South African MRC hosts the African branch office of EDCTP Secretariat


The Hague, the Netherlands The Assembly of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) unanimously selected the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) to host the African Branch Office. The EDCTP Secretariat will have two offices, one in The Hague (the Netherlands), hosted by NWO and one now in Cape Town.

The EDCTP aims to accelerate the development of new clinical interventions to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, joining European programmes and African partners, and the relevant capacities in developing countries for the evaluation of such interventions. The African Branch Office will represent the EDCTP in Africa and provide executive, administrative and promotional support for the EDCTP programme.

"The choice of the host institution was based on a careful selection process. In a competitive bidding to host the African Branch Office of the EDCTP Secretariat, the selection committee received and carefully evaluated numerous highly qualified applications", said Dr. P. Mocumbi, High Representative of the EDCTP and ex-prime minister of Mozambique. Acting President of the SA MRC, Prof. Emeritus W. Pick said that "the MRC is pleased with the outcome of the bidding process. It is a great honour for South Africa and the MRC. We are particularly pleased as the decision of the Assembly reinforces the MRC's position as a leader in health research."

In order to secure objectivity the selection committee was composed of representatives from the governing bodies of the EDCTP and the European Commission. Applications were scored and ranked according to pre-set criteria, such as infrastructure and support in administrative functions, experience and quality of services in management of health research programmes and budget management/controlling mechanism. Three applications were short-listed for site assessment. After a site-visit the ranking was finalized and a recommendation made for a final decision on 3 March.

"In our discussions we made it very clear that the hosting institution will provide the necessary structure and services for the office to function, but it will be exactly like any other institution when it comes to competing for funding and collaboration", explained Dr. P. Olliaro, Executive Director of the EDCTP. A taskforce, with representatives of EDCTP and MRC is already in action to ensure all the necessary aspects involved with setting up the office. Dr. P. Olliaro: "We aim for the office to start operating in the second quarter of this year".

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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