What we do

COHRED’s approach to improving research for health in low and middle income countries.

Research system development is a complex process and requires a long term investment.

COHRED is specialised in supporting countries in areas such as

  • health research system assessment and development,
  • policy development,
  • priority setting and
  • research communication/knowledge translation.

Other COHRED activities and services are put into action at the regional and global levels.

This grid gives an overview of key and activities.

Technical Support      
Research & Development      
Knowledge sharing      


COHRED engages with low and middle income countries, and with global health programmes and international organisations to improve the understanding of two questions:

  • What steps do countries need to take to have health research and research systems that are effective and focused on national priorities?
  • How can global health programmes and organisations better appreciate and focus their activities and resources on countries’ specific health and health research needs?

Initiatives and partnerships aim to produce evidence to help answer these questions and advocate for change.

  • ‘AHA’: Alignment and Harmonisation – examining how the Paris Declaration can work for health research.
  • Responsible programming of vertical health initiatives.
  • Engagement of civil society organisations in health research.
  • Health Research Watch – provides a regular synthesis on international health research mechanisms, and comments on how low and middle income countries can become involved in and influence these processes.


COHRED facilitates learning and experience sharing activities throughout the year. This includes jointly organised expert consultations, regional meetings and special meetings at country level to examine key issues related to strengthening health research in countries. These exchanges aim to improve the understanding of country needs for strengthening health research systems.

Facilitation activities can bring together several countries in joint learning activities. They are done in partnership with national health research organisations (ministries, universities, councils, NGOs, etc.) to maximise learning and the exchange of experience.

Technical Support

COHRED provides technical support to countries, on request, to enable them to strengthen their health research systems. Activities include support for:

  • health research system mapping, profiling, assessment and development,
  • policy development,
  • priority setting,
  • research management and contracting and
  • research communication.

Research and Development

A core COHRED activity is to produce evidence that makes the case for effective national health research systems. This is done through collaborative research and studies done to improve the understanding of country needs and make the case for strong systems and the skills to support them at national level.

In 2008, COHRED published some 20 technical reports, peer reviewed journal articles and syntheses of learning interactions between countries. Manuals and guides are available or in preparation on:

  • health research system development,
  • policy development,
  • priority setting,
  • equitable research contracting and
  • research communication.

Innovation Support

In its work with countries, COHRED learns of practical approaches created by countries to improve health research that can be useful to others. Innovative approaches are identified and supported by COHRED so they can be shared with others. Two recent examples are a tracking tool for a country’s peer reviewed publications, developed in Tunisia, and a project registry module developed by the Brazil Ministry of Health.

Knowledge Sharing

The sharing of knowledge and experience is central to all COHRED’s activities. The results of COHRED’s work with countries are synthesized in learning materials, publications and information resources of various kinds. These are made widely available as ‘global public goods’.

Health Research Web – the global information platform on health research in low and middle income countries – is a continually evolving resource that provides national contacts, policies, and priorities. As it develops, it will include donor activities and funding information, clinical trials information, maps and assessment of research capacity in various areas, etc.

Other regional activities, such as the health research communication partnership between several East Africa institutes have been created to enable joint learning and the sharing of experience between the sharing of experience between these institutes and others on the continent.

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