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The early era of evidence-based medicine (EBM) saw the emergence of a cohort of leaders who applied the concepts of clinical expertise, best available evidence and patient preferences to healthcare. Yet, with time, these core components of EBM have become distorted, misinterpreted and hijacked.1 The EBM Manifesto provided a roadmap for tackling the core issues related to the practice and application of EBM.2 One of the important items in the manifesto is to ‘Encourage the next generation of leaders in evidence-based medicine’.2 Achieving improvements in healthcare globally requires building and sustaining early and mid-career researchers (EMCRs).3 Yet, there are big gaps in both critical appraisal and research capacity, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), and this hinders development in these regions.4
At the 2019 EBMLive conference (see box 1), we wanted to better understand the problems and challenges that EMCRs encounter. In particular, we focused on EMCRs in those LMICs undergoing major health system transformations, such as Brazil and India. We asked the six recipients of the Building Capacity Bursaries (all co-authors of this commentary) to describe the challenges that they have encountered individually and among their peers, along with potential solutions (see box 2). Their responses reflect healthcare professionals who practice in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. While some challenges are specific to certain settings, we tried to identify, highlight and describe broad overarching themes.
The EBMLive Conference
The EBMLive conference (www.ebmlive.org), a joint partnership between the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and the BMJ, is designed to ‘develop, disseminate, and implement better evidence for better healthcare’. Since its inception, EBMLive has endeavoured to include the voice of students and early career researchers. Manifestations of this policy have included creation of leadership scholarships to …
Twitter @peterjgill, @acssjr, @Richards_G_C
Contributors PJG and GCR devised the concept of the manuscript. All the authors provided their personal experiences of problems they have faced as early and mid-career researchers, and potential solutions. ACSdSJ developed problem 1; ACSdSJ, YE, RCO and DU developed problem 2; and TBR developed problem 3. PJG drafted the initial manuscript and all the authors read, drafted and provided comments on the final manuscript.
Competing interests GCR receives funding from the NHS National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), the Naji Foundation and the Rotary Foundation to study for a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) at the University of Oxford. She is a member of the EBMLive steering committee. PJG has received grant funding from the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) in the past 5 years. He is on the CMAJ Editorial Advisory Board and the Institute Advisory Board for the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH), where he has expenses reimbursed to attend meetings. He is on the editorial board of the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. He is a member of the EBMLive steering committee, and he has expenses reimbursed to attend the conference. DU receives research productivity grant and support from the CNPq foundation. He integrates programmes that seek for global capacity in open science and research transparency (Center for Open Science and Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.