The College of Medicine will, from Thursday 7th November to Friday 8th November 2019 hold the 2019 College of Medicine Research Dissemination Conference at the College’s main campus in Blantyre. This year’s theme is “Addressing sustainable development goals through multidisciplinary research”. During this conference, participants will discuss and reflect on addressing sustainable development goals through multidisciplinary research in Malawi. The conference will also provide researchers and professionals a platform for disseminating their findings, exchanging contemporary knowledge and building partnerships and collaborations to advance research and innovation, thereby contributing to sustainable development. As it has been year after year, the conference will also have researchers sharing findings from research studies with a view to keeping the public, researchers and policy makers informed of current research activities relevant to human health in the country.
The College of Medicine was opened in 1991 as a community medical school offering different health related courses. The opening of the college was also in the view of conducting research relevant to Malawi and the rest of the world. Within this vein, the college has been conducting Research Dissemination Conferences since 1997. With the rise in research activities at the college, the Research Support Centre was established in 2006. Research Support Centre is an arm under the College of Medicine whose sole purpose is to promote research by providing comprehensive research support and grants management services to college of medicine faculty members, students and research affiliates. Since it’s opening, the Research Support Centre, with help from the College of Medicine and several sponsors, has been facilitating Research Dissemination Conferences.
OPENING CEREMONY: The opening ceremony is made up of speeches mainly by the guest of honour, Principal of College of Medicine and Unima Chancellor. There are also Keynote speakers. A key note speaker is someone who is responsible for setting the tone for the conference, the key note is supposed to outline the framework for the conference highlighting the main theme for the conference. During Speed Talks, College of Medicine Departments, the post graduate dean and directors of the affiliates briefly outline what their departments, organizations have achieved over the years and also outline their plans for the coming year.
ORAL AND POSTER PRESENTATIONS: Researchers are expected to present their research findings to an audience, after which, the audience is given time to ask questions and make comments on the presentation. These presentations are arranged according to themes (i.e HIV, TB, Non Communicable Diseases, e.t.c). Oral Presentations are delivered at four different locations at once over a specified period of time; these are presented according to themes. On the other hand, Poster presentations involve researchers presenting their research findings through posters. The posters include an introductory section, a brief literature review, methodology, findings, conclusions, recommendations and references.
SCIENCE CAFÉ: The science café is a discussion on a particular theme involving a number of panellists (mostly four or five). The panellists include experts in the field, the general public, researchers and lecturers.
JOHN CHIPHANGWI LECTURE: In honour of the late John Chiphangwi, the conference holds lectures that were coined John Chiphangwi lectures. John Chiphangwi was one of the pioneers, founder and first Malawian principal of the College of Medicine.
EXHIBITIONS: Different organisations, corporate companies and individuals showcase their products and services through their pavilions which are visited by guests of the conference.
PRIZES: During the conferences, there are judges whose sole responsibility is to select best presenters based on predetermined criteria. Prizes are given to the best presenter (general category), Best presenter (Post graduate students), Best Presenter (Undergraduate students). Prizes are presented to winners during the closing ceremony by the College of Medicine Principal.
Every year, the conference happens under a theme. These themes are mostly health related. Speeches and presentations that are made on the conferences therefore circulate around the theme. The following are the themes for the past Research Dissemination Conferences since 2000:2019: Addressing sustainable development goals through multidisciplinary research