Operational Research

Operational Research helps low- and middle-income countries identify local solutions to local problems that lead to changes in policy and practice.

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Operational Research

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The Union contributes to Operational Research through its Centre for Operational Research, SORT IT (Structured Operational Research Training IniTiative) Courses, OR fellowship programme and its project work.

Centre for Operational Research

The Union’s Centre for Operational Research (COR) enhances the operational research (OR) capacity of low- and middle-income countries in fields including tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

COR promotes and advocates for OR and builds the capacity of public health professionals in conducting and publishing OR.

COR provides courses in specific skills, runs the SORT IT Courses, an OR fellowship programme, and organises workshops and symposia. It also builds strategic partnerships with organisations already engaged in OR, such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR), Ministries of Health in lower middle-income countries and other international organisations.

COR evaluates and tracks the long-term influence of capacity building initiatives and the influence of OR and strategic information in changing policy and practice.

SORT IT (Structured Operational Research Training IniTiative) Courses

In collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), The Union developed a unique course in OR that has outstanding results.  By the end of the course, each participant will have designed a protocol in their field of choice, carried out the research, analysed the results, written up a scientific paper and submitted the paper to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

Since July 2012, The Union and MSF have been collaborating with WHO-TDR, and all of the OR courses have subsequently been called Structured Operational Research Training IniTiative programmes (SORT IT).

SORT IT courses aim to build capacity of public health professionals in countries with serious communicable disease epidemics and growing epidemics of NCDs. The programme provides a sustainable method for developing country-level resources, with several alumni from SORT IT courses having gone on to lead courses in their countries. Reports have shown that nearly two thirds of the publications resulting from these courses have given rise to a change in policy and/or practice at the country level.

  • The SORT IT programme offers an intensive course in OR that consists of three six-day modules spaced out over nine to 12 months and continuous online mentorship from conception to publication. Find out more and enrol.
  • SORT-IT’s open-access video resources are also available on-line, so that individuals and institutions interested in building their operational research capacity may use and adapt these materials for improving health policies, practices and outcomes.

OR fellowship programme

The OR fellowship programme provides training and mentorship to selected public health professionals who want to build a career in OR. The fellows have authored numerous research projects and submitted these papers to peer-reviewed journals, many of which have been published. Based on these publications, many fellows have also obtained PhD degrees from universities.

  • Further information about the OR fellowship programme can be obtained from Cor@theunion.org

Project work

OR has been used in many Union projects. Examples include the use of OR to test treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant TB(MDR-TB), or to investigate the transmission of Childhood TB.

You can click on the links below to view the latest Union news involving OR.

Further Information