Director of Research Base – Epicentre

Epicentre is a non-profit organisation created in 1987 by Médecins
Sans Frontières (MSF), which groups health professionals specialised in public
health and epidemiology. In 1996, Epicentre became a World Health Organization
Collaborating Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Response to Emerging
Epicentre carries out operational
research studies, mainly within MSF movement from its headquarters in Paris,
satellites in Geneva, Brussels, Barcelona, New-York and two field research
bases in Uganda, and in Niger. Further, Epicentre offers its expertise to
organisations requesting short-term field epidemiological studies in developing
Within the scope of clinical
research, Epicentre focuses on infectious diseases, particularly malaria,
HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and some neglected tropical diseases.
History of Epicentre and the Ugandan Context
In 1995, Epicentre created a
permanent research base in Uganda to support MSF projects in the region. In
1997, Epicentre conducted its first survey on shigella resistance in Mbarara.
The primary role of Epicentre in Mbarara is to conduct clinical research
following Good Clinical Practice (GCP) requirements, on critical public health
burdens in Uganda and Africa. To reach this objective, Epicentre collaborates
closely with the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). A
full-time experienced research team is based at the Epicentre Mbarara Research
Base (EMRB). After a period characterized by research projects mainly oriented
towards clinical trials on malaria, our research activity has been recently
extended to include projects on tuberculosis and infectious diseases in
The Mbarara research base is
located in Mbarara Municipality, a town of 69,000 persons located 300 km
South-West to Kampala. Mbarara District has a population of approximately
600,000 inhabitants, and is mainly rural. The main health facility is Mbarara
National Referral Hospital which is also a teaching hospital for the MUST. This
is the referral hospital for the Western region of Uganda with a capacity of
240 beds. The research base is structured into several departments: medical
resources, laboratory, information system, administration, and logistics.
General responsibilities and position
Under the supervision of
Epicentre’s Clinical Research Director, the Director of the Epicentre Mbarara
Research Base will:
  1. Represent Epicentre in Uganda
  2. Manage the EMRB with the
    coordination team
  3. Lead the research strategy
Principal activities
Representation of Epicentre in Uganda
The Director is the
representative of Epicentre in Uganda. He/she will in Uganda:
  • Be responsible for the respect of
    Epicentre ethic and values
  • Ensure that the projects are
    coherent with the overall Epicentre vision
  • Coordinate the implementation of
    the scientific communication strategy
  • Maintain good relationships with
    national Ugandan authorities and international institutions
  • Promote scientific collaborations
    with the “Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)” and other
    academic institutions
  • Represent Epicentre during
    official and institutional meetings and present Epicentre activity and strategy
    when needed
Leadership of the research strategy and
research projects
He/she will:  
  • Constitute and chair the EMRB
    Advisory Board, comprising representatives of the MUST and Mbarara regional
  • Lead the assessment of the
    research-related needs at the different levels (local, national and
  • Participate to the various
    Epicentre / MSF / working groups meetings when needed
  • Participate to the analysis of
    research priorities by liaising with the technical advisors (from Epicentre HQ
    or working groups) and by seeking other expertise when required
  • Develop a 2-year research plan
    with his/her colleagues from Epicentre HQ , taking into account the advices of
    the Advisory Board, and coordinate its implementation
  • Follow the scientific literature
    and keep updated in the scope of the research agenda of the EMRB
  • Translate the research priorities
    identified into operational / financial / human resources /logistic terms
  • Participate with his/her
    colleagues to the writing of concept notes and research proposals
  • Coordinate the various components
    of the annual strategy review and review the final report and presentation
  • Review all scientific
    communication from the EMRB
Management of the EMRB
The Director is responsible for
the overall organization of the management of the EMRB and is in charge of a
smooth communication between EMRB and Epicentre HQ.
He/she is assisted by a
Management Committee composed of the administration coordinator, the laboratory
coordinator, the medical resources coordinator, the logistic coordinator and
the information system coordinator. In collaboration with them, he/she will:
  • Support the implementation of all
  • Ensure that the clinical research
    projects follow the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Good Laboratory practices
  • Ensure that the human resources
    (expatriates and national staff) are adequately recruited in terms of skills
    and qualifications, properly trained to fulfill their tasks
  • Coordinate the annual individual
    reviews and establish the training and continuing education plan
  • Be in charge of the health policy
    of the staff, comprising insurance policy, infection control plan (implemented
    and followed) and professional health plan
  • Be responsible of the respect of
    the study budgets, participate to the external funding raising when necessary
    and negotiation with the sponsors / funds providers, be responsible of the
    respect of the agreement/contract applications
  • Be responsible for the
    information system policy
  • Ensure that the lab techniques
    are implemented in accordance with the research strategy
  • Ensure the adequate logistic
    support to the EMRB and the studies
  • Ensure that the security level is
    properly adapted to the situation and security measures deployed in due time
Candidate requirements
  • Medical Doctor
  • Minimum 3 years experience in
    senior public health or research management positions in resources-limited
  • Experience in representation and
    negotiation with national health authorities and other health and/or research
  • Knowledge or clinical experience
    in infectious diseases
  • Intermediate knowledge of
    quantitative epidemiological research
  • Fluent in English (written and
  • Good communication and
    negotiation skills
  • Willing to work and live in rural
  • Clinical or epidemiological
    research academic level : MSc, MPH, PhD
  • Previous professional experience
    in research in developing countries
  • Previous experience of
    management/direction/coordination of a research team
  • Previous experience with MSF as
    Head of Mission or Medical Coordinator
  • Intermediate knowledge in
  • Previous experience in legal and
    budget negotiation, agreements writing with academic research institutions
Working Conditions
Expatriate MSF/Epicentre
Duration: 24 months
Expected starting period:
between 1st July and 1st September 2012
Place: Mbarara, UGANDA
How to apply: 
Please send your CV and
motivation letter by e-mail with ref DEMRB to Nathalie Guérineau: For additional
information, please contact Jean-François Etard :
Deadline of application: May 31st 2012

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