Purpose: The Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) aims to establish sustainable genomics research programs in Botswana and Uganda through long-term training of PhD students from these countries at Baylor College of Medicine. Here, we present an overview of the CAfGEN PhD training program alongside trainees' perspectives on their involvement.
Background: Historically, collaborations between high-income countries (HICs) and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), or North-South collaborations, have been criticized for the lack of a mutually beneficial distribution of resources and research findings, often undermining LMICs. CAfGEN plans to address this imbalance in the genomics field through a program of technology and expertise transfer to the participating LMICs.
Methods: An overview of the training program is presented. Trainees from the CAfGEN project summarized their experiences, looking specifically at the training model, benefits of the program, challenges encountered relating to the cultural transition, and program outcomes after the first 2 years.
Conclusion: Collaborative training programs like CAfGEN will not only help establish sustainable long-term research initiatives in LMICs but also foster stronger North-South and South-South networks. The CAfGEN model offers a framework for the development of training programs aimed at genomics education for those for whom genomics is not their "first language." Genet Med advance online publication 06 April 2017.