Following two successful GDAR Investigator Workshops – in Cambridge in 2017 and Johannesburg in 2018 – we were excited to be planning to hold our third workshop in Kisumu, Kenya in July 2020.
But with countries around the world going into lockdown, it became clear by April 2020 that a face-to-face meeting of partners would be impossible. Rather than abandon it, we decided to organise a virtual workshop.
We ran the workshop over four half days in the last week of July, with around 60 participants joining each day from South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon, Jamaica, Haiti and the UK.
- You can read more about our experience at the workshop:
Socially Distanced Learning – Seven Lessons from Organising a Virtual Workshop
A 3-day Network meeting was held on 7-9 November 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting was attended by the GDAR investigators, and by 19 early career researchers from each of the investigators’ teams.
The meeting had two broad objectives:
- to finalise, where necessary, details of the research agenda and its implementation
- to provide relevant theoretical and methodological training to researchers.
Key decisions and next steps arising from the meeting include:
- creation of a working group to develop shared principles for data management and an overarching data management plan
- engagement with contracts specialists to develop data access and sharing agreement(s) to cover the anticipated data flows within the network
- feasibility of developing a common database to collate publications, policy documents and stakeholder contacts
- consideration of potential outputs across the Network within and beyond the current funding deadline
Our approach to capacity building is to align it closely with the agreed research agenda. In collaboration with partners, online and face to face training will be organised as appropriate for the staff working on each of the Work Packages. In addition, the need for two cross cutting capacity building activities has been identified: training in research management, including financial management, with the aim that all GDAR partners will work to the standards required by NIHR; and the need for the same high quality approaches to data management.
In addition to these meetings, the Network regularly meets by web-conference.
A two day workshop was held on 16-17 September at the Møller Centre in Cambridge, UK. Each partner institution was represented by its lead investigator and at least one other. Also participating in the workshop were the leads of each of the MRC Epidemiology Unit and CEDAR research groups.
At the workshop, participants:
- discussed and agree research plans for the Global Diet and Activity Research (GDAR) Group and Network, including consideration of capacity building and knowledge exchange needs and opportunities
- strengthened existing lings and began to establish relationships and communication across partners to develop a cohesive network
- discussed and planned the governance arrangements for the network.
Following the workshop, the network further developed and agree a definitive research agenda, which you can read about in Our Research.