HEARD’s research director Dr Govender was recently awarded a National Research Foundation and Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education research capacity building grant to forge systematic research on health systems and HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). The principle objective of the three year grant is to foster scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries, South Africa and Sweden. The cooperation between HEARD, UKZN and its research partners at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden will focus on programmatic research and development activities aimed at the implementation of joint research projects and student and staff exchanges. This research grant will provide the foundation for innovative work on strengthening health systems in ESA region through evidence based research and building the capacity of early career researchers on health systems research.