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CGH Announces Recipients of Regional Centers of Research Excellence (RCREs) P20 Grant Awards

, by CGH Staff

NCI’s Center for Global Health awards six NCD Regional Centers for Research Excellence Planning Grants, spanning 12 countries.

Novel global collaborations between high income and low- and middle income countries will lay the groundwork for planning and designing sustainable Regional Centers of Research Excellence (RCREs) for non-communicable diseases, including cancer, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) or regions.

Non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes account for over 72 percent of premature deaths globally. Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) carry a disproportionate burden of these diseases, characterized both in mortality and disability rates. A lack of resource sharing and coordination, uneven availability of research and administrative infrastructure, and a lack of in-country support for research have led the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to fund Planning Grants for Regional Centers of Research Excellence (RCREs). These RCREs support partnerships between high-income countries (HICs) and LMICs that lay the groundwork for the planning and design of regional hubs that will coordinate basic, translational, clinical, and population science research pertaining to LMICs within that region. Though the NCI has a particular interest in cancer research, applicants were required to address other non-communicable diseases in their proposals. As non-communicable diseases share similar characteristics, such as common risk factors, this will enable mutual benefit exchanges and greater efficiency from investments by HICs and LMICs in non-communicable disease research.

The scientific areas of RCRE-supported research include: non-communicable disease prevention and control, pathology, implementation science, health inequalities, molecular and cellular biology, detection, diagnosis, and treatment. Reliable research demands accurate and detailed record keeping; therefore, robust data systems are required. Grantees will develop core support functions including research ethics committees, administrative oversight, and biostatistics support.  Sustainability is an essential characteristic of quality health research. Long-term partnerships ensure that investments do not cause more harm than benefit. Awarded RCREs describe the proposed value added; how duplicated efforts will be minimized; and how the proposed activities will lead to a sustained opportunity within the region. RCREs planning grants will lay the foundation for self-sustaining, internationally-competitive non-communicable disease research programs in LMICs.

The RCREs are inherently collaborative. Funded project teams will consist of those HIC and LMIC institutions working in the selected region. LMIC investigators will lead research efforts and U.S./HIC investigators will serve as collaborators, consultants, and/or mentors, emphasizing the importance of co-ownership in global research efforts. The RCREs will create a network that will develop, share, evaluate, and disseminate best practices within the LMIC non-communicable disease research community. In order to prevent undue redundancies and to share information and best practices, awardees will interact on a regular basis via periodic teleconference calls and face-to-face meetings to discuss developments, progress, and insights gained throughout the project period.

RCRE Grant Awardees

  1. Planning for NCDs Research Center of Excellence in Southern Africa: CA210283
    1. M-PI: Dr. Neo Tapela - Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute
    2. M-PI: Dr. Bruce Chabner - Massachusetts General Hospital
    3. M-PI: Dr. Shahin Lockman - Harvard Medical School
    4. M-PI: Dr. Doreen Ramogola -Masire- Botswana UPenn Partnership
  2. Planning for a National Non-Communicable Disease Center of Research Excellence in Malawi: CA210285
    1. M-PI: Dr. Satish Gopal - University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
    2. M-PI: Dr. Dirk Dittmer - University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
    3. M-PI: Dr. Mwapatsa Mipando - University of Malawi College of Medicine
    4. M-PI: Dr. Nyengo Mkandawire - University of Malawi College of Medicine
  3. Mesoamerican Center for Population Health Research on Non-Communicable Disease: CA210286
    1. M-PI: Dr. Martin Lajous - Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica
    2. M-PI: Dr. Ruy Lopez-Ridaura - Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica
  4. Planning a Regional Center of Research Excellence in Non-Communicable Diseases in India CA210298
    1. M-PI: Michael Goodman - Emory University
    2. M-PI: Dorairaj Prabhakaran - Public Health Foundation of India
  5. Regional Center of Research Excellence in Cancer and Other Non-Communicable: CA210300
    1. M-PI: Dr. Xiao Ou Shu - Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    2. M-PI: Dr. Thuan Van Tran - National Institute for Cancer Control Vietnam
  6. Bangladesh Center for Research Excellence in Non-Communicable Disease: CA210305
    1. M-PI: Dr. Habibul Ahsan - University of Chicago
    2. M-PI: Dr. Syed Shariful Islam - Bangabandu Sheikh Mujib Medical University

For additional information contact Shannon Silkensen at NCI, Center for Global Health.