Research Priorities in Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health & Nutrition for India: An Indian Council of Medical Research-INCLEN Initiative

Indian J Med Res. 2017 May;145(5):611-622. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_139_17.


In India, research prioritization in Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) themes has traditionally involved only a handful of experts mostly from major cities. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-INCLEN collaboration undertook a nationwide exercise engaging faculty from 256 institutions to identify top research priorities in the MNCHN themes for 2016-2025. The Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative method of priority setting was adapted. The context of the exercise was defined by a National Steering Group (NSG) and guided by four Thematic Research Subcommittees. Research ideas were pooled from 498 experts located in different parts of India, iteratively consolidated into research options, scored by 893 experts against five pre-defined criteria (answerability, relevance, equity, investment and innovation) and weighed by a larger reference group. Ranked lists of priorities were generated for each of the four themes at national and three subnational (regional) levels [Empowered Action Group & North-Eastern States, Southern and Western States, & Northern States (including West Bengal)]. Research priorities differed between regions and from overall national priorities. Delivery domain of research which included implementation research constituted about 70 per cent of the top ten research options under all four themes. The results were endorsed in the NSG meeting. There was unanimity that the research priorities should be considered by different governmental and non-governmental agencies for investment with prioritization on implementation research and issues cutting across themes.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Child
  • Child Health / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Priorities / trends
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health / trends*
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Pregnancy