What is international prevention research?

International collaboration:

  • Working jointly to build capacity within and across countries
  • International research teams

Steps that help achieve these aims:

  • Sharing of information on researchers, projects and other kinds of research knowledge (e.g. conferences, online/paper journals)
  • Networks which help connect researchers (and others) with each other across national boundaries
International research

Why do we do international research?

Overarching aim: To maximise the quality and impact of the research we do

Specific aims:

  1. Bring together otherwise separate ‘national’ knowledge, to expand out understanding of an issue or problem (i.e. pursuing generic knowledge on prevention as a science)
  2. Help translate knowledge from one setting to another (e.g. transporting interventions from one context to another)
  3. Build capacity in countries that may have limited resources/expertise
  4. Develop individuals’ skills and careers

1. Bringing together different sets of knowledge to increase understanding of an issue/problem

  • Many of the issues which we study are complex
  • They are beyond the capacity of any single national team
  • Different contexts, cultures, perspectives help build our understanding
  • So international collaboration builds capacity to answer questions that would not be so fully answered within any one country
  • International research values diversity and difference both in terms of the experiences of those we work with and the different perspectives of researchers across countries
  • Information on how problems may vary in their nature and causes across settings – helps us understand role of social and cultural context
  • Some of the best people in your field may be in other countries

2. Translating knowledge from one setting to another

  • Disseminating interventions to new settings is a key example
  • Shares expertise rather than duplicating it
  • Increases our understanding of how
    • Risk and protective factors function across contexts
    • Similarities and differences in how interventions work across these settings
  • Can’t assume that what works in one place will work in the same way in other settings – need context specific knowledge

3. Build capacity in countries that may have limited resources/expertise

  • Individual projects and interventions are important but they form part of a broader system
  • Resources and research infrastructures are unevenly distributed
  • Many low/middle income countries have limited resources and research infrastructures
  • These countries often have high levels of need Governmental support for prevention varies
  • International networks/organisations can help advocate for greater investment and commitment to prevention

4. Benefits of international research for individuals

  • Opportunities to:
    • Form new collaborations
    • Be exposed to new ideas and ways of working
    • Learn more about how issues familiar to you operate in unfamiliar settings
  • Making our own assumptions conscious and explicit
  • Providing evidence of international collaboration can be good for your career
  • Benefits for individual researchers should be symbiotic with those for projects and research systems