Uwezo: Developing an Office of Sponsored Research in KEMRI

Investigator: Craig Cohen, MD, MPH
Sponsor: NIH John F. Fogarty International Center

Location(s): Kenya


Through a variety of research administration and grants management training and mentorship opportunities provided by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi, Kenya will transform its Grantsmanship Department into a dedicated Office of Sponsored Research (OSR). This office, staffed by faculty and administrators who participate in the proposed training programs, will support new and active research projects through the grant life cycle (proposal development to closeout). With strengthened administration support and compliance infrastructure, KEMRI researchers can better focus on conducting HIV research and other diseases that impact public health.

Specifically, KEMRI plans over the next three years to develop an Office of Sponsored Research to support the institution's scientists to apply for and manage extramural grants and contracts. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) has an over 12 year history of scientific collaboration with KEMRI. Thus, UCSF will assist KEMRI to achieve its goal to improve and expand the administrative capacity by employing hybrid learning models to train and mentor selected KEMRI administrative staff and faculty responsible for pre- through post-award functions. Following a needs assessment in year 1, training will be accomplished through intensive internships at UCSF, partnering networks, in-country workshops, and distance and online learning. This partnership will build uwezo (a Swahili word for capacity, competence, or ability) in KEMRI. The specific aims are: 
(1) to conduct a needs assessment at KEMRI identifying and measuring the area of greatest institutional risk and research infrastructure gaps; 
(2) to provide a comprehensive, vigorous, and innovative training program that will continue to grow KEMRI as one of the leading research institutions in Africa. The learning objectives, which will be derived from the needs assessment will examine the grant life cycle: seeking grant opportunity, application preparation, submission, negotiation, award acceptance, compliance monitoring, financial management, and award close out; 
(3) to transform the existing Grantsmanship department into an established Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) providing high quality pre- and post-award support to researchers while balancing institutional and sponsor compliance requirements; 
(4) to develop a long-term sustainability roadmap that will direct and support the OSR activities after the completion of this project. The planning process will determine the optimal organization structure, role, and resources required to implement and maintain this new state; 
(5) to develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan using a logic model listing short and long-term goals as the basis for this activity.