Establishing a Cancer Research Consortium in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned

Sara E. Fischer MPH, Olusegun I. Alatise MD, Akinwunmi O. Komolafe MD, Aba I. Katung MD, Adedeji A. Egberongbe MD, Samuel A. Olatoke MD, Olayide S. Agodirin MD, Oladapo A. Kolawole MD, Olaejerinde O. Olaofe MD, Omobolaji O. Ayandipo, Olorunda Rotimi MD, Murray F. Brennan MD & T. Peter Kingham MD


There is an increasing effort in the global public health community to strengthen research capacity in low- and middle-income countries, but there is no consensus on how best to approach such endeavors. Successful consortia that perform research on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases exist, but few papers have been published detailing the challenges faced and lessons learned in setting up and running a successful research consortium.


Members of the African Research Group for Oncology (ARGO) participated in generating lessons learned regarding the foundation and maintenance of a cancer research consortium in Nigeria.


Drawing on our experience of founding ARGO, we describe steps and key factors needed to establish a successful collaborative consortium between researchers from both high- and low-income countries. In addition, we present challenges we encountered in building our consortium, and how we managed those challenges. Although our research group is focused primarily on cancer, many of our lessons learned can be applied more widely in biomedical or public health research in low-income countries.


As the need for cancer care in LMICs continues to grow, the ability to create sustainable, innovative, collaborative research groups will become vital. Assessing the successes and failures that occur in creating and sustaining research consortia in LMICs is important for expansion of research and training capacity in LMICs.