The mission of the HIV Research Trust is to build capacity in HIV in low and lower-middle income countries by promoting study into the prevention and treatment of HIV infection to further the knowledge of early to mid-career healthcare professionals working in resource limited settings. The long-term objective is to improve outcomes for patients and people living with HIV in these regions.
History of the HIV Research Trust
The International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection was set up in 1992. The Scientific Committee decided that unspent funds should be transferred to a charity whose remit was to support researchers in resource-limited countries in obtaining further training and expertise in developing their research programmes. The HIV Research Trust (HIVRT) was established and four appointing bodies were agreed: University College London Medical School UK, The Karolinska Institute Sweden, The Amsterdam Medical Centre The Netherlands and The International AIDS Society Italy. Trustees were appointed to oversee the allocation of the funding of competitive scholarships open to researchers in all specialties concerned with HIV infection. The International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection also links to a web based resource providing health care professionals with emerging data, clinical updates, meeting reviews and latest news in HIV drug therapies and this can be found at www.hivdrugtherapy.org The HIVRT works in partnership with the International Aids Society (IAS) in advertising the scholarships.
Aims of the HIV Research Trust
The HIV Research Trust aims to support a broad mix of disciplines. The scholarships are for physicians, nurses, scientists, and other health care professionals in resource-limited settings. The Trust supports early/mid career researchers. The award should develop a candidate’s career and, on return to the home institution, add to the capacity of the department to carry out research related to treatment and prevention. Examples of acquired skills might be; clinical trial experience, good clinical trial practice, data and trial management, acquisition of laboratory techniques and analyses, trial nurse skills, statistical expertise, aspects of ethics, economics, education and health behaviour.
In the last 10+ years, the Trust has;
- Supported over 260 scholars from more than 25 countries; putting patients at the heart of activity and helping to build capacity in HIV in resource-limited settings – 82% of scholarships to date have been awarded to sub-Saharan recipients.
- Built capacity across the spectrum of HIV management – 36% of scholarships awarded are in clinical studies/pharmacology and therapeutics, 41% laboratory sciences, and 23% in population sciences.
- Augmented practical skills and techniques of scholars; scholarships completed include clinical management, clinical trial experience and practice, data/trial management, statistical expertise, laboratory techniques and analysis, cell and molecular biology.
- Established ‘working’ networks; the Trust has a large alumni group of past scholars and strong ongoing links to key centres of excellence worldwide.
- Broadened our collaborations; we have a new collaboration with the Joep Lange Institute, Netherlands to provide an annual scholarship from 2016.
- Hastened career progression; statements from scholars on impact on their career progression demonstrate local, regional and national impact e.g.
“The HIVRT provided me with the exposure to what the best practices were at a time when there were few clinicians familiar with paediatric HIV care or PMTCT and made it possible for a young Paediatrician in north-western Nigeria to be visible on the national landscape as a provider, Clinical Mentor and National Level Trainer”
“Before the scholarship, I was a PhD student. I have progressed from an Assistant Lecturer in 2007 to a Senior Lecturer and have held many leadership positions including Postgraduate Co-ordinator and Head of Department.”