Capacity Building Programs


Research capacity building is a core value of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. In 2011 the organisation established a research training program for Vietnamese health care professionals. Called the Methods in Epidemiological, Clinical and Operations Research (MECOR), the training program includes annual week-long residential courses held for pulmonologists, nurses, laboratory staff and allied health workers from throughout Vietnam. It is run by Professor Guy Marks from University of Sydney, Professor Sonia Buist from Oregon and Professor Nguyen Viet Nhung from the Vietnam NTP, and allows Vietnamese health professionals to upskill while working alongside Australian and American experts in the field. The annual live-in course involves the design and implementation of locally relevant research within the Vietnamese setting, with a goal of publication in international peer reviewed literature. Over 75 students have been through the program, with some students progressing to higher research degrees following the courses. Over time, the goal will be for Vietnamese to take complete ownership of this course, to increase sustainability.


Field School

Woolcock Vietnam is working to support university students across a range of disciplines. In 2018 the team hosted its first Field School, an event bringing together masters students specialising in medicine, public health, economics and urban planning to study urbanisation in Hanoi. The program, run by the University of Sydney, involved 16 students who participated in sessions on urbanisation issues, including health care, water supply, waste disposal, green energy, urban planning, housing, culture and family structure changes, and community spaces. After three weeks of training and field work, groups of students successfully presented their study findings on urbanisation in Vietnam.

This program was funded by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) at the University of Sydney. Woolcock Vietnam plans to co-host further programs in coming years.

Student placement

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research is pleased to host multiple student placements in collaboration with University of Sydney. Since 2014, university students have been working on the ground alongside the Woolcock team in Vietnam contribute to research. These placements give students opportunities to learn about clinical studies in a real-life context and apply their knowledge to an area of interest within the study. We always encourage and create opportunities for students to take ownership of a study area, where they can provide project deliverables of benefit both individual learning and Woolcock projects. Some students continue to work with the Woolcock Institute when they apply for PhD degree.

Postgraduate students

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research provides opportunities for postgraduate students to conduct their research within the large-scale studies led by the Woolcock research team.

Short training courses

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research offers short training courses in research methods for Vietnamese researchers. In 2018, Woolcock Institute organised a three-module course on qualitative studies to introduce the basis of qualitative studies, data analysis and manuscript preparation.