Strategic plans

The INDEPTH Network develops strategic plans every four to five years to guide its scientific, capacity strengthening, and other activities. We use the strategic planning process to define our strategy, or direction, and make decisions on allocating our resources to pursue the strategy. The strategic plans are developed through a consultative process that involves all of our stakeholders, with the Scientific Advisory Committee providing a lead role. The Resource & Training Centre's (formerly Secretariat) annual work plans use the strategic plans as basis.

2017-2021 presentation to AGM in Kampala, Uganda from 17 November 2016

 Excerpts from the new plan are as follows:

 Scientific Research Priorities

INDEPTH will focus its scientific research on efforts that sustain the competitive advantage of the Network’s ongoing longitudinal research – and that maximise the value of that research. It has identified the following categories of scientific research priorities:

1In identifying investments that sustain the competitive advantage of its population-based, longitudinal tracking, INDEPTH will:

a)Implement CHESS – and other enhancements – to improve population tracking: INDEPTH is investing in new ways to streamline the data collection process, expand the areas of regular tracking to enable deeper investigations of morbidity as well as mortality, creating ties with civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, and strengthening the links with health and social systems in each country where INDEPTH Centres operate.

b) Provide timely metrics based on real population-based data: INDEPTH plans on regularly updating its tracking of the core population metrics (Pregnancy, Births, Deaths and In/Out-Migration) across member Centres, as well expanding its reporting to provide regular updates on determinants, morbidity, the burden of disease and diagnostics.

2  It will then will leverage that platform to study key scientific questions that benefit most from longitudinal data. (Thus, it will use population-based data as the lens through which to identify areas where the Network has a clear advantage in conducting research). The specific areas of research include:

3  Conduct studies across the life-course: INDEPTH will continue to focus on each stage of human development, from pregnancy to adult health and ageing, seeking to identify advantaged practices, interventions relevant to each stage.

4  Research key policy, practice and demographic questions: Including research on SDG baselines and dynamics, Product safety and Effectiveness, Identification of Health Interventions, and Migrant Health Tracking.


1.  Assess scientific- and policy-relevant determinants & context of outcomes. INDEPTH will expand the focus and leverage the tracking platform to enable studies on important interdisciplinary fields including:

    -    Nutrition, diet and food security;  

    -    Environment, climate, indoor air pollution 

    -    Health, equity, Migration and poverty 

    -    Vaccines: safety, effectiveness and efficacy 

     -    Sex differentials/gender 

     -    Education-based analysis and interventions


 Policy Engagement and Communication:

 INDEPTH intends to tailor, package and direct research outputs as appropriate for different audiences and stakeholders to stimulate public appreciation of science and reduce the critical gap between research findings and action. Most important it will seek to accelerate on-going dialogues among Centre researchers and local and national policy makers, as well as with regional and international policy makers.

 Capacity Strengthening and Career Development:

 INDEPTH will grow the talent of promising and productive scientists in the INDEPTH member institutions and enhance members’ capacity to conduct and disseminate world-class research. In particular, it will focus on expanding the MSc programme, which has provided substantial value to many of the HDSS Centres, as well as strengthening the capacity of Centres to leverage the new tools being developed that enable them to efficiently execute longitudinal tracking. In addition, INDEPTH will work with Centres to help strengthen and improve the dissemination, publication, and ‘marketing’ of INDEPTH data analyses in light of the growing interest in, importance of, and the reliance on global health estimation.

Ensuring Financial Sustainability:

 While continuing its conservative and well-respected financial management, INDEPTH will focus on three paths to financial sustainability: 1. Continuing to look for both core and project support from funding partners, 2. Strengthening the efforts at building an INDEPTH consultancy that leverages the skills and advantage of the Network and 3. Growing the endowment.

Costing the Strategic Plan:

To continue operating as a Network effectively, INDEPTH's core activities would cost approximately $2-3 Million per year. An additional ~$1 million per year would be needed to expand / accelerate efforts on policy engagement, capacity strengthening, a deeper tracking and regular updating of not just mortality but also morbidity, burden of disease and demographic trends.

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