The paper focuses on two questions: (i) how to set research priorities in a transparent, systematic, fair and legitimate way?; and (ii) how to mobilize low and middle-income countries to take more ownership in defining their own research policies, rather than merely being passive recipients of international aid for research and development? I propose that the recently developed Child Health and Nutrition Research initiative (CHNRI) methodology is becoming widely accepted as a feasible answer to both those questions. In this paper, I review its numerous applications to date and show how it evolved into a practical and systematic tool that can assist priority setting in health research investments in diverse contexts. The CHNRI methodology also addresses support for different instruments of health research to achieve better balance between fundamental research, translation research and implementation research. The wide application of CHNRI methodology is expected to maximise the potential of health research to reduce disease burden and gradually reduce inequities that exist between support for research on the health problems of the rich and the poor. I believe that this tool will find application within many low and middle-income countries and assist them to pull together their own experts and actively define their priorities for research and development in the coming years.
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