The Research Investments in Global Health study (ResIn) is delighted to have won a small grant from the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene! This will allow us to host two students this summer on paid bursaries at the University of Southampton, to pilot methods that combine research investment analyses with geospatial techniques. These placements would suit medical, MSc/Bsc, nursing students etc (all scientific disciplines considered, recent graduates or more experienced colleagues between posts will also be considered). For the geospatial activity, experience in GIS, geography and/or associated disciplines will be required.
We have available two (non-laboratory) research placements at the university this summer, one based at Southampton General Hospital in the Faculty of Medicine, and one (most likely) located at the university Highfield campus. The bursaries will each be £1600 for 10 weeks (pro-rata payment for shorter placement will be considered). Timing is flexible across July to October.
Project title – Combining research investments analyses and malaria maps in Africa – are we investing limited resources wisely? Part of the Research Investments in Global Health study, ResIn, www.researchinvestments.org
People involved – Michael Head (project lead, main supervisor), Stuart Clarke, Becky Brown (Faculty of Medicine, Southampton), Andy Tatem (Geography, Southampton), Joseph Fitchett (Harvard)
Background – The study is analysing global trends in funding for infectious disease research. We are currently collating research funding data from all the nations in the G20 and analysing the individual awards for relevance to infection, and then categorising them under diseases and disease areas, pathogens and type of science. In 12-18 months’ time we will have finalised a large global dataset of funding trends over the last 15 years and be able to identify areas of national and international research strength, areas of funding neglect, and be able to inform the R&D agenda of how to distribute limited financial resources as equitably as possible.
See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352396415302449 for our latest paper on mapping the UK funding landscape, and http://researchinvestments.org/publications/ for the rest of our publications to give an idea of the sort of work we produce.
Placement activity of student handling the research funding data – Here, we are going to focus on research investment data from the world’s leading global health funders. Some of this is already extracted and categorised, some of which the research funding student will need to collate and categorise (full supervision and support provided here, of course). As well as disease categories, they will need to pick out the awards with a geographical focus in sub-Saharan Africa e.g. ‘malaria vaccines trial in Kenya’. They will need to find out as precisely as possible where that research was taking place (reading study abstract, googling, institutional websites, reading published outputs related to the study etc), so it can be mapped by the geography student. There will be plenty of playing around in spreadsheets, with excel equations and manual sifting, analysis within Stata, and generating results via tables and visualisations, in order to generate some results about the extent and nature of the selected studies.
The geography/geospatial student – Having received a dataset of selected studies related to malaria that have a specified geographical focus, they will then integrate this information with existing datasets. The Malaria Atlas Project, http://www.map.ox.ac.uk/, has mapped malaria burden to every grid square in sub-Saharan Africa. The WorldPop data is also openly available, http://www.worldpop.org.uk/. Using GIS/other methods, the student will produce some visualisations describing the location of where the research funding is targeted – what are the burdens, demographics and geography of these areas? This can help to answer questions such as – Are investments biased towards high transmission, sparsely populated rural areas, or high-density elimination settings? Are there geographic regions that have been neglected but could greatly benefit from being the focus of investment? Are we investing as equitably and ethically as possible?
– written data and visuals;
– at least one peer-reviewed publication (on which both students would be authors);
– there is a small budget for conference attendance to present the results;
– also plans to host a meeting in London (probably at the Wellcome Trust) at the end of the project to highlight the study and results to influential funders and policymakers with an interest in this area, this is a good chance to build useful links, travel to and from London would be paid for.
Skills required – for the research investments student – a systematic approach to working with plenty of attention to detail, experience handling data in excel and any other stats/epidemiological software would be useful but not essential, interests in global health and infectious diseases (malaria in particular)
– for the geography/geospatial student – knowledge of GIS, experience with geospatial techniques, interests in global health and infectious diseases (malaria in particular)
If interested – send your CV and brief email of your background/interests in these areas to Michael Head at the University of Southampton, firstname.lastname@example.org . Please state which of the two placements you are interested in.