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The Center’s long-standing collaboration with the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at University of Stellenbosch, Capetown, South Africa has been awarded a D43 grant from the NIH Fogarty International Center to establish the first ever African doctoral program on research ethics. This builds on the Stellenbosch University Advancing Research Ethics training in Southern Africa (ARESA) program, principal investigators Keymanthri Moodley (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) and Stuart Rennie (UNC).

From 2011 to 2016, the Advancing Research Ethics Training in Southern Africa (ARESA) program, a collaboration between Stellenbosch University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, promoted the responsible conduct of research in southern Africa by graduating 40 mid-career professionals with a Postgraduate Diploma Health Research Ethics and by developing a transnational network for Research Ethics Committee (REC) members (REASA). Capitalizing on these efforts, the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and the Centre for Bioethics, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (USA) have recently received a D43 NIH training grant to strengthen and expand local and regional African capacity by developing the ARESA Leadership Program.

This new program, starting in Fall 2017, aims to create a sustainable critical mass of bioethics scholars at the highest level in research intensive institutions in low- and middle income countries.  This program will incorporate a doctoral program in clinical and research ethics and will offer a constellation of didactic, mentored research and career development components to enable trainees to conduct original empirical or conceptual ethics research to address challenging issues in heath research and research policy in LMICs. Trainees will be individually developed and mentored to become independent bioethics scholars, educators in bioethics, leaders in ethical review of research and experts in clinical and research ethics consultation in their institutions, governments and international research organizations.

Five Southern African trainees will be selected to participate in an intensive and interactive training program in clinical and research ethics over 3 to 5 years at the Stellenbosch University Centre for Medical Ethics. They will be exposed to research ethics committee deliberations, clinical ethics committee deliberations, conduct a research stay at UNC-Chapel Hill and complete a doctoral dissertation. To enhance bioethics leadership capacity, trainees will be individually mentored by ARESA faculty (at Stellenbosch and UNC) to develop technical and professional skills in qualitative and quantitative research methodology, manuscript preparation for publication and grant-writing, and to develop a package of bioethics training materials to be used at their home institutions. To expand research ethics capacity nationally and internationally, trainees will contribute as co-editors on the ARESA newsletter online, assume responsibility for the organization of an annual ARESA conference in Cape Town, and actively participate in the Research Ethics Committee Association of Southern Africa (REASA).