Background Health researchers need a free, online and reliable mechanism to record their skill set, track their career development, and identify gaps in their knowledge. Research teams also require ways to monitor and report their team’s capacity development over time. The Global Health Network, a trusted and respected digital platform, is now able to provide researchers with these tools (www.globalhealthtrainingcentre.org/pds).
Methods The Global Health Network compared diverse data types and took into account user feedback to create a professional development scheme (PDS). Together with TDR (The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases), a framework was developed with a list of the core competencies that a research team needs to demonstrate to carry out a study succesfully. A multi-functional dashboard was designed for team coordinators to assess the capacity development of individuals and groups.
Results The PDS provides researchers with a step by step process for recording their career and core competencies. The core competency framework can be applied to any research study, regardless of size of the team, place, disease focus or type of research. Team coordinators can quickly and easily produce visual records of the strengths and weaknesses in the competencies of their team and implement plans to address these gaps. Together with supporting tools in the PDS, research teams can plan staffing requirements for a study, carry out appraisals and guide the career development and training programme of research staff.
Conclusion The Global Health Network has created a flexible method and set of tools (PDS) to support researchers and teams to document their professional career and core competencies. It enables individuals and groups to easily identify and track capacity development; an essential requirement for conducting effective health research.
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