UK (University of Huddersfield) University hosts Global Consortium for Public Health Research

The University of Huddersfield hosted the first two-day Global Consortium for Public Health Research (GCPHR) meeting on 19-20 June 2023 to discuss, debate and share experiences for the collective mission of improving global health outcomes.

The event brought together more than 30 public health researchers, practitioners from around the world, as well as policymakers who are committed to advancing the field of public health through collaborative research, education, and advocacy. They aim to overcome the multifaceted challenges faced by public health systems worldwide and create a brighter and healthier future for all.

The event was supported by PVC International’s International collaborative fund (ICF) and the ICF Plus Initiative.

Prof Padam Simkhada, Associate Dean (International) of the School of Human and Health Sciences and also the organiser of the consortium, welcomed the national and international delegates from different universities in the United Kingdom, the USA, Nepal, India, Ghana, Qatar and Japan.

He said, “The event has served as an excellent platform for networking, establishing new connections, and forging meaningful partnerships with other esteemed professionals and organisations in the field of global health.

“The ideas, recommendations, and lessons learned from the meeting will be of immense value in shaping future global health research initiatives, policy development, and implementation strategies.

The consortium explored the research priorities, grant mechanism and funding opportunities in the USA, India, Brazil, Africa, the Middle East and the United Kingdom. The funding opportunities talk was led by Prof Krishna Poudel, Director, Institute for Global Health, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

Delegates at global health conference standing indoors

“The event was a great opportunity for networking and exploration of potential collaborative funding with global health researchers from different parts of the world to deliver research priorities in the low- and-middle income countries,” said Professor Poudel.

Developing international networks

Prof Alfred E. Yawson, Dean of the University of Ghana Medical School, discussed the challenges faced by the African Health Systems and highlighted the research priorities and opportunities that are needed to strengthen the health systems in Ghana and other African countries. He also shared his experiences around the context of the African funding landscape, funding opportunities, key funders and the importance of funder priorities.

Research Excellence Framework 2028 discussions are topical in UK Higher Education, and Prof Edwin van Teijlingen discussed the importance of global research partnerships in the context of People and Culture and Engagement and Impact, which are the key elements for the REF 2028 assessment.

He said, “International relationships are largely built on trust and often take time to build, and therefore it is important to ensure there is a common understanding of aims, resources, roles, obligations through effective communication. The real international partnerships are where all partners benefit from generating global knowledge and contributing to collective efforts in advancing public health research and its practical applications.”

The meeting concluded by identifying key research areas, skills, and methodological expertise of the delegates attending the consortium. Small teams were formed based on their expertise and interests in exploring research ideas and potential funding sources for future grant applications.

As a co-organiser, Dr Rajeeb Kumar Sah, Senior lecturer in Public Health and International Lead for the Department of Allied Health Professions, Sports & Exercise, highlighted the need for and importance of a sustainable research network for collaborative research projects and funding applications.

“It is important that we continue the active engagement, discussions, debates, and knowledge exchange among the members of the consortium and invite new colleagues to build on and strengthen the skills and expertise within the GCPHR,” said Dr Kumar Sah. “This is important for research capacity building in low-resource settings and collaborative partnership working for future research projects and funding applications.”

Finally, Prof Alistair Sambell, PVC International at Huddersfield University highlighted the University’s strategy and important of consortium to address the global health problems.