The Health Research Unit Zimbabwe receives the EDCTP Outstanding Research Team Prize

08 November 2023

Today, the 2023 EDCTP Outstanding Research Team Prize was awarded to the Health Research Unit Zimbabwe (THRU-Zim), of the Biomedical Research and Training Institute, Zimbabwe and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. The prize recognises the outstanding achievements, and scientific and policy impact of teams that are actively involved in research, capacity development and networking in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. The Prize consists of a recognition trophy and a cash prize of €50,000. The ceremony took place at the Eleventh EDCTP Forum in Paris and was awarded by Professor Hannah Akuffo, former Chair of the EDCTP General Assembly.

THRU-Zim started in 2007 as a small team composed of 2 research assistants and 2 research nurses. Since then, it has grown into a research programme with a core of clinical, field, administrative, laboratory and data management lead and 50-100 field staff (depending on the stage of studies), funded by EDCTP, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the German Centre for Infection Research, Foundation of Innovative Diagnostics, Wellcome Trust, the UK Medical Research Council, UKAID and the Norwegian Research Council. Notably, they receive no core funding and their funding portfolio in an extremely competitive climate in a country that has experienced substantial brain drain and persistently challenging economic circumstances is testimony to their outstanding work.

THRU-Zim leads and conducts high-quality and high-impact interdisciplinary research studies across the life course from neonates, adolescents, young adults and older people in the fields of HIV, tuberculosis, sexual and reproductive health, antimicrobial resistance, mental and musculoskeletal health and multimorbidity. While there is a clear focus on implementation and interdisciplinary research, study designs range from facility and community-based observational studies, and large population surveys to individual and cluster randomized controlled trials. These are led from within the country, including all data management and analysis. Group members are embedded within the public health sector and the research is informed by local priorities and clinical observations.


Research integrally embeds capacity strengthening with a pipeline of Masters, Doctoral and Postdoctoral fellows. In 2022 alone four PhD students graduated, and currently 7 postdoctoral, 14 PhD and 6 MSc students (mostly Zimbabwean) from a variety of backgrounds (doctors, nurses, radiographers, social workers) are conducting their studies at THRU-Zim.

The group has a very deliberate and active focus on advocacy and engagement with policy makers and communities. Standard research findings are disseminated to participants, communities, and national and international stakeholders. Public engagement and capacity building is integral to every single study and among the core activities of the team. They have used highly innovative public engagement approaches such as art to crowdsource ideas on priority health issues to youth an approach subsequently adopted by the STI & HIV World Congress in Chicago.

Visit the EDCTP website for more information about the EDCTP Outstanding Research Team Prize.