Background: In order to determine the type and amount of health systems research being conducted within ICDDR,B (also known as the Centre), a leading research institution in Bangladesh, an internal review of all on-going research protocols was conducted in September 2007. Methods: A review of all ongoing research protocols within the Centre was conducted. The names of the investigators and the institutional divisions of the protocols were removed in order to decrease the amount of reviewer bias. The building blocks of the World Health Organization's \"Framework for Action\" on health systems was used to categorize the protocols considered to be health systems research projects. Several additional items were collected, e.g. the highest level of education completed by the Principal Investigator. A total dollar value was placed on the health systems research portfolio of the institution based on the budgets of the selected protocols. Results: As of September 2007 16 out of 118 (13.5%) reviewed protocols were considered to be health systems research projects. Results of the six building blocks of the health system categorization demonstrated that a majority of these protocols involved elements of health services delivery. There was very little engagement in more downstream systems and policy research that involved leadership and governance of the health system. Eleven of the HSR studies were local in scope, while there was only one study that has a multinational focus. The Centre's total dollar value for the health systems research project portfolio added up to US$ 3,723,331. Conclusions: This internal review can serve as a snap shot of on-going activities, and as a baseline for future assessments against which to monitor progress in the area of health systems research. Further, it can serve as a model for other institutions striving to assess and develop health systems research programmes and capacity.
Koehlmoos, T.P.; Walker, D.G.; Gazi, R. An internal health systems research portfolio assessment of a low-income country research institution. Health Research Policy and Systems (2010) 8 (1) 8. [DOI: 10.1186/1478-4505-8-8]