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Capacity Building in Operational Research (OR) for projects in Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) PDF Print


Capacity Building in Operational Research (OR) for projects in Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (The Trust)


Introduction: We are pleased to announce that we are organizing a yearlong capacity building program on operational research (Jan 2018 to Jan 2019) project, funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (The Trust), which aims at building OR capacity of 10 selected candidates for conducting operational research in the field of diabetic retinopathy.

The OR course begins with a five day workshop on developing the research protocol, implementing an ethically approved and technically sound project within a 6 months’ time frame, and ends with a five day workshop on how to write a scientific paper. There are milestones to be achieved for the participants to remain in the course, and the success of the course is judged on whether the participants complete their research projects and submit their papers to peer-reviewed national or international scientific journals.

Operational research definition: strategies, interventions, tools or knowledge which can improve programme performance or health care delivery.

Some examples of OR projects in DR

The below mentioned examples are to give the trainees an idea about some examples of OR projects in DR and are by no means exhaustive. We are not seeking proposals based on below mentioned examples and are open to any strategy, intervention, tools or knowledge which can improve programme performance or health care delivery for DR. • Cost benefit analysis of different DR screening models or Cost effectiveness of DR screening models • Outcomes among DR patients who fail to turn up for annual screening • Referral practices in DR screening • Patient follow up practices in DR screening or after diagnosis • Reasons for absence of a comprehensive screening process for DR in PHC settings.


To build capacity of the selected 10 participants for conducting operational research in projects that focus on DR


First workshop (research protocol development)

Followed by 6 to 9 months of operational research work by all the 10 participants(mentorship by faculty would be provided to the participants. Each candidate will be given up to a maximum of Rs 60,000 for conducting an operational research project)

Followed by a second workshop (report/publication writing)

Followed by submission of an article to a peer reviewed journal


Submission of atleast one original research paper for publication in a national or international peer reviewed scientific journal. The candidate must be the first author for the submitted article.


This OR project formally begins with the first five day workshop (08 to 12 Jan  2018) on protocol development for health professionals working in DR, that will specifically introduce operational (qualitative, quantitative and mixed) research methods with an emphasis on implementable and cost effective techniques and tools and basic data analysis plans, culminating in the participant developing his/her own feasible proposal at the end of the first workshop.

The purpose of the first workshop is to develop a thorough understanding amongst participants about what operational research is all about and to ensure that by the final day all participants have a draft research protocol, that will be refined when they return to their work places and then presented within 4 weeks to local ethics committee.

Applications of the qualitative, quantitative approaches; formulation of specific, measurable, relevant research questions; study designs and selection of appropriate methodology; research design issues; techniques for data collection-Interview, observation, focus group; library, field and action based methodological approaches, introductory techniques for sampling, power and sample size calculations; assessment of data validity and reliability in study designs; critical appraisal and ethical perspective of OR will be covered using adult learning and reflective style of pedagogy during the first workshop. The overarching goal of the first workshop is development of an original, implementable, and feasible OR proposal by each of the participant in their respective chosen professional areas.

This will be followed by a 6 month operational research project in which the participant conducts the study according to the his/her developed research question in an operational domain. A second five day workshop on report writing will be conducted in October 2018 at the end of 6 months of field work. Failure to complete the tasks after the end of the first workshop will mean no further attendance at second workshop.

An original publication in an international peer reviewed scientific journal before the end 12 months of this capacity building project (Feb 2019), minimum one per participant, by each one of the trainees as the first author (and / or corresponding author) is the envisaged outcome for the OR project.

Deliverables for first workshop:

  • The proposal and ethics submission:Within two weeks of the end of the workshop, a completed operational research protocol and a completed submission to the ethics committee.
  • To attend the second workshop, participants must have completed data collection and data analysis and which will be verified by the respective mentors.

Deliverables for second workshop:

Within four weeks of the end of the workshop a completed draft paper and submission to a peer reviewed journal. The costs for the publications would be supported.

