animals, food and humans.

The statement of intent from the Government of India also came at a very interesting time for RSTMH. Indeed, I was recently in India for a very exciting purpose: the aim of supporting early career scientists and researchers in India through a new event concept – early career ideas.

Up to now, we have delivered Research in Progress meetings in the UK and Tanzania, designed for those early in their careers to showcase research which is underway. These events in India will be aimed at those who are one step earlier – who have not received funding for their ideas but have an early concept or idea they would like to explore, and hopefully carry out research on in the future.

A showcase for research ideas

We are hoping to deliver four events across India between 4 and 13 November showcasing research ideas from students and early graduates. Peers will be encouraged to attend, and we will also have senior lecturers at the research days and opportunities for mentoring.

My trip was to meet potential partners and institutions interested in collaborating with us on this new type of meeting. It was a hugely successful trip, during which I met potential partners from Amrita University in Cochin, C-Camp in Bangalore, AIIMS Bhubaneswar, BIRAC in Delhi and CMC Vellore, Vellore. 

Submit your idea now

Exact dates and locations of the events will be announced shortly, however we are planning to conduct events in Delhi, Cochin, Vellore and Bhubaneswar.

The call for students and early graduates to submit ideas for research will be open until 21 September 2019, after which time the ideas will be assessed and we will finalise the names of those presenting, the locations of the events and dates.

We’re so excited to be involved with supporting the next generation of scientists and researchers in India and look forward to more hugely positive news on global health in the future.

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RSTMH event