Improvements in technology, such as increasing access to internet, are having huge impacts on global research collaborations. Even in low- and middle-income countries, where electricity connections may be intermittent or even non-existent, improvements in mobile phone networks are helping to bridge the distances between people.
As an international consortium, CISMAC relies on internet telecommunication technologies such as e-mails and Skype (a voice over IP service) to maintain virtual contact between partners based in different and often very distant locations. These technologies provide as an important, low-cost, and environmentally friendly addition to the face-to-face meetings between partners.
When CISMAC began in 2013, its initial focus was on the start-up and establishment of several large intervention studies. As these studies are now in place and are beginning to generate results, there is a growing need for more inter-partner communication. Despite the differences between time zones, it is important for consortium partners to be able to meet regularly to share results, discuss approaches, supervise students, etc..
This week several CISMAC partners participated in a pilot webinar via Adobe Connect, a real-time web conferencing software. The software enables participants to attend virtually by audio and/or video. In addition to sharing the slides from the presentation with all participants, and providing an audiovisual link-up for each site, there was a live messaging service that enabled the webinar hosts in Bergen to troubleshoot any connection issues and share information.
Webinar participants connected in real time from India, Nepal, Uganda, and Norway. CISMAC Director, Halvor Sommerfelt, presented from Norway with help from project leaders Victoria Nankabirwa in Uganda,Bireshwar Sinha in India, and Ram Krishna Chandyo in NepalAll the webinar participants were able to share their respective relevant research experiences and ask questions.
CISMAC is planning to hold such meetings regularly. Times and link information will be posted on the CISMAC website. Contact CISMAC’s administrative coordinator, Ane Straume for more information. Ane.Straume@uib.no
By Elinor Bartle
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