Following a report by the ICDDR,B(International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research in Bangladesh http://www.icddrb.org) to the World Health Organization in 2007, COHRED and ICDDR,B teamed up with others to focus on ‘Improving International Research Contracting’. (Bulletin of the WHO 2009; 87: 487. doi:10.2471/BLT.08.058099. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/7/08-058099.pdf?ua=1)
A key group of people convened at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio center between 22-24 October 2012 to discuss progress on COHRED’s work and explore action. (http://www.cohred.org/bellagio-meeting/)
This high intensity, topic focused meeting was dedicated to ‘investing in research for health’. (http://www.cohred.org/colloquium2013/). Research partnerships became a key discussion point and laid the foundation for what was first called the “COHRED Fairness Index” or CFI.
Soon after, a small CFI team was created to begin writing the concept and first papers – to give voice to the idea of a COHRED Fairness Index. The ‘Core Writing Team’ consists of COHRED staff, associates and other experts who volunteer their time and insights to update the concept, provide information materials for the Technical Working Group and for Global Consultations. The team is managed as a ‘secretariat’ by COHRED.
Establishment of the first Technical Working Group (TWG 1)
From inception, the initiative was seen as a mechanism by and for all stakeholders in research and innovation for health. Specifically, it was NOT seen as an external evaluation system – but as a toll built and used by all involved in global health research and innovation. The TWG1 represents many, if not all, stakeholders. See Technical Working Group page.
The TWG1 worked through 5 questionnaires during the period from June –September 2014. Resulting from this was a first version of the COHRED Fairness Index or CFI. (download document)
This document was put on our website for global consultation for a period of about 2 months – 21 January – 27 March 2015. Based on comments received, a revised document was produced for a ‘face-to-face’ Global Consultation 2.
The outcome was a major shift in thinking – from an Index with its associated need for norms and cut-off points in an area where there are few if any external validations, winners and losers none— to a Reporting Initiative emphasizing the creation of a framework for reporting that encourages transparency, mutual learning, and generating benchmarks for best practice over time. The result is the
In view of a new approach, a new Technical Working Group is being established (TWG2). The aim of this phase is to review the new approach and ensure that the views and interests of all essential users of the future RFI are represented and heard.Once the RFI is active, we expect that the TWG2 may give way to a governance body of users to which COHRED will provide the services of the Secretariat. The standards and benchmarks, however, will be set by the TWG2 and future Board of the RFI. Therefore, be sure to make your interest in joining the TWG2 known to the RFI Team.
The new Research Fairness Initiative (RFI) has been developed with support from TWG1 and TWG2 (information), with workshops co-organised and co-hosted by several agencies, by individual inputs, by web-based comments. Further workshops are going to be held in various countries. The current document is now available for inputs from each and everyone concerned with optimizing research and innovation partnerships – for efficiency, for effectiveness, for competitiveness and for global health, equity and development.
An implementation workshop took place in Dakar, Senegal in June 2017. The RFI has already received RFI reports from some participating institutions for validation. This was followed by workshops in other countries, including Kenya and South Africa. Furthermore, several European institutions showed growing interest and the World Health Organisations Special Programme for Training and Research in Tropical Diseases (TDR), and the Instituto Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT) at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa both began the report writing process.