TWO DTTC RESEARCHERS SELECTED AS VISITING RESEARCHERS AT THE BROCHER FOUNDATION
The Swiss-based Brocher Foundation has been home from home for many leading academics across the world. Over the space of a year, this will include two researchers from the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University.
Applied research ethicist, Lyn Horn has recently returned home from a month at the Brocher Foundation, while Sue-Ann Meehan, principal investigator for the Community AIDS Prevention Project, COMAPP, is looking forward to a month-long sojourn next year.
The Brocher Foundation is on edge of Lake Geneva. The chateau, built in the late 1800s and set on a three hectare estate, was a summer retreat. It became the Brocher Foundation in 2006 and has hosted over 200 researchers from many universities since then.
Being invited to spend time at the Brocher Foundation is prestigious and the month or two away is a wonderful opportunity to have time to do research and connect with fellow researchers from across the globe.
“It is really beautiful. My office looked straight onto the lake. It was a very positive experience and gave me some breathing space to research as well as network with everyone from ethicists and philosophers to anthropologists and sociologists,” said Horn, who has been working as a research ethicist on the HPTN 071 Population Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy to Reduce HIV Transmission (PopART) study. However, during her time at Brocher, Horn focused on ethical aspects of genomic research.
Horn said she spent time with researchers from Denmark, Canada, China, the UK and Sweden, some of them completing their PhDs and others doing research on various projects. About 12 researchers a month stay together in an expansive house on the estate, each with their own rooms.
The Brocher Foundation hosts scientists and experts examining ethical, legal and social implications of the development of medical research and biotechnologies.
Meehan said she was greatly looking forward to her time at the Foundation next year.
“I feel privileged to be going there. I’m looking forward to bouncing ideas off other researchers and to be able to think deeply and critically assess the meaning of my work.”
Meehan will be working on her PhD which is examining the contribution of a community-based HIV counseling and testing initiative in working towards increased access to HIV counseling and testing in Cape Town.
Ultimately, Meehan would like to see the findings from her PhD providing input into policy guidelines on HIV counseling and testing in South Africa.
She is also hoping to visit the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, where some of the participants a month are invited to deliver lectures.
Apart from soaking up the tranquility of Lake Geneva, researchers often spend some time in the Swiss capital. Horn said she found a visit to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva both moving and fascinating.
The Brocher domain is made of eight buildings – the main house called Villa, the Brocher Centre commissioned in 2006, the lodge, the Chaumière (formerly the garage), the Orangerie, the Pavillon des bois (formerly the woodshed), the boathouse and finally the Gloriette.
Over 30 universities worldwide, as well as international organisations, are partners of the Brocher Foundation, which also welcomes over 700 experts a year for its scientific events.
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