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Building Capacity of Indian Scientists in Conduct of Systematic Reviews: An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Initiative

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Anju Sinha

Contact person

Anju Sinha
Abstract text
Background:The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, initiated a program to facilitate the practice of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) at the national level. Objectives: To harness the translational potential of secondary research, by funding systematic reviews aligned to national health priorities selected through a national competitive process; and to provide training, mentoring, and quality assurance, in order to ensure the timely completion of high-quality reviews Methods:In May, 2012, the ICMR advertised for letters of intent (LOIs)from Indian scientists interested in carrying out systematic reviews in maternal, perinatal, new-born, child, and adolescent health. A project review committee (PRC), consisting of clinicians with expertise in the area of EBM, critically evaluated the 36 LOIs received for their 1) suitability and relevance to current national priorities; 2)potential to identify evidence-gaps for initiation of primary research; 3)compliance with current best methods in research synthesis; and 4) the expertise of the review team, and their training needs Results:Nine proposals reviewed were shortlisted for development of full protocols, with appropriate funding assured, contingent on the submission of the protocol. Twenty three prospective authors were trained in a two-day protocol development workshop, in using Review Manager (RevMan) and GRADE Profiler software. All nine authors submitted protocols using RevMan, within three months. A protocol-refinement workshop is scheduled to be held in April, 2013. Full reviews are expected six months hence Conclusions: Adequate funding, careful pre-selection of review topics and author teams, the provision of suitable training, and quality assurance can result in short review production timelines. This ICMR initiative will help expand the pool of trained systematic reviews authors in India. It will also help identify knowledge gaps, and provide a list of research priorities to be evaluated in primary research.