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Research Methods Workshop (7-8 March 2018)


This workshop is provided as a capacity development component of The Crick African Network supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund of Research Councils (UK). The Francis Crick Institute is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, UCL(University College London), Imperial College London and King's College London.It is a registered charity whose purpose is to conduct biomedical research into all aspects of human health and disease.

The Crick is a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation. It promotes connections between researchers and disciplines and between academic institutions, healthcare organisations and businesses. Dedicated to research excellence, the Crick has the scale,vision and expertise to tackle the most challenging scientific questions underpinning health and disease. It is world-class with a strong national role training scientists and developing ideas for public good. The Crick is located in a new, purpose built research centre in Midland Road, St. Pancras and houses around 1,500 staff.

Across Africa there are talented scientists who have achieved their PhDs and are poised to lead their countries into healthier places via their expertise and research into the infections that blight the continent. However, that ambition is curtailed by lack of funding and facilities and a shortage of mentoring. This is what the Crick African Network aims to ameliorate.

The Francis Crick Institute in London, along with five leading African partner institutions, will seek out the best and brightest post-doctoral researchers and provide resource to reach the next level: training at the Crick in the UK, linked to help establishing research programmes back home in institutes to strengthen them as hubs of scientific excellence for the Continent; and mentoring via an international network. We intend a crucible to develop the next generation of research leaders.


The workshop and associated following Scientific symposium (9th March), to which workshop attendees are invited, will network partners and introduce postdoctoral scientists to the Fellowship opportunities open to the strongest candidates. Proper design and conduct ofresearch are necessary to provide definitive answers about research questions.  Not only may poor design leadto continuing avenues of research that are not promising, but poor design maylead to abandonment of promising ideas. In addition, once a research project isconceived, funding must be sought to deliver it, which requires convincing potential funders of the value of the study through a persuasive research proposal. This workshop tackles the challenges of high-quality research study design and proposal development in the context of improving understanding and management of the major communicable and non-communicable diseases that beset Africa. The goals of this workshop are to:

1)    Increase knowledge within postdoctoral researchers of the principles of good study design, in order to give them the tools needed to yield valid results and proceed with a research program;

2)    Develop researcher-proposed study concepts into more advanced proposals by completion of the workshop;

3)    Expose participants to the spectrum of challenges in research design and proposal writing, including common pitfalls and mistakes;

4)    Provide an understanding of the relationship between statistical concepts and design of research; and,

5)    Develop a cadre of well-trained researchers whose experience will foster improved study design.

6)    To identify candidates for Crick African network career accelerator awards to be advertised subsequent to the workshop.



The scientific program will consist of three educational formats:

1)  Didactic lectures on specific topics presented by experts in the field. These talks will provide an overview of the design and conduct of high-quality research studies and grant writing.

2)  Protocol development group sessions.During these sessions, small groups will work through development of protocols.Extensive peer interaction and mentoring will occur, in order to enable completion of core elements of a protocol by the workshop end. These sessions are the core activity of the workshop.

3)  Opportunity to interact one-to-one with Crick and local experts, for individual counseling regarding protocol and career development.These will be facilitated according to needs identified by workshop faculty.



  1. ROBERT J WILKINSON from Francis Crick Institute
  2. ALISON ELLIOTT from Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI)
  4. Other Faculty from the Francis Crick Institute


Participants will be selected on the basis of a draft abstract (a research study concept). Some previous experience of health research, basic medical statistics, grant writing and publication is expected. The workshop is aimed at postdoctoral scientists or MD-PhDs interested in becoming leaders in health research, especially those intending to submita Crick African Network Fellowship proposal or those recently in receipt of funds who need to develop a research protocol. Although the emphasis of the Crick African Network is on communicable diseases, areas of research for the workshop can include all infectious and non-communicable diseases occurring in Africa. All types of study could be postulated including cohort, pilot and observational studies, clinical studies and pathogenesis studies. A particular feature of the Crick African Network is to enable access at Crick to high end facilities within its Science Technology platforms ( and are presentative of these platforms will be at the workshop.


Researcher applications from UVRI will be prioritised and will be entitled to all costs for meals, accommodation and tuition over the period of the workshop and transport to the venue. Early-career researchers from elsewhere in Uganda and Africa will be entitled to similar costs of the workshop. It is expected that all applicants will be housed at the same hotel as Faculty, to allow for greater engagement.  The course will meet the costs of travel to the accommodation venue although this may need to be capped depending upon individual applicant requirements.



Application is in the form of a draft protocol or abstract,accompanied by a supporting statement and undertakings from a research supervisor or Head of Department at your institution.

Application forms are available from  Please send completed application forms to Dr Stephen Cose (  Deadline for applications is 1700 CAT Friday 26th January 2018. Decisions will be available by 2nd February 2018.

click here to download application form

Posted 22nd, November 2017