Background Health research in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) is often driven by donor priorities rather than by the needs of the countries where the research takes place. This lack of alignment of donor's priorities with local research need may be one of the reasons why countries fail to achieve set goals for population health and nutrition. India has a high burden of morbidity and mortality in women, children and infants. In order to look forward toward the Sustainable Development Goals, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the INCLEN Trust International (INCLEN) employed the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative's (CHNRI) research priority setting method for maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition with the timeline of 2016-2025. The exercise was the largest to-date use of the CHNRI methodology, both in terms of participants and ideas generated and also expanded on the methodology. Methods CHNRI is a crowdsourcing-based exercise that involves using the collective intelligence of a group of stakeholders, usually researchers, to generate and score research options against a set of criteria. This paper reports on a large umbrella CHNRI that was divided into four theme-specific CHNRIs (maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition). A National Steering Group oversaw the exercise and four theme- specific Research Sub-Committees technically supported finalizing the scoring criteria and refinement of research ideas for the respective thematic areas. The exercise engaged participants from 256 institutions across India - 4003 research ideas were generated from 498 experts which were consolidated into 373 research options (maternal health: 122; newborn health: 56; child health: 101; nutrition: 94); 893 experts scored these against five criteria (answerability, relevance, equity, innovation and out-of-box thinking, investment on research). Relative weights to the criteria were assigned by 79 members from the Larger Reference Group. Given India's diversity, priorities were identified at national and three regional levels: (i) the Empowered Action Group (EAG) and North-Eastern States; (ii) States and Union territories in Northern India (including West Bengal); and (iii) States and Union territories in Southern and Western parts of India. Conclusions The exercise leveraged the inherent flexibility of the CHNRI method in multiple ways. It expanded on the CHNRI methodology enabling analyses for identification of research priorities at national and regional levels. However, prioritization of research options are only valuable if they are put to use, and we hope that donors will take advantage of this prioritized list of research options.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health