Starting from 29 November, LuxOR (Luxembourg Operational Research Unit) will host its very first SORT IT (Structured Operational Research Training Initiative) in French. Funded by the Fondation Veuve Emile Metz-Tesch, this program aims to enhancing research capacity of MSF project staff, by combining mentorship by experienced researchers with a hands-on, ‘learning by doing’ approach. In this edition, six MSF staff have been selected to participate from projects in Haiti, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea-Conakry. The training will take place in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa. The design of a curriculum fully taught in French responds to a clear demand from MSF’s projects and missions to make the course accessible to francophone staff and to an observed gap in operational research outputs in low and middle-income French speaking countries.
Over a two-week, full time, course participants are supported in the definition of a research question related to the projects they support in MSF, trained in relevant research methodologies and accompanied in the write-up of the research protocol. They are subsequently followed up by their mentors for the next nine to twelve months through all the phases of their research project, from data collection to publication on a scientific journal and dissemination of the findings of their studies. The training is therefore an opportunity for MSF staff’s professional development, and a valuable resource for MSF missions and projects. Having staff trained in a SORT IT course translates in increased capacity to identify potential challenges and improve project performance in a sustainable way through operational research and innovation in operations.