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NCI-USAID Implementation Science Master Course

Overview of Masters Course: 

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Applications Open: May 7, 2015
Applications Due: June 4, 2015

Eligibility Criteria
Evaluation Criteria


Email Robert Gasior

One of the most critical issues impeding improvements in public health today is the enormous gap between our knowledge of strategies that can optimize health promotion and disease prevention and what actually gets implemented. Implementation Science (IS) is a field of inquiry that investigates the process for bringing solutions from biomedical and healthcare research to broader public health practice and policy. Spanning the entire continuum of health-impact research from prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to health systems strengthening and improving health at the nexus of infectious (ID) and non-communicable diseases (NCD), implementation science research considers factors influencing health outcomes ranging from behaviors and attitudes to structural factors such as health systems and health policy that can affect access to prevention and treatment. The field of IS research and the nexus between ID and NCD is growing; however, there remains a need to expand the cadre of both new and established scientists, especially from low- and middle-income countries who work in or have access to priority populations and are prepared to:
  1. Address the complex process of bridging research and practice in a variety of real-world settings; and
  2. Conduct research that balances rigor with relevance and employs study designs and methods appropriate to the complex processes involved in dissemination and implementation of evidence-based programs and policies.
Learning Objectives:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are partnering to offer a Masters Course that is targeted at investigators from low- and middle-income countries in South East Asia working on health needs* at the intersection of infectious diseases and non-communicable disease research. This course is designed to provide an introduction to the field of implementation science, and lay the groundwork for developing implementation science research proposals. The duration of the training will be from June to September 2015 and the content will be delivered in six webinars and will culminate in a three-day, in-person training in Bangkok, Thailand. After attending these webinars and the in-person training, participants will be able to:
  1. Define Implementation Science and discuss how it has been applied in disease prevention and control in national, regional or community settings;
  2. Understand the key domains of implementation science research inquiry– health systems, community-based characteristics, human resources development, operations research and evaluation – and develop skills to investigate questions in these domains by understanding theoretical frameworks for implementation science research;
  3. Understand a set of research methods and tools that can be used to investigate questions in implementation science. This includes available resources at NIH and USAID, as well as past research in other areas that have successfully used implementation science research; and
  4. Develop a cross-cutting research proposal to support an implementation science research project in their country/community
The Masters Course will culminate in the workshop at USAID’s Regional Development Mission in Asia (RDMA) in Bangkok Thailand mid-September 2015, where USAID and NIH Staff will facilitate a discussion of other critical skills for a successful IS project.

Webinar Topics:
  1. Introduction to Dissemination and Implementation Science (June19th 2015)
  2. Models and Theories in D&I research (June 26th 2015)
  3. Design Considerations in D&I research (July 6th 2015)
  4. Fidelity and Adaption of Interventions (July 20th 2015)
  5. Measurement and Evaluation on D&I research (August 3rd 2015)
  6. Practical Dissemination and Implementation (Aug 24th 2015)
Master Course attendees will be given interactive assignments and quizzes to complete in between webinars. Successful completion of ALL assignments will be required for supported travel to the in-person training. Successful completion of the webinar and attendance at the in-person training is required for Master Certification.

In Person Workshop Will Cover:
The Masters Course will culminate in a workshop at USAID Regional Development Mission in Asia (RDMA) in Bangkok Thailand in September. Where USAID, NIH, and NAS staff will facilitate a discussion of proposals, and provide guidance and overview of grant making processes and procedures as well as other critical skills to a successful IS project.
  • Essential Elements of Developing a competitive NIH or USAID style grant
  • How to identify and communicate with a U.S. Government-supported partner
  • IRB, Ethics and Regulatory approval process, budgeting, and reporting for US Government funds
  • Overview of the PEER and NIH Review Process: “A look behind the scenes”
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring from current award recipients
  • Translating evidence into action, research for development and communication
  • Sustainability, Scale-up and Spread
  • Participatory approaches for public health and policy dissemination research
  • Other grant opportunities for ASEAN community
  • Poster presentation: Show us your current research

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must have a feasible D&I research concept to bring to the course and develop through the training. This should be a project that the applicant is seriously interested in conducting and or submitting for funding. Preference will be given to applicants who will demonstrate experience with, or potential for, working effectively in transdisciplinary teams and who have appropriate credentials or access to important populations or influence in their institution that would lead to a successfully project. In addition, successful applicants will:
  • Reside, full-time, at a research institution (NGOs that conduct implementation research science are also eligible) in USAID priority countries in South East Asia (see list below);
  • Be early to mid-career research professionals able to prove completion of Masters, Ph.D. or Medical degree equivalents in relevant research areas. Applicants in government ministries who conduct research are also eligible, but will be screened for compliance with bilateral agreements on a case-by-case basis. Professional grants managers or health research coordinators are also eligible if their work impacts the implementation research conducted at their institution. Professional Grants Managers or health research coordinators are also eligible if your work impacts the implementation research conducted at your institution;
  • Be proficient in English, as the training will be conducted in English; and
  • Be available to travel to Bangkok in September for the full three-day in-person workshop. All travel and lodging expenses would be covered.
List of Eligible Countries: 
  • Burma
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Evaluation Criteria: 
Applicants will be scored on the following: 
  1. Statement of Interest - Relevance of your statement of interest in successfully completing the Master Course; i.e. how the skills you will learn will be translated into your research or into your institution.
  2. Research Concept Note and its Public Health Relevance. Relevance of the concept note to country need as well as the concept note’s feasibility (i.e. how the proposed project will impact the development and health need of local communities, does the applicant have access to unique or relevant populations and/or an administrative role that would allow them to apply the skills learned in this course to impact their institution).
  3. Educational Qualifications. Relevant educational and professional background of the applicant as based on CV.
  4. Letter of Recommendation. Strength of the letter of recommendation letter.
  5. English proficiency.

*Health Needs
Examples of Regional Cross-Cutting Implementation Science Research Priorities: 
  • Studies of the impact of tobacco control interventions on TB/HIV positive patients using innovative methods, models, and analyses;
  • Adoption, implementation, and sustainability of HPV self-testing for cervical cancer in HIV-positive women;
  • Integrating delivery of cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment into local health care settings/systems;
  • Feasibility of new service delivery models/approaches based on HIV or TB platforms (patients coming into clinics regularly for anti-retrovirals, TB drugs) that integrate cancer, high blood pressure, and other associated disease risk screening;
  • Studies that can benefit health outcomes in migrant or poor populations;
  • Reduction of NCDs by prevention of low birth weight; and
  • Other regional health needs as described by applicants’ countries’ USAID Mission websites.