The Union’s call for increased Global Fund investment in operational research for TB sees progress

A report from Treatment Action Group (TAG) on research funding trends for tuberculosis (TB) acknowledged some progress seen in Global Fund investment into operational research. The report, which analyses funding trends and new data for TB funding, highlighted a Union editorial, published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) in September 2019 by The Union’s Department of Operational Research, on the Global Fund’s critical role in supporting operational research. The editorial recommended that the Global Fund identify a cost category for TB-related operational research; that Global Fund Portfolio Managers be aware of the benefits of operational research; and that the Global Fund track and report outcomes of any research they support.

For the first time in the history of the TAG Report, the Global Fund provided an estimate of its annual spending on TB operational research which totalled US$10.5 million in 2018, making it the 17th largest funder of TB research overall.

In April 2019, The Union held a webinar on Embedding operational research into a National Tuberculosis Control Programme (now open access). The webinar focussed on how operational research, if relevant and well-conducted, can improve the performance of national TB control programmes. In the discussion section, webinar participants reported difficulties in obtaining funding for operational research.

The Global Fund’s ‘Tuberculosis Information Note’ was released in July 2019 to guide applicants with their requests for TB funding in the next funding cycle highlighted operational research as a priority and key TB intervention.  The Global Fund participated in a second Union webinar in September 2019, titled Financial support for operational research within Global Fund investments (that webinar is now also open access). That discussion featured a case study of a Global Fund-supported operational research capacity building project and a presentation from Dr Mohammed Yassin, Senior TB Advisor of the Global Fund, on how best to include OR in upcoming proposals.

This webinar series was developed to help researchers successfully obtain funding and to strengthen operational research worldwide. Union members get exclusive access to participate in these live sessions, which are then shared publicly after a three-month period. Members also benefit from a free subscription to the IJTLD. Find out more about becoming a member of The Union to access these exclusive benefits.