Effecting effective and efficient research service strategy for statistical support in Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

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The focus of this paper was to determine research support benchmarks from higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa for application in the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU). These benchmarks were sought from networked international HEIs and leading research HEIs in the country. Other benchmarks were sourced from cost-effective models of deployment from other service departments within SMU. The study involved nine HEIs and SMU human resources (HR) department for benchmarking. The study found that the statistics departments were used in these HEIs for major research support. These statistics departments operated from statistics support centres, were supported holistically by their institutions, and were allowed qualified autonomy in their functions. The SMU HR department was assigning individual HR experts to various academic departments for full-time support. The paper combines the models of statistics centres and of assigning HR experts to departments for a new one in SMU. It proposes establishment of a statistical services centre in SMU, in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research (SOR). The centre could be used for statistical training and for fundraising as well. However, the core activities of the centre should be to support research on SMU campus. The centre should operate by dedicating statistics experts to various departments. That model also requires an adequate academic staffing of SOR, as well as initial funding for the entire plans and initial operations of the centre

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