TDR Global Research Mentorship Challenge Contest

Do you have practical ideas for enhancing research mentorship in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs)? The purpose of this contest is to engage people in LMICs to generate particle ideas to improve research mentorship For example, a mentee noted: “Perhaps the most important aspect of the program is the communication with my mentor on a biweekly basis. That was what helped me to keep in focus and never give up.” Exceptional ideas will be recognized by the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), and implemented at selected sites.  




We often think about research mentorship as a multi-year big process and forget that good mentorship starts with a series of smaller habits. Enhancing research mentorship is a priority for TDR Global, a community of passionate scientists and experts working with TDR to support global research on infectious diseases of poverty. This challenge will identify practices to improve research mentorship in LMIC settings. For example, from a mentee’s perspective, how do you prepare for meetings with your research mentor? From a mentor’s perspective, how do you guide a  mentee in writing her/his first journal paper?

The final deadline for contributions is December 15. TDR Global and SESH Global are the main organizers of this contest, with strong support from TDR regional training centers (RTCs). Guidelines for contributions are described below. 

                 Guideline for contributions

  • ​Eligibility

All TDR Global members are eligible. For more information about TDR Global, see here.

  • Language for the entries

English is preferred, but Spanish is acceptable. 

  • ​Contribution Format Options

1. The contribution should focus on practical ideas that can be used to improve research mentorship, especially research on infectious diseases of poverty, but not necessarily limited to academic training. We will have categories for things/activities/habits that: mentees can do, mentors can do, and research institutions can do to facilitate mentorship.

2. Text (less than 500 words).

3. Images can be included in the text.

                Judging Criteria 

Submissions will be judged on a 1-10 scale according to the following four criteria: 

1. Clear description

2. Potential for enhancing research mentorship in LMICs

3. Innovation

4. Feasibility

After screening for eligibility, all the eligible entries will be pooled together for judging, and additional judges will be needed from different regions.


​The deadline of all final entries is December 15

​Notifications about final commendations and prizes will be made before the end of March.


The challenge has regional and global prizes. Regional prizes will celebrate excellence from respective TDR RTC regions (Latin America/Caribbean, Africa, Asia). People who are residing in these regions are eligible for a prize from their region. The number of finalists for regional prizes will be determined by RTCs. In terms of the global prize, one individual will be selected from regional finalists and supported to attend the the ASTMH 2020 meeting in November, 2020. All contributions determined to be exceptional by our judging panel will receive a commendation from the TDR Global Challenge Steering Committee, in addition to being shared with TDR Global networks.  Regional prizes will include the following:


Latin American and Caribbean:Regional finalists will be recognized by local, national, and regional health organizations such as AMRO (American Regional Office) RTC and PAHO. They will be showcased at training meetings organized by the AMRO RTC and colleagues. Finally, they will receive financial support to present their mentorship idea at a national congress or receive a contribution to implement the idea in the region.


Africa: Regional finalists will be recognized by local, national, and regional health organizations such as AFRO RTC and regional partners. Regional finalists will receive a plaque AND either a laptop computer OR support to attend a regional conference. Finalists will have the option to choose between these two options.  

Asia: Financial support for 1st and 2nd winner to present in the regional conference in Indonesia.Small grants for 1st and 2nd winner to pilot their mentoring ideasAdditionally, for 3rd, 4th and 5th winners we can provide opportunity to present their ideas in our conference virtually (e.g. via webinar)

                 See the finalists


                 Steering Committee of the contest

Phyllis Dako-Gyeke, Maria Isabel Echavarria Mejia, Yodi Mahendradhata, Franklin Glozah, Nancy Gore Saravia, Pascal Launois, Shufang Wei, Huanyu Bao, Larry Han, Weiming Tang, Joseph Tucker. 


1. What is TDR Global

TDR Global is a community of passionate scientists and experts who have been working with TDR to support global research effort on infectious diseases of poverty. TDR Global is a community of TDR grantees, TDR experts and researchers, TDR sponsors and partners

2. How will I join TDR global:

If you are a current or former TDR grantee, trainee, expert advisor, staff or committee member, and you would like to register, please email TDR

3​. Why use a challenge contest?

Open contests have been widely used by governments, private foundations, and other organizations to spur creativity. Our experiences have demonstrated that challenge contests  are  a useful tool for soliciting innovative ideas for solving different problems. More details about open contests for health are available here.


4. What are infectious diseases of poverty?

Infectious diseases of poverty is an umbrella term used to describe diseases which are known to be more prevalent among poorer populations, rather than a definitive group of diseases.


5. Is there a limit to the number of contributions?

No, there is no limit.


Contact our contest coordinator at


1) Mentoring and mentorship training news, resources and funding for global health researchers:

2) ​The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene:

3) Influential Mentors: A Guidebook for Building Mentoring Skills and Capacity. See here

                  Partner Organizations 

​This contest is organized by the TDR Global and SESH Global, with strong support from TDR Regional Training Centers in Latin America (Colombia), Africa (Ghana), and Asia (Indonesia).