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2021 – The Year of Equitable Research Partnerships

2021
The Year of Equitable Research Partnerships

Fair research partnerships that allow all partners to work together on a level playing field are an essential component of science collaboration if it is to have maximum impact.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted this even more clearly, as collaborative work was the cornerstone for much of the research effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the virus, and to  ensure equitable access to these innovations .

While partnerships are increasingly being recognized as an core component of research, significant gaps remain – specifically in partnerships between projects between teams in high-income and low-and middle-income countries. Here, very real problems persist in terms of the fairness and equitability of partnerships. Power imbalances related to research planning, implementation and inequitable sharing of benefits, costs and outcomes still appear to be a pervasive issue, despite the recognition that these problems exist.

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The good news is that today many organisations are responding to the need for a fairer balance of power in north-south research relationships. They are pushing to increase the equity of collaborative research by developing clear principles, tools, guidance and initiatives that improve the quality of relationships between the institutions involved.

In 2021, we are calling for the principles of equitable partnerships to become a top priority for all stakeholders in the research-to-action pathway.

Here’s how you can help: 

  1. Share our “2021 – The Year of Equitable Research Partnerships” badge on your email signature, social media, websites and blogs, with a link to this page.
  2. Donate any amount to the Research Fairness Initiative, where funds will be used to help LMIC organisations to produce RFI reports.
  3. Share the campaign with colleagues and friends who are committed to normalising fair and equitable research partnerships.

If you have any other suggestions for how we can spread the visibility and increase this drive towards fair and equitable research partnerships, please feel free to let us know at rfi@cohred.org.

To help drive these equitable partnerships we have identified a range of useful best practices by organisations around the world. The table below gives snapshot of groups who, like COHRED, are ‘walking the talk’ of equitable research partnerships by putting in place ways to progress toward this goal.

We invite you to have a look, to be inspired by these examples; and to take action in making fair research partnerships a reality in your region.

1

Organization

Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in Southern Africa (CAPRISA)

What they are doing

RFI subscribers -Institutional Report in progress

2

Organization

UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR)

What they are doing

UKCDR produced a report on how funders could support research partnerships to be more equitable:  Finding and building effective and equitable research collaborations or partnerships. UKCDR has also set up a global cross-funder task force on equitable partnerships to move from principles to action, and better understand barriers and enablers to equitable partnerships.

4

Organization

University of Cape Town (UCT)

What they are doing

RFI Reporting institution – draft pending

5

Organization

Human Engagement Learning Platform (HELP) for Global Health

What they are doing

The Human Engagement Learning Platform (HELP) for Global Health is a team of researchers and consultants based at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA. We work to translate global health organizations’ ethical intentions into policy and practice through a suite of programs including stakeholder engagement, organizational learning and moral imagination.

 

HELP was recently awarded a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore whether global health campaigns that adopt the RFI also see improvements in their impact and effectiveness. As part of the study, we are currently working with COHRED to develop the Fair Partnerships by Design Virtual Workshop, which will help new and existing partnerships to:

  1. Assess the goals, capacities, and constraints of their current partnership structure;
  2. Design a “fairness strategy” for their campaigns; and
  3. Build the strategy into policy and practice through coaching and mentorship following the workshop.

Grand Challenges Explorations Announcement: https://gcgh.grandchallenges.org/grant/improving-campaigns-through-organizational-learning

6

Organization

World Association for Industrial and Technological Research Organisations (WAITRO)

What they are doing

We are currently setting up our new website on which we will have an extra section for our partners, including Research Fairness Initiative (RFI) where we will promote and inform about the resources and tools that RFI offers.

7

Organization

Association of Commonwealth Universities

What they are doing

The ACU is committed to supporting equitable research partnerships and has a page dedicated to their actions and mission around this topic:

https://www.acu.ac.uk/get-involved/how-the-acu-supports-equitable-partnerships/

8

Organization

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

What they are doing

Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings

Coming soon – a small e-module, gold open access, on the code funded by UCLan

Other recommendations

9

Organization

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement

What they are doing
RFI subscribers in 2020 -Institutional Report in progress
In January 2015, the IRD signed the Charter of Ethics for Research Professions
IRD created the Guide to Good Practices in Research for Development in 2015 as the result of a collective work in the field with IRD staff and their partners. The principles of the Guide to Good Practices in Research for Development were developed to take into account the duty of reserve to which agents working in host countries are bound, in accordance with the conventions that govern their activities.
This Guide to Good Practices in Research for Development was an inspiration for the RFI especially when it was extended from the health sciences to all topics in research cooperation.
Other recommendations

Research Fairness Initiative

Fair Research Contracting

10

Organization

Special Programme for Research and Training In Tropical Diseases (TDR)

What they are doing

First Institution to produce an RFI report in 2018 – https://www.who.int/tdr/publications/year/2018/rfi-report/en/

Other recommendations

Research Fairness Initiative

Fair Research Contracting

11

Organization

Working to Advance Science and Technology Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation

What they are doing
Working to Advance African Women (WAAW) Foundation works to expand Africans engagement in Technology Innovation by empowering African women through STEM training, entrepreneurship & leadership.
A one time 2016 GEM-Tech awardee in the Promoting Women in the Technology Sector category, WAAW was awarded for its work providing training, mentorship, and scholarships aimed at increasing the pipeline of women entering STEM fields as leaders and technology innovators and its commitment to bridging the gender digital divide.
Other recommendations

Research Fairness Initiative

Fair Research Contracting

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©Copyright COHRED RFI 2020 | Managed and administrated by the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED)

©Copyright COHRED RFI 2020 | Managed and administrated by the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED)