The final event in the RRP seminar series took the form of a high-level conference. Around 100 participants (academics, students, NGO practitioners, knowledge brokers/trainers, consultants, policy makers and research funders) attended over the two-day event. The conference responded to the context of ‘Brexit Britain’ to explore how research partnerships between academics and INGOs might contribute to better evidence for international development.
It aimed to:
- Share findings and recommendations from the seminar series which were based on the analysis of seven case studies of research partnerships between UK-based universities and INGOs;
- Assess the challenges and opportunities of the current UK development context, including the SDG processes, Brexit and the shifting landscape for development research collaborations;
- Respond to and extend the analysis developed during the series with insights from beyond the UK and from other policy sectors within the UK;
- Explore strategic ways forward for the practice, governance and funding of ‘evidence for development’.
While the focus of the series was on the politics of evidence and participation in research partnerships between UK-based institutions (with learning implications for British policy around research funding and international development), the conference introduced insights from other national contexts (including Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, France, India, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, Qatar, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania and the United States) and other policy sectors (including the UK’s ‘community development’ sector, education and public health).
The conference adopted a participatory approach, allowing us to draw on and respond to the vast range of expertise of participants. Participants had submitted Expressions of Interest explaining why they were interested in the event, what they hoped to get out of it and how they might contribute. This allowed us to design the agenda in a way that would maximise contribution, critical and interactive discussion and networking opportunities. We developed sessions through different formats including lightening panel talks, workshops co-designed and facilitated by academics and practitioners, open spaces for ideas, networking pitches, a gallery of evidence objects, interactive policy workshops, a world café to hone in on emerging issues, and manifestos for good practice. We also used participatory ice-breakers/networking/reflection exercises.
The conference was structured in two parts:
- Day 1: Sharing, learning and networking
- Day 2: Policy and strategy – moving forward
The conference report can be accessed here: RRP CONFERENCE REPORT_FINAL
This report summarises the discussions and key outcomes of the event. These discussions will also contribute to the development of the primary outputs of the seminar series: a critical Discussion Guide to inform future research partnerships and a peer-reviewed publication, which explores some of the analytical themes emerging from the series.