Worldwide status of higher education institutions and research for health

30 January, 2020

Worldwide status of higher education institutions offering disciplines related to research for health in 2019 [this link did not work for me just now - all the other links in this message are ok. Neil PW, HIFA moderator]

New analysis from the WHO Global Observatory on Health R&D allows users to see relationships between country income, population, higher education institutions and opportunities for [or availability of] training in research for health, and to explore data further using interactive features.

The data are collected from the International Association of Universities’ World Higher Education Database (WHED) and are derived from 178 countries for which data are available.

For example, users can see how:

The number of institutions in a country is more closely related to the country’s income level than its population size or density.

Out of the total of 13,711 institutions offering a relevant discipline globally, the vast majority (81%) were created more than 20 years ago (reflecting institutional experience). Only a small percentage of these are in the WHO Africa region (4%), the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region (4%) and in the WHO South-East Asia region (8%).

The number of institutions within a WHO region that offer disciplines related to research for health and provide an opportunity for research training linked to obtaining an advanced/postgraduate degree varies widely. For example, in the WHO Africa region, none of the 25 higher education institutions in Madagascar that offer disciplines related to research for health offer an advanced/postgraduate degree with research training. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the country in the WHO Africa region with the highest number of relevant higher education institutions (121), 76 higher education institutions (62.8%) provide an advanced/postgraduate degree with research training.

Data can be explored further in several ways. The information will be of interest to policy makers, funders, academics and researchers interested in understanding available capacity and gaps in teaching and training opportunities relevant to research for health. It will help countries explore where they are with respect to their own targets and in relation to other countries; it will also allow them to monitor progress towards strengthening research capacity goals over time.

See also two new data sources and analysis:

WHO review of vector control interventions in the pipeline

WHO review of antibacterial preclinical pipeline

Finally, check regular updates on the WHO Global Health R&D Observatory - such as the latest data antibacterial products in clinical development [ as of November 2019, gross domestic expenditures on health R&D [], health researchers per million inhabitants by country [, health products in the pipeline for all diseases (updated monthly) [ or check the full list of data visualizations [] for available analyses.

WHO Global Health R&D Observatory:

Taghreed Adam, MD, MSc, PhD


Department of Research for Health

World Health Organization

Geneva, Switzerland


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HIFA profile: Taghreed Adam works with the Department of Research for Health, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. adamt AT