Student & ECR Spotlight – Chalchisa Abdeta shares the main challenges that an early career researchers are facing in low-middle income countries

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).

I studied Bachelor of Science degree in Physiotherapy at University of Gondar, Ethiopia. Then, I have practiced as Physiotherapist for more than 8 years at government hospital in the eastern part of the country since February 2010. In June 2014, I have joined Haramaya University to study my postgraduate in General Public Health. While studying my masters, I have started promoting physical activity and conducted my thesis on magnitude of physical inactivity and associated factors among adults in Harar town, Ethiopia. After my graduation with master of public health (MPH), I have taken several physical activity and non-communicable diseases online training courses. Then, collaborated with different international organizations such as Global Observatory for Physical Activity-GoPA!, Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) and SUNRISE International Study working as the main country contact for Ethiopia. Since May 2019, I’m working as AFRO Regional Representative for Early Career Network (ECN) council of International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH). I’m now applying for PhD in Physical Activity for Health abroad and hope to complete in the coming 3-4 years. I am a member of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) and International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA).


How would you briefly describe your current research/job to someone who is not familiar with your field of study/work? What is your main research interest?

My research interest is mainly focuses on human movement behaviour (Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep time) among children, adolescents and adults. I have contributed on physical activity research having more than 5 peer-reviewed publications. I have collaborated with different international organization with on-going research projects in this areas. This gives me an opportunity to be a better physical activity researcher in Ethiopia and beyond.


What are the main barriers you encounter/experience when conducting research, or what information/skills do you lack to conduct high quality research?

I’m facing two big challenges: – (1) Lack of financial support to conduct physical activity research and attend international conferences. For instance, none of all my studies were received any funds. I have expended from out of my pocket which can affect the life my families. Besides, I have withdrawn from different 6 international conferences due to lack of financial support from 2016-2019. This will affect my career development and limit my exposure to share my research work with international researchers in the field of physical activity. (2) There is no physical activity research unit and materials to conduct objectively measured physical activity studies in Ethiopia.


What could help you as a student/ECR to further develop/grow in your current position?

I will excel my career if I get access to funds and equipped physical activity research unit. This allows me to attend a different international scientific conferences for sharing experiences and collaborate with physical activity researchers in the world.


What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition and/or physical activity field?

Creating opportunities for excellence in research and capacity building on human movement behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behaviour & sleep) and healthy diet across the world will the next most important development required in physical activity and nutrition field.




You can get in touch with Chalchisa via e-mail: [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @chali4PA