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NCI 2015
Participants form Bangkok 2015 Training Course present the "abc's" of implementation science. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gasior)

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Implementation Science (IS) Training Course - Principles and Practice

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Application Opens: 5 July 2016
Application Closes: 1 August 2016 11:59 PM EDT
Questions? Email

Overview of IS Course

One of the most critical issues impeding improvements in public health today is the enormous gap between what practices work and can optimize health and healthcare, and what actually gets implemented in everyday practice. Implementation Science (IS) is a field of inquiry that investigates methods and tools for bringing evidence from biomedical and healthcare research to public health practice and policy. Implementation Science spans the entire continuum of health-impact research, from prevention, health systems strengthening and diagnosis, to disease treatment. This type of research considers not only individual factors influencing behaviors and attitudes toward poor-health outcomes, but also structural factors such as health systems and health policy that can affect access to proper health and treatment.

In an attempt to increase the skills and competitiveness of a targeted pool of researchers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to create competitive implementation science proposals for future funding opportunities, the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) will partner to run a 4-month capacity building course and training program from August to December, 2016. A cohort of early to mid-career researchers from MENA will be chosen to complete this webinar-based course which culminates in an in-person three day training workshop in Cairo, Egypt from December 4-6, 2016. The training workshop will be co-facilitated and co-hosted by the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO-EMRO).

Learning Objectives

The webinar course and associated training have two goals: (1) provide an introduction to the field of IS and (2) guided practice developing IS proposals. After attending the webinars and the in-person training, participants will, more specifically, be able to:
  1. Define IS and discuss its applications in cancer control and prevention in national, regional and/or community settings. This objective will include how to identify IS research questions and how to distinguish IS from program implementation or clinical trials.
  2. Learn key components of IS inquiry– health systems, community based characteristics, training of human resources, operations research and evaluation – and develop skills to analyze them by understanding theoretical frameworks for IS research.
  3. Become familiar with a set of research methods and tools that can be used to investigate questions in IS.
  4. Develop a cross-cutting research proposal to support an IS research project in your country/community.
  5. Be exposed to, and discuss, potential NIH, USAID and WHO funding sources for IS based research.
Webinar Format
  1. Introduction to Implementation Science (August 15, 2016)
  2. Dissemination and Implementation Models (August 29, 2016)
  3. Measurement and Evaluation for Dissemination and Implementation (September 12, 2016)
  4. Fidelity and Adaption of Interventions (September 26, 2016)
  5. Designs and Design Issues for Dissemination and Implementation Research (October 10, 2016)
  6. Practical Dissemination and Implementation (October 31, 2016)
  7. Examples of successful Dissemination and Implementation Projects (November 14, 2016)
IS course attendees will be given interactive assignments and virtual office hours will be held the week following each webinar to provide feedback to attendees and respond to questions. Successful completion of ALL assignments is required for IS Certification and supported attendance at the three-day workshop.

Training Workshop

The IS course will culminate in an in-person training workshop at World Health Organization headquarters in Cairo, Egypt from December 4-6, 2016.

Workshop Topics
  1. How to compile competitive NIH, USAID and WHO style grants
  2. How to identify and communicate with a U.S. Government supported partner
  3. IRB, Ethics and Regulatory approval process, budgeting, and reporting for US Government funds
  4. Overview of the USAID and NIH Review Process: “A look behind the scenes”
  5. Peer-to-peer mentoring from current award recipients
  6. Translating evidence into action: research for development and communication
  7. Participatory approaches for public health and policy dissemination research
  8. Other grant opportunities for MENA community
  9. Poster presentation: Present your current research

Request for Applications

The solicitation for applications will be open from 5 July to 1 August 2016 and consists of a:
  1. One to two page IS concept note (maximum 10,000 characters);
  2. Personal statement about what the researcher hopes to achieve by being part of this course;
  3. A curriculum vitae (CV) listing research experience and publication record; and
  4. Letter of recommendation.
Only applications submitted through the online system will be evaluated. If this is your first time using the online system you must click on the "Create New Account" button. You will need to enter your organization's information first, followed by your (the applicant's) information. On the following screen titled "Financial Administrative Officer" please enter your information again. Once these steps are completed you will see the link on the left hand side labeled "Apply". Once you select the apply link you will see the application for the MENA IS Training Course.

We will not accept paper or emailed applications. 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must have a feasible IS concept to develop throughout the webinars and bring to the training course. This should be a project that the applicant is seriously interested in conducting and or submitting for funding.

Dissemination research is the scientific study of targeted distribution of information and intervention materials to a specific public health or clinical practice audience. The intent is to understand how best to spread and sustain knowledge and the associated evidence-based interventions.

Implementation research is the scientific study of the use of strategies to adopt and integrate evidence-based health interventions into clinical and community settings in order to improve patient outcomes and benefit population health.

Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate experience with, or potential for, working effectively in transdisciplinary teams and who have access to clinical or community populations of influence in their institution that would lead to a successful project. In addition, successful applicants will:
  • Based, full-time, at a research institution (NGOs that conduct implementation research science are also eligible) in USAID priority countries in MENA (see list below). Applicants in government ministries who conduct research are 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, provided their work impacts implementation research;
  • Be early to mid-career research professionals able to prove completion of Ph.D. or Medical degree equivalents in relevant research areas;
  • Be proficient in English, as the course and training workshop will be conducted in English; and
  • Be available to travel to Cairo, Egypt from December 4-6, 2016 for the full three-day in-person training workshop. (Partial travel support awards will be available to qualified candidates, pending funding)
List of Eligible Countries:
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • West Bank-Gaza
Evaluation Criteria

Applicants will be scored on several criteria:
  1. Described interest in IS and how the skills learned will be translated into research.
  2. Relevance of the concept note to country need and feasibility (i.e. how would proposed research project impact the health and development needs of the local population).
  3. Relevant educational background of the applicant (will be required to submit a scanned copy of highest degree achieved).
  4. Strength of letter of recommendation.
  5. English proficiency (as assessed by written material submitted).

Health Needs for IS Research 

Examples of Regional Cross-Cutting Implementation Science Research Priorities:
  • Integrating evidence-based cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment interventions into local health care systems;
  • Integrating tobacco cessation interventions into existing healthcare systems;
  • Evaluating implementation of tobacco control policies and interventions in low resource settings;
  • Studies that can benefit health outcomes in migrant or poor populations;
  • Reduction of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by prevention of low birth weight;
  • Reduction in the overall mortality rates from the four most common NCDs; and
  • Reduction in the prevalence of obesity.
Please see NCI's website for more information about implementation science.