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Guanyang Zou: candidate for the HS Global Board

By Guanyang Zou
on September 11, 2014

Towards a better future for young researchers in health systems!


My name is Guanyang Zou. I’m currently working as a China Program Manager for the DFID-funded COMDIS Health Services Delivery Research Consortium, University of Leeds, and also doing a PhD (part-time) at the Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh UK(1).



I am lucky enough to be selected for the 2014 Emerging Voices for Global Health Program, having the privilege to access state-of-art training in health research, including attending the 3rd Global Symposium in Cape Town, South Africa. If you vote for me, I will represent the Emerging Voices and other young voices, especially those from the Asian Pacific Region, in the Health Systems Global Board.

It is precisely the dynamic, stimulating and excellent Emerging Voices groupthat has motivated me to stand for this election, to represent and serve diverse and emerging needs of these and other young researchers. As emerging researchers, we understand how important it is to have young representatives to advocate for the interests and development of young researchers in the Board and beyond. Young researchers are active, energetic and have clear views. They are in the best position (and stage of career) to conduct research, and what they are doing now will influence their lifelong research.


Zoupresentation 2

However, publication-based, impact-factor orientated research assessment may dampen our enthusiasm, especially for qualitative health systems research. Indeed research does not mean publication only, but also involves contributing to policy and practice. We are often puzzled about the value of research because of the poor utilization of research evidence in the health policy, especially in bureaucratic systems. We may not have adequate access to research grants which tend to go to more experienced and senior researchers. But we need more opportunity and ownership and we are well placed to have these. We also lack mechanisms where our voices can be adequately heard, especially in the field of health systems research.

Therefore, we need better incentives, ownership and mentorship to pursue lifelong and high quality health systems research. I believe addressing young researchers’ needs will help to advance the mission of the Society- in terms of knowledge generation, knowledge translation and implementation research.

If selected, I would bring on board my six years of operational research experience with DFID-funded programs, which aim to influence policy and practice in disease control in China and other developing countries. This experience, together with my first employment as an aid officer for Africa (2000-08), has shaped my particular interest in the global and health systems debate, especially on South-South collaboration in health systems strengthening through knowledge translation(2,3).

If selected, I will contribute to the Board by:

  • Shedding light on the broad experiences, perspectives and knowledge of young voices and engaging young researchers for cross-country learning of health systems, e.g.,  through on-line forums.
  • Suggesting research agenda items for the Society, notably regarding young researchers’ development and mentorship, e.g., establishing a coaching scheme through matching of senior and young members, and a mutual development scheme between young members, in any issues regarding career development, grant application, writing publications, ….
  • Facilitating more small-scale health systems research grants and travel grants for young researchers.
  • Improving networking opportunities for youth, e.g., by ensuring a youth lens in all thematic groups.
  • Facilitating the establishment of a youth committee, to coordinate with the current Emerging Voices Program and other youth affairs, and attract more young members.
  • Assisting with financial management and contributing to the research agenda.



To vote, please go to  You have to login first. The on-line election is open until next Tuesday (16 Sep). My name (Guanyang Zou) appears as the last of the – alphabetical – candidates’ list.


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About Guanyang Zou

Guanyang Zou (China Program, COMDIS Health Services Delivery Research Consortium, University of Leeds, Shenzhen, China & Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK  ) wrote this blog together with Kristof Decoster (ITM), Swati Srivastava (PHFI, India), Bhaskhar Purohit (PHFI, India & Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar (IIPHG)), Shakira Choonara (University of the Witwatersrand) and Daniel Eduardo Henao Nieto (Fundación Universitaria Autónoma de las Américas, Pereira, Colombia). 

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