As exciting as it is to be working as an academic in an emerging field, it can be geographically challenging for young researchers to collaborate and network with other young and mid- level researchers in their chosen field.
In the emerging field of Health Policy & Systems Research and Analysis (HPSR+A) these challenges are addressed by a programme led by Antwerp's Institute of Tropical Medicine's Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH).
This platform allows young researchers to have their voices heard through presenting research in conference formats and getting intensive communication skills training as well as content training in methodology. It also serves as a networking platform. EV4GH brings together 50 young HPSR+A researchers, from low and middle income countries, and late in 2012 it was Beijing that was the chosen meeting point. The programme was attached to the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research held in Beijing.
Two UCT researchers in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine's Health Economics Unit were selected from 100s of applicants to be part of the 2012 EV4GH. Dr Judith Daire and Marsha Orgill, both affiliated with the Consortium for Health Policy & Systems Analysis in Africa, participated in the initiative for three.
Both Orgill and Daire presented work at the global conference. Orgill also facilitated a fishbowl discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing women health-system researchers and Daire recalled the interesting activity of 'speed dating' where young researchers were each given an opportunity to ask senior researchers key questions.
"I have a new view on presenting and the importance of using visual aids in presentations is more apparent to me," said Orgill.
Both researchers advised their peers interested in attending EV4GH to take the programme seriously and to to learn as much as possible. As Daire noted, "You will have to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. You will meet a lot of interesting contacts who will inspire you to build a career in HPSR+A."
For more information go to the EV4GH website.
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