The Learning Research Programme (LRP) implemented by AFIDEP is part of wider programme by The Wellcome Trust known as the DELTAS Africa Initiative. The initiative aims to improve health in Africa through research driven by the most urgent regional challenges. It supports a series of research programmes addressing a range of health needs, from emerging infectious diseases to neonatal health, population health and elimination of malaria. It also aims to train the next generation of researchers through programmes that support women in science, create opportunities for masters, doctoral and post-doctoral candidates and provide mentorship.
The LRP aims to investigate how best to train and develop world-class researchers, foster their careers and collaborations and promote research uptake into policy. AFIDEP scientists, in partnership with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) are focused on producing research-based learning from the DELTAS Africa initiative about how to train and develop world-class researchers, foster their careers and collaborations, and promote research uptake. The role of AFIDEP is to support processes that will ensure that research for socio-economic development is needed and that it is used for policy formulation in Africa.
This approach is based on the background that in Africa, research uptake for decision-making is weak due to supply- and demand-side bottlenecks. Much research is untimely, not pro-poor and irrelevant to knowledge needs of decision-makers and the public because of limited interaction between producers and users of research when conceptualising research questions. Supply-side research is fragmented across many scientific journals and researchers lack skills to synthesise and package it appropriately for decision-makers. Another challenge is that research competes with values, politics and personal interests and hence often fails to inform policy decisions. At the same time, policymakers may lack motivation and skills to access, appraise and apply research findings. Furthermore, there is limited evidence about the most effective strategies for closing the gap between research generation, policies and programmes.