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History of Medical Research in Nigeria

British academyThis partnership aims to extend the European collaborations being developed through the successful ESRC-Open Research Area (ORA) “Memorials and remains of medical research in Africa” project (2011-2014), led at LSHTM by Wenzel Geissler (GHD), to include an Africa-based partner institution, IFRANigeria, in order to develop Nigerian research, teaching capacity and scholarly production in the history of medicine, with a specific focus on the history of medical research (both clinical and pharmaceutical) in Nigeria.

It combines a training programme in theory and methodology of history of medicine in Africa with a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process for the award of field research grants to assist in the development of a new field of research in Nigerian history. The partnership will enable a strong African scholarly contingent to take part in the events and dissemination plans arising from the ESRC-ORA grant, including the constitution of a Nigerian panel at the final conference in Spring 2014, and publication of output within Nigeria and in leading scholarly journals.

Medical Research, Development and Memory in Colonial and Postcolonial Nigeria

Research Project

(a) the nature of the research theme around which the project will be built, with attention to the context and research objectives, the methodology and the research programme;

The project is built around the research theme “Memorials and remains of medical research in Africa: an anthropology of scientific landscapes, ruins and artefacts,” and delivers a significant African partnership and capacity-building component to an active European project investigating the traces of historical medical research in contemporary Africa. It builds on a growing interest in methodology in social history and social studies, in medical anthropology, and in the history of medicine in Nigerian universities.

This theme has its origin in CNRS-British Academy Grant No. 24021: “The realms of memory of medical research in Africa: traces and archives, memory and amnesia”, which funded a series of workshops culminating in the award of an European Open Research Area (ORA) grant, jointly awarded by the ESRC, ANR (France) and NWO (the Netherlands), to fund a three-year (Jul 2011 - Jun 2014) interdisciplinary investigation by an international team of historians and anthropologists into institutions and sites of medical research in sub-Saharan Africa (referred to here as the ESRC-ORA project).

This project explores the ways in which biomedical research generates memory and how its past practices are remembered, memorialized, commemorated, erased and lived with in African institutions, populations and landscapes. Combining archival and ethnographic methods, it focuses on the material forms and practices of remembering (and forgetting) medical research around medical research stations in Sub-Saharan Africa. In drawing insights across these cases, it aims to shed light on how international public health practices have evolved in response to colonial, developmental and neoliberal visions of Africa and the ways in which landscapes, bodies, personal memories and institutions in Africa have been differently inscribed by the trajectories of medical science.

This investigation has a strong dissemination and public engagement programme, a component for the development of archival resources, and a conference and publications programme. However, it does not have a funded programme for training and research based in African universities, which the proposed International Partnership seeks to address.

Nigeria, with a diverse research and university sector, a long history of indigenous and expatriate-led medical research, and a vibrant public discourse on drug and food safety and the ethics of research, is a key field for our thematic investigations. The proposed collaboration seeks to deliver Nigeria-based training, and research and teaching capacity development related to the ESRC-ORA project theme, in order to enhance the African impact and visibility of the ESRCORA project and its research aims, and to develop new research areas in the sub- Saharan African university sector.

(b) indicate who will be involved on both the UK and partner sides, and what they will be expected to bring to and gain from the process,

The Principal Investigator, Dr. Manton, is a co-Investigator on the ESRC-ORA project, based at LSHTM. He has given papers to two of the workshops organised under CNRS-British Academy Grant No. 24021, on the status, significance, and problems in the preservation of the medical record as archive in post-colonial Africa. He has taught global and African history of medicine at postgraduate level. Dr. Manton will manage the training component of the project, developing and tailoring materials on the ethics, theory and methodology of research in the history of medicine in Africa, and guiding successful field research grant awardees in their development as trainers and teachers in the field. He will benefit from a deepening of personal and institutional links with Nigerian universities, and will gain valuable experience in training, and in organising and coordinating research in a new field in Nigerian historiography.

The Co-Investigator, Dr. Chouin, is Director of Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique (IFRA-Nigeria). He is currently working on ancient epidemics in West Africa, and has a strong personal interest in the field being developed by this partnership. IFRA would provide the partnership with significant academic and logistical capacity, including:

- 2 sites in Nigeria (Ibadan and Zaria) with office space, logistical support, computers, internet access with access to scholarly journals, library space with the making of a specialized shelf with resources to the project and electricity generating capacity;
- Financial support toward grants, peer review, and international travel of trainers, and of Nigeria-based scholars to events hosted under the ESRC-ORA grant, including the constitution of a Nigeria panel at the ESRC-ORA final conference in Paris in late Spring 2014;
- Funding of a Nigerian edition of the ESRC-ORA conference proceedings;
- Travel expenses of French experts to attend the final conference in 2014;
-  A dedicated project page on the IFRA website;
-  Experience of conference organizing;
- Accountability, IFRA is an financially autonomous body which accounts are supervised by the French Ministry of Budget, has a full-time specialized accounting officer as well as accounts in euros and in naira; has experience and well-used protocol to provide research funding to Nigerian scholars

IFRA’s interest, and the ways in which it stands to benefit from this International Partnership, include:

- Developing research in health-related areas within the Social Sciences and the Humanities;
- Keeping her academic network alive and pushing further the borders of knowledge in Nigeria and West Africa
- Contributing to the betterment of higher education in Nigeria
- Fostering research collaboration between Nigeria and European countries

(c) outline the arrangements made to facilitate Intra-regional collaboration.

The African partner organisation, the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) - Nigeria, benefits from its location on the campuses of two of Nigeria’s foremost Universities, at Ibadan (UI) and Zaria (ABU), and is well-integrated into the Nigerian university research sector. It has access to a regional network of 800 academics, within and beyond Nigeria, who share its interests and assist in assessing and developing research projects with IFRA. This network will play an important role in reviewing and assessing the projects submitted under the partnership programme.

