Global scholarship programme seeks tobacco harm reduction leaders of tomorrow
- Open to participants from all professional backgrounds, Knowledge•Action•Change's Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme is seeking its seventh cohort
- Deadline for applications 30 November 2023, with 25 entry-level places available
- Bespoke mentoring, grounding in policy and practice and stipend offered to support Scholars who complete individually designed projects
- Like the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction, the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme is a project run by Knowledge•Action•Change (K•A•C)
A global programme helping to produce the tobacco harm reduction leaders of the future is currently seeking new applications. In its first six years, the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme (THRSP) has had an unprecedented impact around the world, developing the careers of 95 Scholars from 42 countries across six continents.
Run by UK-based public health agency Knowledge•Action•Change (K•A•C) with the support of a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, the THRSP is currently looking for its seventh cohort of Scholars. Successful candidates will receive a 12-month bespoke mentoring programme to undertake a THR-related project of their own design, plus $12k in financial support. New Scholars are also invited to the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland, where they learn more about tobacco harm reduction and meet leading figures from the field.
Applications for the 2024-25 Programme close on 30 November, with 25 places available. On completion of the first Scholarship, graduates of the THRSP then potentially have access to up to a further three years of funded support from K•A•C, through the one-year Enhanced Scholarship Programme and the two-year Kevin Molloy Fellowship.
Applications will be accepted until 30/11/23. In a change to previous years, potential Scholars must complete a short online course and quiz about tobacco harm reduction at the applications portal before submitting their project ideas.
What is tobacco harm reduction?
Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a potentially life-saving intervention for millions of people across the world. To those who currently use high-risk tobacco products, like combustible and some oral tobaccos, it offers the chance to switch to a range of safer nicotine products that pose fewer risks to their health. These include nicotine vapes, heated tobacco products, snus and nicotine pouches.
Why was the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme created?
The THRSP was launched to increase research and practice capacity in tobacco harm reduction in target locations and populations where current activities and resources are limited. The THRSP has a particular focus on low and middle-income countries (LMIC), where the need for new approaches to tobacco-related harms are especially acute. It aims to introduce new thinkers, new ideas and new methods to tobacco harm reduction, as well as increasing the use of social media and new technologies to disseminate accurate information about the potential for safer nicotine products to reduce the global number of smoking-related deaths, which currently total 8 million every year.
The THRSP achieves its goals in a number of ways. Applicants to the Programme must devise a project that will improve understanding of, or communication about, tobacco harm reduction appropriate for their country, region or personal area of expertise. Current and former Scholars have published original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, created national and international tobacco harm reduction networks, developed smoking cessation toolkits for healthcare practitioners, and produced new media resources ranging from articles and films, to radio shows and podcasts.
Chimwemwe Ngoma from Malawi graduated from the Programme as part of its first cohort, and now manages the Scholarship Programme on behalf of K•A•C. He is proud of his experience both participating in and now leading the Programme. “My journey through the Scholarship Programme showed me firsthand the value that tobacco harm reduction can bring to communities like my own. Since joining the THRSP Team, I’ve watched Scholars from six continents gain the knowledge, confidence and skills to deliver a huge variety of projects, all of which share the goal of reducing tobacco-related death and disease. I can’t wait to see what this year’s applicants will submit, and I am looking forward to getting to know our new cohort and supporting their aims and ambitions.”
The new cohort of Scholars will be the third group to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who is Patron of the THRSP. On taking up his patronage, Nadelmann said: “I'm honoured to be a Patron of this Scholarship Programme, not just because I've met so many stellar recipients but also because it's so essential given the resistance of World Health Organization (WHO), powerful philanthropists and so many governments to tobacco harm reduction.”
What do Scholars say about the THRSP?
Juan José Cirión Lee is a lawyer and Enhanced Scholar from Mexico who is writing a book on the relationship between harm reduction and human rights. Also an Associate Professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, he said: “The most important part of the Scholarship from K•A•C is that they provide support to countries and regions that are being overlooked, even though many of these areas have large numbers of high-risk tobacco users. Another significant aspect of the Programme is the freedom K•A•C give you to do your projects. Through the THRSP, K•A•C are helping Scholars do the projects that they think are good for spreading the concept of tobacco harm reduction in the places where they live.”
Another Enhanced Scholar, Kiran Sidhu is a journalist and author from the UK who has published articles on a range of tobacco harm reduction issues as part of her Scholarship. She said: “Meeting all of the Scholars at the Global Forum on Nicotine was a really exciting experience. There was such a positive atmosphere throughout the event and there were lots of people from different parts of the world, all talking passionately about tobacco harm reduction and human rights, so from day one I’ve really appreciated the community feel you get from the THRSP. I made some really good friends in Warsaw. You learn so much and it’s a fantastic bonding opportunity.” To read some of Kiran’s work for Filter Magazine click here.
So what happens next?
If you have an idea for a project exploring an aspect of tobacco harm reduction, the THRSP invites you to apply for your place on the 2024-25 Programme before the deadline for applications on 30/11/23. In a change to previous years, potential Scholars must complete a short online course and quiz about tobacco harm reduction at the applications portal before submitting their project ideas.
For further information visit www.thrsp.net
THRSP enquiries: [email protected]
About us: Knowledge·Action·Change (K•A•C) promotes harm reduction as a key public health strategy grounded in human rights. The team has over forty years of experience of harm reduction work in drug use, HIV, smoking, sexual health, and prisons. K•A•C runs both the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme and the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) which maps the development of tobacco harm reduction and the use, availability and regulatory responses to safer nicotine products, as well as smoking prevalence and related mortality, in over 200 countries and regions around the world. For all publications and live data, visit https://gsthr.org
Our funding: The Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme is funded with a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Inc. (FSFW), a US non-profit 501(c)(3) independent global organization. The FSFW has no role in the planning or execution of this project.