09.07.2012 - 13.07.2012 | Astana, Kazakhstan

Workshop: Introduction to research methods in the era of the internet

The first Central Asian workshop «Introduction to research methods in the era of the internet» took place in Astana from 9-13 July 2012. The workshop resulted from a joint effort of the WHO Collaborating Center,theDepartment of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Center for Life Sciences, Nazarbaev University.
The opening day of the workshop was attended by USA Ambassador K.J. Fairfax and representative from the Ministry of Health of Republic of Kazakhstan M. Teleuov. The workshop was held on the premises of Nazarbaev University and involved participation of over 50 participants from Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and faculty from USA, Russia and Kazakhstan. Each day a keynote was given by leading specialists from Kazakhstan, Poland and USA. The working language of the workshop was English.

The primary topics of the workshop were:

  • Research methods in epidemiology and statistics
  • Statistical software
  • Generation of innovative hypothesis
  • Application of new technologies in epidemiology
  • Scientific publication and writing
  • Global Health in modern world.

These topics were chosen to build capacity to publish internationally . Despite the high intellectual and innovative potential of the young scientists in the Central Asian region, they are hampered by the lack of training in research design, statistics and publication skills. Therefore, there is a need for adopting global knowledge in the area of research skills and public health. Moreover, the scientific community of Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries needs to facilitate scientific interconnections and links with developed scientific centers world wide. The introduction of such workshops is a way to incorporate worldwide trends into science in Kazakhstan and will help young and promising scientists in their future careers, in addition to boosting their scientific productivity and help the Central Asian students to become global health scientists and join the global network of science.

The aim of the workshop was to include scientific productivity and encourage global scientific networking in countries of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan

The workshop gathered more than 50 participants from 21 different institutions from 5 major cities in Kazakhstan, from Jagiellonian University, Poland and from healthcare organizations of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This was the first research of its kind in Central Asia. The candidates were chosen from promising researchers in the area of medicine, public health, biotechnology and epidemiology. Despite only limited advertisement more than 90 applications were received and due to enormous interest to the workshop the number of participants was increased from 30 to 50 attendants. For every participant from outside of Astana housing and food was provided. Several travel grants were available for participants outside of Kazakhstan. The participants attended lectures, group break sessions and computer classes. The participants were introduced to Central Asian Journal of Global Health which is aimed to bring the research from Central Asia to an international arena. Each participant worked in a group to create innovative hypothesis and submitted creative ideas. Upon completion each participant was granted a certificate and disc with all the workshop material including lectures, photographs, video files and software; memorable prizes were awarded for best innovative ideas and group work. The workshop was widely covered in the local media and the official page of the US Embassy in Kazakhstan. The teaching faculty met with USA Ambassador K.J. Fairfax, vice-minister of Education and Science M. Orunhanov, president of Nazarbaev University S. Katsu, president of NCSTE A. Jumabekov and visited clinics of National Medical Holding.

The workshop spiked an interest in the regional and global science and technology communities and acquired positive reviews from all the participants. By the end of the workshop 90% of the participants were happy with the presented material and 100% would recommend it to their colleagues. Many participants thanked teaching faculty and organizers and expressed a wish to participate in the following workshops. The participants agreed to disseminate the ideas of the workshop and teach others on the importance of global health. All the participants joined the Supercourse network of over 50,000 scientists all over the world. The workshop laid the ground work for extensive scientific and technological networking for researchers from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Poland, Tajikistan and USA. The workshop solidified the bridge between the WHO Collaborating Center at the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and Nazarbaev University (Kazakhstan) and was a sign of long standing scientific collaboration and scientific interchange between two countries. Also, people were most appreciative of USAID and NU for holding this major event.

The students were asked to present about the course to at least 40 others in their institution. Already, students have presented about the course to their peers. Overall, the students and faculty believe that this was a very important step to increase scientific capacity in Central Asia.

Faculty: R. LaPorte, J. Dorman, F. Linkov, T. Songer, E. Shubnikov, E. Tseytlin, P. LaFleur
Organizing committee: A. Sharman, Zh. Zhumadilov, R. Issaeva, Sh. Askarova, Sh. Adambekov

Source: Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Washington