BRIDGE mentorship initiative
Recent developments in research integrity led by Global South researchers have placed research fairness and equity at the centre of a renewed understanding of research integrity. This case is compellingly made by the Cape Town Statement on fairness, equity and diversity in research resulting from the 7th World Conference on Research Integrity.
While the research integrity agenda has typically concentrated on issues such as research misconduct and the importance of reproducibility, the Cape Town Statement “added the myriad ways in which research programmes and practices disadvantage those living in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to the suite of issues that threaten the integrity of science”.
Mentoring is often proposed as a strategy to enhance research integrity and reduce misconduct. While mentoring is traditionally seen as an exchange of knowledge and skills from more senior to more junior professionals, ‘reverse mentoring’ also holds much promise for research integrity. Mentoring more generally, and reverse mentoring in particular, hold much promise as strategies to promote an ‘inclusive’ understanding of research integrity (which encompasses fairness, equity and diversity in research). The BRIDGE guidelines for good epidemiological practice can be a useful tool to support a mentoring process for global health epidemiologists by framing conversations on integrity and fairness throughout a study’s life cycle. Based on these considerations, the BRIDGE mentorship initiative outlines the development and piloting of a mentoring programme for global health epidemiologists based on the BRIDGE guidelines.
The aim of the BRIDGE mentorship initiative is to promote research integrity and fairness in global health epidemiological studies. The specific objectives are:
To equip epidemiologists with skills to become mentors on research integrity and fairness in their own networks
To offer mentoring opportunities to researchers embarking on an epidemiological study
To create a support network of researchers committed to research fairness and integrity and a forum for exchanges of best practices to overcome dilemmas related to research integrity and fairness in global health epidemiology
To establish inter-vision groups for epidemiologists which promote life-long learning and constructive dialogue to create working cultures conducive for research integrity and fairness
The core of the BRIDGE mentorship initiative is the creation of one-on-one matches between mentors and mentees and the facilitation of structured exchanges between them throughout a one-year implementation of an epidemiological study. We envisage the programme to be implemented as a series of mentorship rounds organised by different Organizing Committees with overall guidance and oversight by the BRIDGE Steering Committee. After mentors and mentees have completed a one-year mentoring round, they will be invited to join the BRIDGE Community of Practice (CoP), an online platform that facilitates long term collaborative learning and knowledge sharing.
Started in 2023, in collaboration with colleagues from KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands