If you are engaged in collaborative research for health, if you are committed to fairness and transparency, to international development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, to increasing efficiency and effectiveness of your own research and innovation partnerships, then the RFI is for you.
There are also some very practical reasons – including these :
- The internal process to collect data and analyse your own government’s or organisation’s policies and practices towards research collaborations will show up key areas for improvement.Does your institution use an internationally accepted accounting standard? Simple question – yes. Simple answer – yes. Simple remedy: it may take time to change. But it will pay off: by introducing an international accounting standard as institutional practice, your institution suddenly becomes more attractive to foreign research investors.
- The same applies to governments: Is there a policy which requires all research bodies – private or public – who receive public funds to adopt an internationally accepted accounting standard, or hire such expertise?
- A major advantage for donors, financing partners and research funders is being able to refer to the RFI Report as an external requirement for funding. In this way, all funding recipients will have to be explicit on how accounting of funds will be done.
- Being able to read (and question) the annual RFI reports of institutions, business or governments will make the selection and engagement in partnerships more explicit.
- Any institution in a low- and middle-income country will greatly prefer to collaborate with a high-income country partner that is committed to fairly sharing intellectual property rights.
- Even if data, IP or financial benefit sharing is not ‘optimal’ from the partner’s point of view, access to the RFI report makes this clear at the start of research and encourages a priori negotiation rather than post-hoc conflict.
- Learn from others – and keep an eye on your competitors!
- Being able to publish actual measures taken and plans for improvement in their annual RFI Reports may be the only place that institutions, business or governments have to show what it is they are doing well.
- It will get read – in a publication, on the web, through the RFI portal – enhancing your reputation as a leader, or make you a ‘preferred provider.’
- It will improve new and even existing partnerships – infusing more credibility, trust, proof of commitment and therefore resilience against problems that will occur in any partnership.
- Digests of RFI Reports – in multiple sectors and over time – will lead to benchmarks, aspirational goals, best practices, and frameworks for research and innovation partnerships.
- Where there are no commonly agreed collaboration principles, many are searching, many are re-inventing wheels, many do ‘trial and error’ without sharing the lessons. RFI is the vehicle to make lessons learned in global collaborative health research stick.
- Reducing time for contracting and negotiation, reducing costs of failed partnerships, increasing longevity of partnerships and impact on global capacity to engage challenges in research and innovation for health.