The Boston University and University of Liberia Emerging and Epidemic Virus Research (BULEEVR) Program will bring together strengths of resources at Boston University and existing expertise and programs at University of Liberia, Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research, National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and University of Liberia’s A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine as well as in country international partners affiliated with Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research Liberia (PEER/Liberia) and Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL) conducting on-going research on emerging pathogens in Liberia, to create a research training program that offers a pathway to pursue a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in basic and translational virology, microbiology, clinical research or public health. The goals of this multi-disciplinary research training program have been crafted in response to the national research priorities outlined by the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, working with NPHIL and existing partners with aligned goals in Liberia. The specific aims of BULEEVR include:
Specific Aim 1: Increase graduate level interest and competencies in basic, translational and public health sciences.
This aim will be met through modular boot camps open to degree and non-degree participants that provide basic research skills and serve as a launching pad for identifying qualified candidates who can successfully pursue a PhD at Boston University.
Specific Aim 2: Increase the number of qualified independent researchers in basic, translational and public health sciences working on emerging pathogens of interest in Liberia.
This aim will be met by creating a degree track where Liberian candidates with previous Master’s can pursue a PhD and Liberian candidates with Doctorate in Medicine can pursue a MS, hence producing potential independent researchers with terminal degrees who will be mentored towards self-supporting independent research careers.
Specific Aim 3: Increase human capacity to support existing research initiatives in Liberia focused on emerging pathogens.
Degree candidates will be linked to existing research enterprises in Liberia, hence providing simultaneous support for ongoing emerging infectious diseases research in country, while helping degree candidates find a scientific home for funding applications and long-term mentorship. Additionally, the program will provide skill upgrades for research support staff and modules on grant administration to support research hosting capacity in Liberia.