About PERFECT

PERFECT (Promoting Excellence in Research and Faculty Enhanced Career Training)

is a research capacity building programme which is being implemented by the University of Zimbabwe's College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) with financial support from the Fogarty International Centre of the United States National Institutes of Health (US NIH).

The programme builds on the achievements of the MEPI Zimbabwe awards (NECTAR, CHRIS and IMHERZ) which were successfully implemented between 2010 and 2015. The overarching goal of PERFECT is to train a critical mass of 30 junior faculty members over a 5-year period to become competent, independent and collaborative researchers. This goal will be accomplished by extending the research capacity and mentorship programmes developed within the existing MEPI programmes and by continuing strong collaboration with US, UK and African partners which have been integral to the success of the MEPI programmes; through the following objectives:

Objectives:
  1. To enhance junior faculty capacity through mentored research training;
  2. To conduct didactic and practical research training;
  3. To enhance research administration and support;
  4. To improve on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and electronic resources;
  5. To conduct formative and summative evaluations.

Who qualifies to be a research fellow or trainee? The programme targets junior faculty of the UZCHS from all departments who are passionate about engaging in topical global health research areas such as HIV/AIDS, Cardiovascular Diseases, Women's Health, Mental Health, Stroke, Respiratory, Haematology and dental and craniofacial disorders. Junior faculty includes holders of Masters and PhD Degrees who have little or no university research and teaching experience. How are trainees selected? Candidates are selected through a competitive process which includes submission of applications, short listing and participation in interviews. In cases where some research areas are underrepresented applications may be solicited through Chairpersons of departments. Applications are done in February/March of every year. Application forms are collected from the UZCHS PERFECT offices or downloaded from the web portal (www.uzchsperfect.ac.zw/resources) What is the duration of the Programme? The training and mentorship program is 24- months long. The annual training calendar stretches from May to April. How are the trainees supported to engage in independent research? Trainees are supported through didactic sessions, mentoring and mentored research projects

Our Background

The University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences is one of 11 Medical Schools in sub-Saharan Africa who successfully competed for an award by the USA NIH/Fogarty International Center for advanced junior faculty research training. This is a follow-up to the MEPI (Medical Education Partnership Initiative) Program. At the UZCHS this program known as PERFECT (Promoting Excellence in Research and Faculty Enhanced Career Training) will run from 2015 to 2020. The program will support junior academic staff training in advanced research and mentorship and will empower them to pursue careers in research in the following Target Scientific Areas:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Women's Health
  • Mental Health
  • Cardiovascular Diseases /Stroke
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Haematology
  • Dental/Craniofacial disorders

Objectives

The objectives of the program are to;
  1. Enhance capacity of junior faculty to conduct impactful research in HIV/AIDS, Cardiovascular Diseases, Mental Health and Sexual & Reproductive Health through a rigorous program of mentored research training and career development
  2. Conduct didactic and practical research training to address both group-wide and individual capacity needs
  3. Enhance research administration and support of junior faculty through access to resources at the UZCHS Research Support Center (RSC)
  4. Capitalize and improve on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and eLibrary resources at the college
  5. Conduct formative and summative program evaluation

Training Program

The training programme will consist of:

Core Research Skills Courses:

Research methodology, health information literacy, bioethics, research administration, grant writing, scientific writing for publication, presentation skills

Associated Skills Training:

Leadership & management & governance, bioinformatics, biosafety, Intellectual property rights and technology transfer

Practical:

Mentorship, mentored research projects, Electives and attachments

Leadership and Governance

The training program is under the oversight of the Dean of the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences. The strategic and administrative components of the program are the Steering Committee (SC), the Training Advisory Committee (TAC) and the administrative Unit. The Steering Committee is composed of the following:

Prof James Gita Hakim- Program Director

Scientific Area Leads:

  • Prof Tsungai Chipato - HIV/AIDS
  • Prof Jonathan Matenga - Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Mr Alfred Chingono - Mental Health
  • Dr Thulani Magwali & Prof Mike Mbizvo - Women's Health
  • Prof Cakana & Dr Tendai Maboreke - Haematological disorders
  • Prof Midion Chidzonga - Dental & Craniofacial disorders