Research Feature: The Global Health Network’s SiteFinder Web Portal
The Global Health Network’s SiteFinder Web Portal
Ready for your health facility to participate in diverse research opportunities?
Read more about this free, open-access online resource for developing countries!
As the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) continues to push for advances in research capacity throughout Africa, it is closely partnering with The Global Health Network to expand access to scientific content and best practices. The Global Health Network (www.theglobalhealthnetwork.org) is an open-access digital hub for researchers to share their knowledge and methods through a wide range of free online seminars and courses; eLearning modules; downloadable training kits; and country-specific regulatory advice, articles, discussions, news, templates and tools.
The Global Health Network is a collection of individual online web spaces that create subject-specific online communities of researchers who can build collaborations, develop documents, share resources and exchange information. Each member area is a separate entity with specialised goals and objectives. Many Global Health Network communities also have closed workspaces that members can set up to facilitate development of grant applications, project plans, research documents and protocols.
One such Global Health Network community is SiteFinder (www.Site-Finder.org), a free and open-access online portal which enables health facilities in developing countries to take part in diverse research opportunities. Often research sites have been involved in externally sponsored trials in one disease area and it is difficult to find further studies in which they can participate or to gain the confidence and skills to run their own independent studies. SiteFinder allows sites to make themselves known within their region and globally so they have access to diverse research opportunities.
Researchers and research sites can register to connect with product development organisations, colleagues and funding agencies across the world to further develop their experience and study diversity.Researchers and research sites can register to connect with product development organisations, colleagues and funding agencies across the world to further develop their experience and study diversity.
Research groups planning studies can let others know about their ideas, plans and request research partners. Organisations who are sponsoring trials can also conduct highly detailed and informative searches for trial sites tailored to their specific needs. Using technology adapted from dating websites, SiteFinder automatically suggests suitable collaborations and informs sites of new studies which are relevant to them.
Following a six-month pilot study, SiteFinder launched in July 2013. Over 60 research sites have already registered, with many making use of the ability to add photos and documentation such as training certificates.
Research sites and studies are already contacting one another, with several new budding partnerships, and fantastic feedback from all parties. Excitingly, research sites are also using SiteFinder as a means of building relationships with one another for local collaborations; for example, sites in Cameroon are discussing linking together to share training and resources.
Technical support for SiteFinder is always on hand to help with any questions, and live help sessions are offered every week day between 11am-1pm GMT on Skype Instant Messenger: simply add “site-finder” on Skype. You may also send an Site-Finder@theglobalhealthnetwork.org.
The Global Health Network is led by a founding steering committee and managed by a central operational team. It is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Oxford Tropical Network. Each member website has its own governance structure and details are found on each site. The Interim Founding Steering Committee is comprised of Jeremy Farrar (Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam), Trudie Lang (University of Oxford), Kevin Marsh (KEMRI-Wellcome Programme, Kenya) and Rosanna Peeling (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).
To add your research site or study to SiteFinder:
- Register for free at www.Site-Finder.org
- Select “research sites” or “studies seeking sites”
- Select add a site or study
- Complete the form; add photos, videos or docs
- Editable anytime
Select “Download” (in the top right margin) to view the article in PDF format.
Originally published in the February 2014 issue of Lab Culture newsletter.
Writers: Tamzin Furtado (TGHN), Corey White (ASLM)