Understanding and improving ‘fair and equitable research partnerships’ to respond to global challenges

This programme of strategic research and capacity building (funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Global Challenges Research Fund – GCRF) aimed to bring to the fore a ‘partners’ perspective’ on fair and equitable research partnerships in response to global challenges. It sought to offer a deeper understanding of persistent bottlenecks in partnerships that risk undermining the international development goals of research initiatives such as the GCRF and the Newton Fund (NF); and to offer strategies to address these.

In particular the project aimed to address the limited voice of practitioners and academics based in the global South in the governance, design and implementation of UK-funded international development research. As well as including existing participants in GCRF and NF programmes, this also included actors who are either not currently engaged or who drop out early in process.

The project targeted three types of ‘partner’: academic institutions based in the global South; civil society organisations based in the global South; and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and international organisations providing research capacity building or playing a brokering role between the other partner groups and UK-based academics/ research funders. 

The project was structured around the following six objectives:

  1. To model a fair and equitable research partnership and generate reflexive learning;
  2. To gather qualitative research into partner experiences of participation through the lens of ‘fair and equitable partnerships’;
  3. To draw on existing evidence-informed frameworks to identify barriers to and opportunities for fair and equitable participation in research;
  4. To convene a roundtable bringing international experts with decision-makers on UK research policy to establish principles for best practice, identify capacity needs for different stakeholder groups, and develop policy recommendations;
  5. To consolidate existing resources on supporting best practice for different stakeholder groups;
  6. To develop training modules for each stakeholder group responding to the principles of best practice.