Fogarty International Center
National Institutes of Health
Grant Number 5 R25 TW001599-21

Executive Summary

The South African Research Ethics Training Initiative (SARETI) is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, Africa-based education and training programme in health research ethics based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (School of Applied Human Sciences, Discipline of Psychology). We have ongoing informal collaborations with other leading research ethics units in South Africa and elsewhere, including the HIV AIDS Vaccines Ethics Group (HAVEG) at UKZN,the Ethics, Law and Human Rights Collaborating Centre of the UNAIDS African AIDS Vaccine Program, the Bioethics Institute at the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Mapping of ethics review capacity in sub-Saharan Africa (MARC), Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), Training and Resources in Research Ethics Evaluation (TRREE) and the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). The overall goal of SARETI is to build African capacity for the ethical review of health research, and to strengthen Africa’s institutional training capacity necessary to achieve and sustain this aim. To achieve these goals, SARETI offers Training and Support programmes. SARETI Training comprises a multi-disciplinary, modular Masters degree programme with funding for 14 sponsored and additional self-funded trainees over a 5-year period; and short course attendance for self-funded applicants. More students are invited to participate using their own or independently sourced funding.

The core of the advanced training programme consists of:

  • modular learning at UKZN,
  • practical work with ethics review committees, and
  • completion of a dissertation / research paper on a topic of relevance to strengthening health research ethics at the trainee’s home institution.

The SARETI Support programme supports continuous professional education of Africa-based faculty, and supports the top trainees of the training programmes to attend a unique internship. The best student, as judged by SARETI Faculty, will spend 1 month based at COHRED in Geneva from where the student will work:

  • at the Ethics Review Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO); and 
  • on the Training and Education for Research Ethics Review (TRREE) programme at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland.

This placement will offer this top student an entry into global health research ethics activities, and consolidate their training.

At the end of the 4th year of the programme (2006), SARETI organised an Africa-wide Health Research Ethics Symposium (AHRES) in Dakar, Senegal, in collaboration with other African Ethics organizations and with supplementary funding from the Wellcome Trust, to increase the impact and networking potentials of the SARETI training programmes, to facilitate African exchange in health research ethics, to strengthen Africa’s voice in this field, and to offer an opportunity for trainees to present their work to their peers. A similar symposium was held in 2010 in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa, at the end of the second funding cycle also with assistance from the Wellcome Trust.

A limited number of fully funded scholarships are available annually on a competitive basis for the degree programme. Applicants for the scholarships should be serving members of African IRB's or Research Ethics Committees, or research ethics role players in their home institutions, and must meet other selection criteria.

SARETI Research focuses on ‘hands-on’ research efforts that will help to modify the conduct of health research in ways that will best serve the health and development of Africa and its people. SARETI will encourage students to engage in research projects which examine ethical aspects of health research and review of health and related research.

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