Towards diaspora-driven research capacity strengthening in low- A nd middle-income countries: Results from India and Nepal

Varshini Varadaraj, Anju Ranjit, Joseph Nwadiuko, Joseph Canner, Marie Diener-West, Eric B. Schneider, Sadras Panchatcharam Thyagarajan, Rajeev Shrestha, Neeraja Nagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Biomedical research from high-income countries often informs practice and policy in low- A nd middle-income countries (LMICs) with vastly different socioeconomic and health systems. Engagement of LMIC-based researchers is integral to setting research priorities in the local context. Methods: A program, comprising a research seminar and workshop, and utilizing diaspora health professionals to understand research needs and build research capacity in LMICs, was created and pilot-tested at two institutions in India (65 participants) and Nepal (30 participants). Pre- A nd post-program surveys were instituted to assess participants' attitudes towards research. Results: In the pre-program survey, most participants (India: 76%, Nepal: 100%) perceived research as 'very/extremely important' in their careers. However, a majority felt that finding time (India: 75%, Nepal: 81%) and funding (India: 82%, Nepal: 100%) for research was 'difficult/very difficult'. After the program, 86-91% and 86-100% of participants from India and Nepal, respectively, felt that the various courses were very useful/useful for their research careers. Conclusions: Research is seen as an integral part of educational training and career advancement in LMICs. However, inadequate training, funding and mentorship remain a challenge. Engagement of diaspora health workers may serve as an important avenue for collaborative biomedical research capacity strengthening in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalInternational health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Diaspora health workers
  • low- A nd middle-income countries
  • research attitudes
  • research barriers
  • research capacity strengthening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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