"The Magic Is in the Mix": Lessons from research capacity building in the Canadian tobacco control community, 2000-2010

Barbara L. Riley, Sarah M. Viehbeck, Joanna E. Cohen, Marie C. Chia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Global public health issues, including tobacco use, will be addressed most effectively if informed by relevant evidence. Additional capacity is needed to undertake and sustain relevant and rigorous research that will inform and enable learning from interventions. Despite the undisputed importance of research capacity building (RCB), there is little evidence about how to create relevant capacities. RCB for tobacco control in Canada from 2000-2010 offers a rich experience from which to learn. Lessons were derived using structured data collection from seven capacity-building initiatives and an invitational workshop, at which reflections on major contributions and lessons learned were discussed by initiative leads. Ten years of RCB for tobacco control in Canada revealed the importance of a) taking an organic approach to RCB, b) targeting and sustaining investments in a mix of RCB activities, c) vision and collaborative leadership at organizational and initiative levels, d) a focus on building community, and e) studying capacity building. The experience also provided tangible examples of RCB initiatives and how independent investments can be linked to create a coherent approach. Looking ahead, promising directions may include positioning RCB within a broader context of "field building", focusing on practical approaches to sustainability, and enhancing research on RCB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e173-e176
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Capacity building
  • Interdisciplinary communication
  • Research personnel
  • Tobacco
  • Training support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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