By Morenike Folayan
At the just concluded 5th Nigeria Global Health Trials Conference which held on the 30th and 31st of January 2018 at the Sickle Cell Foundation Centre, Idi-Araba Lagos, Dr Pelumi Adebiyi challenged the over 250 participants present at the meeting to encourage social disruption of the research enterprise in Nigeria.
Just like many speakers who had made presentations before him, he challenged participants – many of whom were young researchers from multiple fields of practice – to promote inter-disciplinary collaborative research to redress health issues. This implies embracing diversity.
Unlike the drive to think outside the box, Dr. Pelumi Adebiyi sees merit in thinking within the box. However, within the box, one has to learn to think deeper. Thinking within the box is shifting the current paradigm of thinking outside the box. It is like ‘questioning the question’ like he continually reiterated throughout the meeting.
Questioning the question often results in the disruption of norms. It results in the conduct of research that addresses specific needs. It moves people from convention to identifying more efficient and productive ways of getting things done. There will be shakeups, challenges, innovation, and change.
For Dr Adebiyi, researchers in Nigeria will have to do things differently!
One of such new ways of doing things is moving from siloed research practices to research practices that embrace international collaborations (North-South; and South-South), multi-disciplinary collaborations, multi-site collaborations and academic-corporate collaboration.
Meanwhile, this same change had earlier being iterated by other speakers at the session.
Prof Folasade Ogunsola, one of the three Deputy Vice-Chancellors of the University of Lagos, while speaking on North-South research collaboration, explained to participants how researchers can ensure such collaboration will be beneficial for the local community and country even when the agenda is driven by the North that brings the funding.