January 26, 2024

Wellcome Trust’s New CEO Visits OUCRU in Indonesia and Vietnam: Strengthening a Decades-long Partnership in Health Research 

The recently appointed CEO of the Wellcome Trust, Dr John-Arne Røttingen, visited OUCRU in Indonesia and Vietnam, reinforcing a long-standing partnership between the UK-based foundation and OUCRU.

On January 22-23, 2024, Wellcome’s new CEO, Dr John-Arne Røttingen visited the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Indonesia and Vietnam, accompanied by Dr Paul Schreier, the COO and outgoing acting CEO. The delegation received a warm welcome from the director board, including OUCRU Director Prof. Guy Thwaites, OUCRU Indonesia Director Prof. Kevin Baird, and the leaders of partnered hospitals and organisations.  

During the visit, Dr. Røttingen had productive meetings with leaders of OUCRU’s host hospitals and institutions in both Indonesia and Vietnam. In Indonesia, discussions were held with Prof. Ari Fahrial Syam, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia (FMUI) – the institute hosting OUCRU Indonesia, and Prof. Badriul Hegar Syarif, the Director of Indonesia Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI). The meeting provided insights into the works of OUCRU and partners in Indonesia, opening up possibilities for further collaborations.

Courtesy call between the delegation with the Dean of FMUI, Prof. Ari Fahrial Syam. Also in attendance were Indonesia Medical Education and Research Institue (IMERI) Director, Prof. Badriul Hegar Syarif; Expert Staff at LEMTEK UI, Rika Rukyana Sjokeri; and Ryan Farid Pratama, Drafter at LEMTEK UI. 

In Vietnam, the Wellcome Trust delegation met with the Director Board of the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, the host institution for OUCRU Ho Chi Minh City. The discussions were led by Hospital Director, Prof. Nguyen Thanh Dung. Dr. Røttingen values the close partnership between OUCRU and its local host partners, recognising the significant contributions they make in advancing health research and translating those findings into clinical practice. 

Dr. Røttingen and the Wellcome Trust delegation meet with the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  

The delegation also toured OUCRU’s laboratory facilities, which house state-of-the-art research equipment, including many funded by the Wellcome Trust. These well-equipped labs are critical in OUCRU’s efforts to study and address prevalent diseases in the region. Dr. Røttingen was also briefed on the lab’s strict safety guidelines and protocols, underscoring OUCRU’s commitment to the safety of researchers and the surrounding environment. 

CEO John-Arne Røttingen (left), COO Paul Schreier (middle), and Head of Clinical Infectious Disease Programme at OUCRU Indonesia Assoc. Prof. Raph Hamers (right) examining malaria parasites through a microscope at OUCRU Indonesia. 
From the left: COO Paul Schreier, Assoc. Prof. Le Van Tan – Head of Emerging Infections OUCRU HCMC, CEO John-Arne Røttingen, and Kennedy Awoundo – Head of Laboratories OUCRU HCMC, in Molecular Biology Lab, OUCRU HCMC. 

The visit concluded with an engaging session between Dr Røttingen and OUCRU staff. He delivered a speech outlining Wellcome’s mission to enhance global health research and innovation, with a focus on mental health, infectious diseases, and collaboration with other funders.  

OUCRU, part of the Wellcome Asia and Africa Programme, has received substantial support from the UK-based foundation since its inception in 1991. This partnership plays a significant role in OUCRU’s impactful research in Southeast Asia and contributes to the realisation of Wellcome’s vision for promoting health research worldwide. 

Dr Røttingen engaging in discussion with OUCRU Indonesia staff.
Dr Røttingen delivering a speech for OUCRU HCMC staff.   

Best wishes to Dr Røttingen as he begins his tenure as CEO of the Wellcome Trust. We look forward to further collaboration between OUCRU and Wellcome in the future. 

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