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caption Credit: Toby Phillips Photography/HSG

Capacity Strengthening

Strengthening the capacity of the field of researchers and practitioners engaged in health policy and systems work is an important area of focus for Health Systems Global (HSG). The capacity for strengthening the diverse, cross-disciplinary and multifaceted field of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) can be defined as “… the collective ability of individuals, groups, and networks, to successfully consolidate, synthesise, harness and apply opportunities in the pursuit of shared goal of advancing, promoting and integrating HPSR for health systems development”.


Capacity Strengthening
Assessments Of Assets & Needs Values Intended Audience Key Competencies Principles Individual Capacity Organisational Capacity Network Capacity Strengthening and Unleashing HPSR Field-Building


Core beliefs shaping behaviours and practices.

Intended Audience

Main beneficiaries of capacity strengthening.

Key Competencies

Specific abilities (at individual, organisational and network levels)
Further resources »


Key approaches & strategies for implementation.
7 Principles for Strengthening Research »
Conceptual Framework »

Individual Capacity

Individual knowledge and skills.

Organisational Capacity

Organisational systems and processes e.g. support for curriculum development.

Network Capacity

Collective capacity e.g. joint resources and practices.

Strengthening and Unleashing

Synergistic capacity strengthening across three levels and leveraging available assets.

Global Symposia »

HSR Symposia Skills-building Sessions »

HPSR Field-Building


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Our framework (see more details) highlights and encourages, a systemic approach to capacity strengthening, which should recognise and leverage synergies across the individual, organisational and network levels of capacity. Each of these three levels has distinct attributes but all are interrelated, with blurred and context-specific boundaries. Capacity strengthening should: (a) have an explicit goal, (b) be driven by explicit values and principles, (c) focus on intended audience and their specific competencies, (d) be informed by assessments of capacity needs and assets – see HSG capacity assessment survey, and (e) build on and often ‘unleash’ an otherwise constrained assets across individual, organisational and network levels. The role of power, operating within and between levels, must be recognised in planning and implementing capacity strengthening.

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