Capacity building activities

COMPASS has provided us with the opportunity to develop a program of continuing education and development for postdoctoral staff in the transition from completing a PhD to becoming independent researchers.

The program has a number of components:

  • Individual mentoring by lead investigators that involves specific supervision, mentoring and support;
  • Opportunities for co-mentoring by team investigators who themselves bring a wide range of skills and expertise to COMPASS;
  • A personal development and skills development program with a focus on strengthening personal capacities and developing research leadership, as well as providing practical skills, such as research project management, writing skills (for grant applications and for publication); and skill development for public health advocacy and research transfer;
  • Capacity-building through participation in multi-disciplinary research that addresses complex problems with appropriately conceptualised interventions to address them;
  • A program of two workshops per year open to all members of the three participating research groups – our first workshop has just been held on the ‘uses and abuses of focus groups’;
  • A short course on complex interventions, also open to the wider public health community.

The course provides a forum for researchers interested in complex interventions in public health where they can:

  • Develop an appreciation of the challenges in designing, implementing and evaluating complex interventions in public health;
  • Participate in discussions with other researchers with past and current experience of complex interventions;
  • Discuss and critically appraise the tools and models available for thinking about and implementing complex interventions;
  • Have an opportunity to present and discuss work in development or problems encountered, and receive feedback; and 
  • Develop capacity to participate in the design and conduct of complex interventions in important areas of public health endeavour.

View the presentations from the 2008 short course.

Finally, a book is planned on public health research methods with a focus on complex questions, settings and interventions, with contributions based on the past and ongoing research of COMPASS investigators.