In September 2017 Doctor Suzanne Staples left for the Netherlands for 1 year as the recipient of the EDCTP -TDR Clinical Research & Development Fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is to build capacity in African researchers through placement at a European Scientific research organisation. Through this placement fellows learn and understand the operation of a scientific clinical research organization, to improve their capacity for conducting future research. To this end, Dr. Staples was welcomed at Julius Clinical based in Zeist, The Netherlands. A scientific Clinical Research Organisation.
Her personal objective for her time abroad was to improve her research capacity in order to conduct investigator-initiated trials, as well as to learn as much as she could in order to grow and expand THINK further upon her return. This experience would also enable her to expand her reach and build capacity at institutions throughout Africa to conduct clinical trials of the highest quality. To build on her experience as TB clinician and clinical trialist she also set out to gain more knowledge of what goes into setting up a trial and other behind the scenes activities usually not dealt with by a trial site.
During her time at Julius clinical Suzanne was involved in various projects and collaborating with the different departments, from business development to joining protocol writing teams. Being affiliated, through the fellowship, with the University of Utrecht she was able to sign up for various academic courses and received certificates for completing courses in epidemiology, introductory statistics as well as grant/proposal writing.
After her return in September 2018 Dr. Staples is full of renewed energy and enthusiasm about the future of clinical research in Africa and has started working on various reintegration projects including workshops and research proposals. She has also left Julius Clinical with many new friends, colleagues and advisers that will hopefully lead to fruitful collaborations in future.