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2. Our Strategy

The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) brings together (i) academic and research institutions from West, East, Central, and Southern Africa and selected northern partners, many with extant and longstanding relationships and MoUs, and (ii) a variety of related disciplines essential to enhancing health, wellbeing and livelihoods in Africa, which together, allow CARTA to build multidisciplinary research capacity in population and public health.

CARTA is led jointly by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Kenya, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa who have a five year history of successful collaboration. APHRC provides a highly productive research environment, with a multidisciplinary team of highly qualified researchers from across sub-Saharan Africa. Wits provides the institutional capacity of an internationally-rated, research-led, postgraduate-oriented university. Both institutions are internationally recognised as leaders in research and training; have championed the cause of higher education in Africa; have facilitated several partnerships and initiatives which strengthen collaborations among different universities and research organisations; and have strong systems of accountability. The Consortium's African centre of gravity is accepted and supported by, and reflects the value system of all its members.

While CARTA brings together new partners, the Consortium includes a number of institutions who have a long history of working together. CARTA partners already have a substantial track record of successful collaborative research based in established research sites. For example, the MRC/Wits
Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt site) hosts joint research including:
  • APHRC and Wits' work on migration and health;
  • Wits, APHRC and Ifakara's multisite work on physical and cognitive function of older adults; and
  • Wits and Warwick's work on cardiovascular risk and stroke prevention, and on aging.
Other examples within the CARTA network include the collaborative work of APHRC, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Washington on enhancing capacity for rigorous social and behavioural science research on HIV/AIDS. Collaborative research initiatives such as these, located in affiliated field sites will provide exceptional opportunities for CARTA fellows' doctoral research, short internships, and post-doctoral placements.

CARTA institutions bring their own experiences, skills, and their wider research, teaching, scholarly and professional networks. CARTA provides a unique opportunity to build social capital to support sustainable research capacity building. Jointly we recognise the strategic importance of partnerships
and collaborations in addressing the major drawbacks to quality research in African universities.

CARTA comprises a balanced mix of institutions. It includes:
  • Established universities with a history of producing PhD graduates in public and/or population health.
  • Promising universities aspiring to develop multidisciplinary PhD programs and research agendas and committed to building their institutional capacity.
  • Established, well-managed African research institutions with longstanding research programs able to nest PhD research and host post-doctoral fellows. These sites can provide datasets for training and research. Their staff are also outstanding role models and can mentor aspiring researchers.
  • Northern partners with longstanding research and training programs with African counterparts, a demonstrable record in building equitable relationships, and a commitment to Africa. They bring experience in establishing and running successful PhD programs, ability to mentor both
  • students and PhD supervisors, and skills in building institutional research and training capacity. Warwick and TDR are able and willing to assist African universities to create the institutional capacity to manage and administer research.