An international partnership between a Swedish university and the Health Economic and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has enabled the capacitation of early-career scientists on qualitative research methodologies. About 40 students and researchers had the opportunity to participate in a week-long workshop co-hosted by HEARD and UKZN’s Graduate School of Business.

HEARD’s Research Director Dr Kay Govender, said the partnership between HEARD and the University of Gothenburg’s medical school Sahlgrenska Academy,  started in 2013 and includes a student and staff exchange programme. “The partnership brings an international dynamic to the training so we are not only capacitating young researchers in public health, but bringing in a global dimension, he said. Govender co-leads a National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) partnership on research with the University of Gothenburg. A research methodologist by training, Govender specialises in quantitative and qualitative research methods including, monitoring and evaluation approaches and discourse analysis. His research interests include the psychological, social and behavioural issues related to HIV and AIDS. He has a number of publications and commissioned reports related to risk and resiliency issues facing children and, more generally, youth in the context of HIV and AIDS.

Govender and Drs Gunilla Priebe and Lina Magnussen facilitated the week-long workshop. Priebe is a senior lecturer in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, and her research focuses on health promotion, health literacy and migration. She currently leads the Health Promotion Interventions for Refugees (HIRE) project which focuses on health promotion for asylum seekers and immigrants in Sweden. Magnussen, a global health lecturer. The participants were able immediately to apply what they had learned with practical group work.

There were also HEARD PhD candidates, some of whom will be travelling to study in Sweden while from four students from Gothenburg are expected to join HEARD and UKZN for six weeks next month as part of the exchange partnership.