HIV Community Based Research

Bringing Community & Academia together through research

Capacity Building

Increasing Abilities

This page is devoted to building the capacity of academic and community partners in order to improve the ability to engage in HIV CBR in Canada.


Capacity building of Academics and CBOs to do HIV research is a concept that has historically been neglected largely due to a lack of administrative support around tenure and promotion within Universities, and a lack of resources devoted to/targeted toward active involvement in HIV CBR on the part of Community Service Organizations.

Universities rarely recognize CBR work as credible when considering promotion, and tenure-track professors usually resort to more conventionally recognized research to gain the credit associated with conventional forms of research work.

In 2011, a Task Force on CBR was struck by the Vice President of Research at the University of British Columbia to examine the barriers and challenges to engaging in CBR at the University level. The two-year project gathered insightful comments from dozens of academic and community researchers through targeted focus groups and individual interviews. The findings and recommendations from the Task Force were presented to the University Administration in July 2012 and are currently under review for feasibility of inclusion in administrative support processes at the University.


  1. An advisory committee that reflects the diverse array of community partner organizations should be formed to advise the AVP Research on the universityʼs role in sponsoring community-based research. That committee should include representatives from local, regional, and international partners.
  2. Offices, committees, and other processes supporting community-based research must routinely account for the ways in which community expertise and perspectives are integrated into their operations and those accounts integrated into the yearly report.
  3. Coursework for students and professional development opportunities for faculty and administrators must be developed that ensure an understanding of community engagement and the roles of community members in research design, conduct, and evaluation.
  4. In university dialogues with funders, the importance of community expertise and of the structural impediments that constrain their participation should be recognized and strategies to mitigate them defined.
  5. Mechanisms, such as awards, for the recognition of community partners who have contributed to research and/or the understanding of community-based research, must be identified and implemented.

(UBC CBR Task Force findings and recommendations from July 2012)

Step-by-step instructions on how to improve the capacity of academics interested in engaging in equitable partnerships with CBOs is a difficult task, but a couple of suggestions on practical ways to engage partners:

  • through equitable partnership examples, employing peer research assistants, 
  • check out the UBC Faculty of Family Medicine DPAS, and Intensive Interactive HIV courses are offered to lend credibility to those interested in pursuing HIV CBR work in the future through their Institution.

Building Community

This section will provide plain language, step-by-step instructions on how to build the capacity of  Community Based Organizations to engage in CBR



A wonderful article from El Ansari published in the Journal of Public Health (2002) 116, 151–159. says it all    Academic Capacity Building in CBR

The Pacific AIDS Network CBR conference in 20111 recommendations provide community gathered suggestions on what needs to be addressed and how we might proceed. View the report here

Roche, Guta, and Flicker et al ‘Models of Practice’ provides many helpful tips on building capacity and things for community groups to consider when engaging in HIV CBR. View the report here

Additional Resources

CBR Capacity Building

Capacity Building presentation

Engaging Academics


Anatomy of an Intervention


CBR Principles

Finally, evaluation is a good way to build the capacity of any CBO. Done well it can showcase the great work and provide opportunities for funding and further research projects.  See the Evaluation page located on this website under the Methodology tab.

As always, if you would like to include your own great example on this topic please use the Contact Me tab in the top righthand corner of this site!

BCHIVCBR resources are posted to be freely used in the community. If you incorporate any of our material into your own publications or website, we ask that you credit BCHIVCBR following the Creative Commons License.

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