Tentative time lines:

  • Call for the applicants: 01 Nov 2017
  • Deadline for application / nomination:15 Nov 2017
  • Selection Process: Dec 2017
  • Intimation to the selected trainees: Second week of Dec 2017
  • First workshop: 08th to 12th Jan 2018
  • Ethical permissions and project work by the 10 trainees for 6 months : Feb 2018 to Sep 2018 (Feb – March 2018 for ethical permissions and 6 month project from Apr to Sep 2018)
  • Second workshop: Oct 2018
  • Peer review submission to a journal: Nov 2018 to Feb 2019

Contents of the first workshop: Protocol development

  • Orientation, need, process/ flow to OR – building blocks
  • Identification of a SMART research question
  • Critical thinking on feasibility and implementability
  • Objectives
  • Methods: qualitative and quantitative
  • Data collection: field work techniques and tools
  • Ethical issues in OR
  • Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP) and dummy tables

Contents of the second workshop: manuscript drafting

  • Review of data analysis
  • Preparation of tables and figures for draft submission
  • Preparation for completed draft for submission

The mechanisms for follow-up:

  • Conference calls at periodic intervals and regular e-mail updates
  • Work closely with the institutional mentor for all the trainees (one institutional mentor and one faculty mentor for a trainee)
  • At least one field visit to the study site by the mentor

Profile of the candidate:

  • Early or mid-career research or project staff from the implementing partners working on the Trust funded DR project (one candidate per partner). If trainees wish to work with other institutions, they can identify mentors or supervisors from other institutes for a collaborative project work along with their partner institute
  • Public Health professionals having a two year field experience in either healthcare or eye projects.

Selection process for the candidates to attend the first workshop:

  • Based on:
    • One to two page essay (max of 1000 words) on the proposed research topic which includes details on background, study objectives, study methods and outcomes
    • Statement of Purpose (500 words) summarizing the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in operational research and learning expectations from the course.
    • Recent updated CV
    • Letter of support from an institutional mentor who would supervise the project work

Selection process for the candidates to be funded for the OR project:

Among all the candidates who have attended the first workshop, and have submitted the study protocol within one week from the end date of the first workshop, the best ten trainees will be selected for funding their OR project.

Teaching Methods:

  • Lectures and discussion to focus on key areas of operational research and protocol development
  • Showcase many examples of completed and published operational research projects to demonstrate the principles and practice of operational research
  • Engage participants in exercises on how to shape research questions and develop research protocol methodology
  • Facilitate the participants’ production of a research protocol in both word format and power-point presentation
  • Case studies of successes and failures in OR
  • Group discussions
  • Reflective perspectives
  • Adult learning techniques
  • Each day ends with an hour devoted to study proposal development by the candidate, followed by a one to one discussion with faculty and feedback by the faculty on the developed study protocol.


  • Both the workshops are being envisaged to be conducted at Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad (IIPHH).
  • Candidates need to bring their personal laptops to the course.
  • Travel, lodging and boarding charges during the course of the two workshop periods will be covered for all participants.
  • Each candidate will be given up to a maximum of INR 60,000 for conducting an operational research project.
  • Resources: Each participant will be given a pen drive containing the course lectures and the copies of papers and protocols that will be discussed during the workshops.

Note For Candidates

The candidates who wish to take part are encouraged to read carefully the requirements as mentioned below:

The candidates should send us the following documents by 15 Nov 2017

  • A concept noteup to a maximum of 1000 words on the operational research proposal that he / she will do in the field for 6 months in the fields of DR which includes – study title, objectives, methodology, outcomesand impact of the proposed study .
  • A one page statementof purpose (500 words) summarizing the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in operational research and learning expectations from the course.
  • A tentative budget and timeline for taking up the above research activity with an upper limit of INR 60,000/- (which would be for the duration of 6 months)
  • A signed statement from the candidate to undertake the entire OR process, duly attested by the at site supervisor/mentor/partner
  • A brief two page resume (CV).

All the above documents should reach us via email in a single pdf file addressed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with a cc copy to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on or before 15 Nov, 2017.

Last Modified : October 30, 2017, 5:46 pm