10 March 2014
Following a unanimous recommendation by an independent panel of experts, the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) has confirmed its funding support and the MRC Unit status of the MRC-Wits Health Policy Research Unit/Centre for Health Policy (CHP) in the Wits School of Public Health.
CHP underwent a comprehensive five-year review in October 2013 by the panel who reviewed the Unit’s research contributions over the past funding cycle and plans for the future.
CHP has enjoyed MRC Unit status for 15 years, since its establishment as an extramural MRC Unit in 1997. Although the MRC usually only funds extramural research units for a maximum of 15 years, the MRC has approved full funding to the unit for an additional two years until March 2016.
The panel were particularly pleased at the increase in the number of publications from CHP over the period under review, which more than doubled since the previous review. CHP produced 105 peer-reviewed publications, as well as 16 book chapters, five editorials and 33 technical reports, and presented 112 orals and poster at conferences. The review panel also mentioned that CHP’s achievement in mentoring and producing graduates was ‘impressive’ and that the Unit was making a significant contribution in this area of great need in South Africa. Over the past five years, 12 PhD and 20 Masters candidates graduated from CHP.
The President of the MRC, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, congratulated CHP on the positive review and the good work done by the Unit.
“The MRC is pleased to be associated with this Unit and looks forward to the continued scientific contributions of the Unit,” he wrote in his letter to the Unit’s Scientific Director, Professor Laetitia Rispel.
“CHP is delighted at the outcome of this review which confirms our status of a rigorous research unit that is relevant to South Africa and the region,” said Professor Rispel.
“Long term investment in health policy and systems research is critical for new knowledge, health systems change and collaboration. The MRC’s funding is important and allows CHP to leverage other resources.”
“We deeply appreciate the MRC’s support over the past 15 years, and look forward to the next phase of collaboration,” said Professor Rispel, who is also the head of the School of Public Health.