Development-oriented funding schemes such as the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) have opened up opportunities for collaborations between low-middle income countries (LMICs) and high-income country (HIC) researchers. In particular, funding for medical technology research has seen a rise in previously under-represented disciplines such as physics and engineering. These collaborations have considerable potential to advance healthcare in LMICs, yet can pose challenges experienced to researchers undertaking these collaborations. Key challenges include a lack of tradition of HIC/LMIC collaborations within participating departments, lack of experience with development agendas, designing contextually-appropriate technologies and ensuring long-term viability of research outputs. This paper reflects on these key challenges, using the experiences of the authors on the Open Laboratory Instrumentation (OLI) project as a focalizing lens. This project was a GCRF-funded collaboration between physicists in the UK and engineers in Tanzania to develop an open-source, 3D-printed, fully-automated laboratory microscope. The paper highlights key ethics lessons learnt.
- medical technologies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects
- Health(social science)
- Health Policy