Research Grant Program
In Bangladesh, tobacco control is considered a low priority issue compared to other health-related programs. Tobacco control-related research has historically not been a popular topic within the academic community in Bangladesh. Therefore, there is a dearth of facts and figures needed to design and develop an effective tobacco control program in Bangladesh. The overall objective of the program is to popularize the tobacco control research in Bangladesh and generate local evidence to support effective tobacco control interventions in the country, and thus prevent deaths and diseases from tobacco use.
With funding support from the Bloomberg Initiative (BI), the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland, USA and Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research Network continued its efforts in undertaking the Tobacco Control Research Grant Program in Bangladesh.
The Tobacco Control Seed Research Grant Program, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was introduced in 2013. Involving capacity building workshops covering the whole spectrum of the research process, the program has been implemented over the last four years with an emphasis on engaging graduate student researchers. All Bangladeshi postgraduate students and established researchers aspiring to contribute to tobacco control are eligible to apply for the grants.
The specific objectives of the program are to:
- Enhance the local evidence-base on tobacco control in Bangladesh
- Develop a self-sustaining network as a forum for tobacco control researchers to exchange ideas, share research findings, generate new tobacco control research and utilize their findings.
- The student should be enrolled in a postgraduate program in Bangladesh. A proof of enrollment must be submitted with the proposal.
- Applicant should be available in the country throughout the research period.
- Researchers having a Masters, M.Phil, or PhD. degree and affiliated with any university, institution or organization in Bangladesh can submit a proposal. The applicant must submit a No Objection Letter from the applicant’s respective organization to conduct the research once selected.
- Freelance researchers based in Bangladesh having a Masters, M.Phil., or PhD can also submit a proposal.
The research topic must be within the themes provided below and the priority issues of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use (monitor tobacco industry activities; protect people from tobacco smoke; warn about the dangers of tobacco through mass media campaigns and health warning labels; enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; raise taxes on tobacco). Proposals on generating local evidence that would contribute to developing a new policy or strengthen an existing one in line with the components of World Health Organization’s MPOWER package (http://www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/en/) are recommended. Interventional studies, proposals on quitting tobacco use, sub population based studies and evaluations of in-country tobacco control projects are currently considered to be non-priority issues.
Proposal Selection Process:
BCCP follows a rigorous process for selection of research proposals every year. A Proposal Review Panel comprising of renowned researchers and tobacco control experts from home and abroad reviews the proposals. The Panel considers the following while selecting the winning proposals:
- Priority issues of Bloomberg Initiative
- Expected policy implications
The review panel follows a three-step review process. In the first step, preliminary screening is done to see whether proposals follow the proposal submission guideline. The second step involves the technical scoring while in the third step, applicants present their proposals to the review panel. Combining the scores from the technical evaluations and presentations, a merit list is prepared.
Implementation of Grant Program:
BCCP has a highly experienced and dedicated team having both technical and managerial expertise to manage the grant program. The research team is led by a Senior Deputy Director (Research and Evaluation) and has members representing diversified backgrounds including statistician, anthropologist, epidemiologist, sociologist, and nutritionist. The team nurtures grantees by providing mentorship in every step of research work, including questionnaire development, data collection, data entry, data analysis, and report writing. The following mentoring workshops are organized and facilitated for the research grantees:
- Research Capacity Building Workshop
- Research Method, Procedure and Data Collection
- Data Management, Analysis and Report Writing
- Effective Presentation Development and Facilitation Skills
As of 2016, sixty researchers including both established and graduate student researchers have been awarded seed research grants. Following each grant cycle, the research findings have been disseminated through scientific conferences. Print and electronic media covered the news of the conferences and published special news/articles on the individual research studies. Different organizations working on tobacco control have been utilizing the research findings to design Social and Behavior Change Communication and advocacy programs. Some research studies have been published in national and international journals. The findings of some research studies have also been presented at national and international conferences.