Terms of Reference: Consultant, COVID Advocates Advisory Board (CAAB)
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has unleashed a global pandemic and an unprecedented public health crisis. Biomedical strategies to diagnose, prevent, and treat COVID-19 are urgently needed, and efforts to rapidly develop these tools are underway worldwide. However, the need for accelerated research does not discount the importance of civil society input; rather, it necessitates innovative engagement structures, mechanisms, and actions. Many global health advocates have recognized the need to engage research-literate civil society to ensure the ethical, efficient advancement of R&D and global access to urgently needed interventions. Given that the COVID-19 community is global, a broadly representative structure will be required.
Fortunately, the global research enterprise is not starting from scratch—there are platforms, normative frameworks, and research-literate community networks to facilitate effective, creative community engagement for COVID-19 R&D. A global mechanism to ensure community input can be built on the foundation of the long history of effective participatory community engagement in global health research. Participation in research is enshrined as an ethical and moral imperative in the Denver Principles, the Declaration of Helsinki, and legally-binding international human rights law. Practical, applied guidance on community engagement exists in the Good Participatory Practice (GPP) principles and the application of GPP for many diseases, including emerging pathogens. Existing community advisory structures in other research fields, including HIV, TB, and hepatitis C have created networks of research-literate advocates committed to advancing ethical health research.
Building on these existing structures, a group of core partners are developing a Global COVID Advocates Advisory Board (CAAB) to strategically engage civil society and community representatives to ensure the ethical, inclusive, efficient, and accelerated advancement of research and development for urgently needed interventions to combat COVID-19, as well as global access to proven interventions, especially among historically vulnerable and disenfranchised communities.
Given the rapid pace of COVID research, partners have begun work to simultaneously building literacy on COVID research among a pool of global civil society organizations, while also facilitating linkages with ongoing and planned research programs. Given the breadth of content, diversity of issues, and potential advocacy actions, core partners will work in parallel workstreams to facilitate civil society engagement. These workstreams will be divided based on research topics: diagnostics, treatment, vaccine, and potentially other preventive tools. Regular communication and strategic coordination across workstreams will be essential to success.
Objective and Scope of Work
The consultant will be responsible for supporting the development of the CAAB and coordinating work across partners workstreams. Specific responsibilities include:
· Mapping research literacy topics, prospective members, and targets (e.g., industry/product developers, research groups, funders).
· Development of membership Terms of Reference, selection process, and other tools and resources, as needed, to facilitate membership process.
· Outreach to CAAB target members and vetting potential CAAB members via website application process.
Building Research Literacy
· Supporting implementation of a series of global civil society engagement webinars – a CSO C19 Series – around key trials, products, research issues (e.g., SOLIDARITY, trial endpoints, COVID vaccine pipeline/timeline, COVID research consortia, human challenge trials) and access concerns.
· Developing and sharing information templates that can be adapted for a variety of contexts
· Documenting and sharing priorities and concerns that emerge from the CSO series
· Updating information and resources on www.covidadvocates.org.
Coordination of Research Engagement
· Coordinating workplan development for research workstreams
· Facilitating engagement with research sponsors/trials
· Communicating with CAAB membership
· Planning of calls with CAAB leadership
Qualifications / Experience
· Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to participatory practices and research engagement in biomedical research.
· Initiative, adaptability and cross-cultural fluency.
· Excellent writing skills.
· Demonstrated capacity to work with civil society organizations, global health advocates and activists, public health researchers and product developers.
The initial consultancy is for a three-month period. It is anticipated the level of effort would be approximately 20-30 hours per week. Location is entirely flexible, but it is expected that the consultant would be available in US East Coast working hours.
Please forward your resume and any supporting materials that tell us more about your professional and personal experience to firstname.lastname@example.org. All materials must be received by August 21, 2020.