Planned Research Output

The primary aim of this partnership is in capacity development in research in the Nigerian higher education sector. A significant output rests on the academic training of 36 scholars in a domain rarely explored by African scholars, and the training will include a module on teaching issues pertaining to the history and anthropology of medicine and medical research. it is hoped that the critical mass of research and teaching seeded by this partnership can continue to be developed by Nigerian scholars and by the partners after the conclusion of the project period.

Further indication of specific publication and dissemination plans for the work carried out under this partnership are indicated in the relevant section below.

We expect this program to open collaborative projects in the area of the history of sciences and scientific research in Africa, and thus to form an important basis for the emergence of a strong and competitive cohort in the history and anthropology of medicine, which can generate globally significant research projects from a base in the African university sector.

Plan of Action

The project will be organized over a period 34 months (September 2012-Jun 2014). Each year, we will organize a 5-day training workshop at a different location, to ensure coverage of the country’s main research-oriented universities: year 1 at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, year 2 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), year 3 at the University of Ibadan (UI).

In each year, the seminar will bring together 12 post-graduate students and Ph.D. holders (Ph.D. acquired in the last 5 years) from Nigerian universities, selected through a Call for Projects dealing with our subject. The training will take the form of a workshop during which they would be exposed to current research on our topic, would discuss theoretical trends and would also look at methodological and ethical issues. The workshop would also look at teaching the subject in Nigerian universities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Participants would then discuss their project, describe the medical/research facility they would like to focus on and expand the project scope in the view of workshop discussions. After the seminar, participants will be given a 2-month period to write a detailed short-term research proposal. These will be evaluated by the team and the best 4 projects will receive a small fieldwork grant of £1200 to which IFRANigeria will add an equipment support grant to take the total to 2000 Euros, to cover a four month research period.

Successful candidates will return to subsequent years’ training workshops to present on their fieldwork and to participate in the training of further candidates. It is envisaged at the conclusion of the funded period that further funding will be sought to institute and develop the initial training programme, to develop the publication and dissemination programme, and to assist in the career development of successful participants.

The timetable is as follows

- Sept. 2011: First call for projects issued through Nigerian academic networks by IFRA-Nigeria
- November 2011: First four-day training workshop at ABU Zaria
- January 2012: Submission of final proposals
- February 2012: evaluation of proposals by project team and Nigerian peer-review panel (convened by IFRA-Nigeria) and selection of 4 beneficiaries of a research grant
- March-June 2012: Four month research fieldwork period
- July 2012: second call for projects
- September 2012: second workshop at UNN Nsukka
- November 2012: Submission of final proposals
- December 2012: evaluation of proposals/selection of 4 beneficiaries of a research grant
- January-April 2013: fieldwork
- July 2013: Third call for projects
- September 2013: third workshop at UI
- November 2013: Submission of final proposals and evaluation of proposals/selection of 4 beneficiaries of a research grant
- December 2013-March 2014: fieldwork
- Spring 2014: preparation of a Nigerian publication of research results by IFRANigeria
- June 2014: Participation of a group of Nigerian scholars at the ESRC-ORA project final conference on “Memories and remains of medical research in Africa” in Paris, with travel and accommodation funding secured by IFRA-Nigeria. Selected papers will be published as part of the dissemination programme of the ESRC-ORA project.

Plan for Publication / Dissemination

It is fully expected that this partnership will generate material for publication along the lines envisaged in the impact, publication, and dissemination plans of the successful ESRC-ORA grant "Memories and remains of medical research in Africa." These include an edited volume on the research theme, and methodological and theoretical journal articles on related themes.

Further, IFRA proposes to publish all the papers produced in Nigeria as an online volume with - the French organisation for open access academic publication in the humanities and social sciences (with whom IFRA is currently working on the details of an IFRA-Nigeria collection). IFRA will also publish the papers in print for the Nigerian academic market.

The participation of a Nigerian panel, selected from among the grant awardees, in the final ESRC-ORA conference in Paris in 2014 will enable participants to submit papers into the publications planned from this project, in major international periodicals in the history of medicine and the medical social sciences, and in Afrique Contemporaine, a leading French Academic Journal on contemporary issues in Africa, with whom IFRA has a productive working relationship.

In addition, IFRA will develop a page on its website, and diffuse the information on the calls for proposals and on the results of research through several other partner websites and also the CNRS. Information will also be made available on the LSHTM website for the ESRC-ORA project. Information about the training seminars will be shared through Calenda and H-Africa.

Other Participants

Dr. P. Wenzel Geissler, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK (in advisory capacity on training and project themes);

A panel of senior Nigerian scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences will provide assistance in peer review of projects submitted to this Partnership. IFRANigeria will administer this portion of the collaboration, using its own networks and resources.

Added value of collaboration

Recent developments in the Nigerian higher education sector have encouraged a generation of young scholars to revisit Nigerian historiography, and to explore new avenues of historical enquiry. IFRA-Nigeria wishes to support and contribute to these developments. There is a renewal in academic work and research activities in federal universities in Nigeria, and that many young researchers are interested in emerging research themes. Our project will impact almost all major universities in Nigeria from the North/Middle Belt, South-East and South-West.

This collaboration assists IFRA’s programme, by seeking to develop research in health-related areas within the Social Sciences and the Humanities; in keeping her academic network alive and pushing further the borders of knowledge in Nigeria and West Africa; in contributing to the betterment of higher education in Nigeria; and, in fostering research collaboration between Nigeria and European countries.

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