Global Health Trials celebrates fifth birthday by thanking its contributors

May 12, 2015

11 May 2015 marked a major achievement, the fifth birthday of global health research community, Global Health Trials. The outstanding success of this initiative is owed to its diverse, international body of researchers who contribute their time and research experience to build research capacity; using the Global Health Trials platform as a tool for success.

Global Health Trials ( is an online community of practice, where researchers working in global health come together to share their knowledge about how to conduct health research, with the aim of enabling the generation of life-saving evidence in places and situation where research is difficult and rarely happens. It works because it is free and it’s a neutral and truly collaborative space, making it unique; scientists are well known for not sharing how they do their work!

Five years ago, Global Health Trials was launched to provide frontline healthcare workers with access to all the tools, training and knowledge they would need to set up their own studies. It began as a resource library and discussion forum; researchers could share their guidance articles about conducting research, and could ask one another questions and share their experiences. Five years on, and with over 145,000 visitors, Global Health Trials has seen an exponential rate of growth and morphed into an evolving platform with numerous features that guide the process of conducting a research study; both in terms of online resources and events organised by users, and with applications such as the popular Training Centre, research Site-Finder tool, and Process Map. In fact, the project has been so successful that Global Health Trials is now its own niche area within the wider Global Health Network ( , which encompasses all the projects above and more, providing an open-access set of tools, resources and community platforms for specific types of research or roles. It has become an online science-park for the Global Health Research community.

Global Health Trials works because it is operates globally via its online platform, so one can find assistance from researchers across the entire world, but also because it is locally active, with regional hubs in many locations. For example, Global Health Trials has regional faculties, which are local, volunteer-led networks which build local research capacity, running free and open-access skills sharing workshops in many locations, working on exciting methodology research projects, as well as working together to share events, training opportunities, tools and resources. Lastly it is successful because it is cross-cutting, sharing resource between disease areas, regions and health organisations.

As with all communities of practice, Global Health Trials owes its success to its members, who have taken the time to share their guidance and advice on the ‘how to’ of clinical research. For example, they might act as expert in an ‘ask the expert’ panel; they might contribute their guidance articles on a step or procedure in the research process; or they might organise local events to build local research capacity. It is the enthusiasm of these global contributors who have created such an all-encompassing, worldwide community, and in turn encouraged and empowered others to perform global health research.

This community-driven approach also ensures that the platform is constantly evolving, as new resource gaps are uncovered. For example, the South African regional faculty identifying a lack of training opportunities in Project Management for clinical trials; in response the platform was used to run a skills –sharing workshop, free to attend, and which is being transformed into an open-access eLearning course for future users all around the world.

To mark its fifth birthday, Global Health Trials’ regional communities are coming together to form a worldwide seminar series, with seminars discussing the role of communities of practice in clinical research marking the occasion in over fifteen locations across the globe. Online webinars will be conducted including Q&A with the Principal Investigator, Professor Trudie Lang, and a commemorative interactive map ‘How Global Health Trials has helped me’ will be available online, for users to leave their photos, birthday messages, thoughts and videos.

 Please join the community in thanking Global Health Trials’ contributors on this special day, and celebrate with us. Add your thoughts to the map here (or email them to, sign up or sign in, get involved in the regional events, and email if you’d like to be involved in future.

Happy Birthday to the Global Health Trials Community!


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Twitter:  #GHT5years