PredictTB Learning Board: A new online platform to strengthen capacity building activities

The PredictTB consortium works actively to design and promote training and networking opportunities for early-career researchers involved with the study. This work is spearheaded by the team working with WP4, Capacity Building, Networking and Dissemination, led by Prof Novel Chegou and Dr Fanie Malherbe of Stellenbosch University.

On April 29, the group launched the PredictTB Learning Board, a tailor-made online platform developed by PredictTB’s project management partner, LINQ. The platform contains curated material for career and skill development which can be used by mentors and mentees in the PredictTB mentoring scheme and other consortium members involved in capacity building. The Learning Board can be integrated in ongoing mentor-mentee activities but also supports self-learning, hence it facilitates capacity building also in times when in-person meetings are less frequent, or not possible at all.

“The platform is easy to navigate, and the layout is very user friendly. I love the broad topics for which information is available so it can target any role or level within the consortium,” says Bronwyn Smith, Clinical Project Coordinator at Stellenbosch University.

In addition to analytical and technical skills, scientists at all levels are now required to be proficient in management and administration. Yet, soft skills are not the focus of most undergraduate and post-graduate science studies.

“The PredictTB Learning Board offers a great opportunity for early career scientists and post-graduate students as it was constructed by a very experienced team of researchers and grant project managers – summarizing insight that took many years to develop,” says Dr Malherbe.

PredictTB will come to an end in July this year.

“One of the additional benefits of the Learning Board is that we can keep it live even after the end of the project duration. That way, we can ensure a sustained access to the resources created and maintain a space that connects and supports the members of our consortium not only during the EDCTP-funded period, but also beyond,” says Dr Claudia Schacht, Managing Director of LINQ.

The PredictTB consortium has provided training, mentoring, and networking opportunities to more than 200 young researchers during the last five and a half years. Even if the funding period soon comes to an end, the impact of this work will continue to benefit these researchers for years to come.