Office of Research and Development (ORD) Research Ethics Assistant, Ms Julia Gaorekwe, is flying the University of Botswana flag high following her successful completion of the 2019 Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) fellowship programme.
Thus, after successful completion of the programme, Ms Gaorekwe was appointed WCG-WIRB (COPERNICUS GROUP) reviewer with voting privileges for panel(s) 1, 2,3,4,5. Founded in 1968, WIRB offers research review services for more than 400 institutions, all major sponsors, contract research organizations and individual investigators in all the 50 states in United States of America and globally.
Therefore, Ms Gaorekwe’s appointment means that the University of Botswana as well as the country are represented in a renowned international review board.
Consequently, Ms Gaorekwe’s ultimate goal is to help build an effective research compliance programme for the University of Botswana. She says compliance is an essential component to the University success as it is directly linked to its mission, vision and values that seek to create a thriving and inclusive community.
“Compliance is not an isolated activity, it happens every day with every decision as it translates to sponsors trust and public confidence to the University,” she reckons.
Meanwhile, the WIRB fellowship programme that Ms Gaorekwe went through has been designed for global research professionals who intend to establish or improve Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in their home countries. It helps participants to develop the knowledge necessary to create, manage, and/or administer IRBs that will operate in compliance with all relevant regulations and ethical standards intended to protect the rights and welfare of human research participants.
WIRB’s International Fellows Programme is based in Puyallup and includes training in human research ethics at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. The fellows supplement their NYU coursework with practical training, mentorship and participation of actual IRB meetings at WIRB in Washington State and observation of meetings in local research hospitals such as Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Institutional Review Board meetings.
Ms Gaorekwe says she participated in the site visits and interactions with the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH (a global health organization which focuses on vaccines, diagnostics, devices, system and service innovations, and implements solutions that saves lives and improve health especially among women and girls).
In addition, she also attended the 2019 North West Association for Biomedical Research Clinical Conference in Seattle, Washington State.
Ms Gaorekwe is also winner of the 2017 Early Career Excellence in Research Management award. The award recognises outstanding individuals in southern Africa who have been in research management or innovation for less than five years from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), South Africa (and Southern Africa Research Management Association (SARIMA).
In 2018, she was nominated to become shadow advisory board member of the EU storm project in which the overall aim is to promote research outcomes, innovation and impacts which will be advanced through capacity building and professionalisation of a globally connected and skilled group of research managers in higher education institutions (HEIs). This project will also promote collaboration and mutual understanding between the EU and SADC regions. Project team members are: University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), University of Namibia and Namibian University of Science &Technology.
The University of Botswana is also a member together with BOCODOL, University of Bristol, United Kingdom; Copenhagen University, Denmark and Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania.
Project Associates are the Association of Commonwealth Universities, European Association of Research Managers and Administrators (EARMA), Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) UK and Thomson Reuters.