Call for more researchers

Education

SKILLED national researchers are needed in the country which the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (IMR) is ready to produce, an official says.
IMR senior researcher Mexxy Kakazo said the number of staff pursuing further post-graduate studies had increased over the years with a total of 124 awards received by nationals through its training plan, which was established in 2006
Kakazo said the awards included seven PhDs, 35 masters and 37 honours and 20 of their staff were currently studying.
Of the awardees, he said 58 per cent were female.
He said the vision and mission of IMR was to improve the health and wellbeing of the people by assisting the Health Department with locally relevant research to foster evidence-based public health policy while also contributing to global health knowledge and innovation.
Kakazo said IMR established the human resource capacity development programme to improve its role.
He said the programme included post-graduate training and short skills-based training and they worked in collaboration with local and international universities.
He said these collaborations would be fundamental in continuing post-graduate studies at IMR.
He said IMR was established 50 years ago with a handful of staff who were mostly expatriates with a few nationals.
Kakazo said the number of staff increased steadily over the years and currently, there were 376 staff, the majority of them were nationals.
“Full localisation is not an agenda but having local capacity performing to international levels is a desire,” he said.
Kakazo said this was because the common medical problems in PNG were on the research agenda and priority of IMR which required local and expatriate expertise and collaboration and training to deliver research in line with international standards for the success of the health sector and sustainability of the organisation.
He said IMR was on target to produce sufficiently skilled national researchers and medical students could venture into research with them.
Kakazo said IMR had a wide range of scientific research expertise and were capable of conducting any research required by the department or the Government.
However, he said they still required more support.

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