The road to development and growth is through innovation. New knowledge generation – primary or through ‘big data’ – and translation of findings into scalable solutions are the only ways for all countries to develop and to make development last. And partnerships are key to this, as one cannot become globally competitive in isolation. From project-level collaboration to global research and innovation consortia involving many stakeholders, partnerships are essential. This is why the Sustainable Development Goals have even created a separate Goal 17 to promote partnerships.
The global health research and innovation ‘business’ is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, if not more, where most of it is concluded not through single laboratories or individual researchers, but through increasingly complex partnerships that are necessary to deal effectively and timely with increasingly complex, cross-boundary problems. Not just in health, but in environment, food security, urbanization and many other areas where research and innovation is needed to turn challenges into opportunities and solutions.
Partnerships are key, and the RFI is a first, global effort to create transparency, accountability and opportunities to develop benchmarks and agree on ‘best practices’ and promote fairness in collaborations. The RFI emphasizes sharing all benefits of research to ensure that low- and middle-income countries can ‘catch up’ in global health R&D and become increasingly important contributors to global health, equity and development.
There are illustrations of specific advantages for specific situations listed in the section on ‘Why become an RFI user?.’ Think about it this way: would you not prefer to enter into a partnership with institutions and countries that subscribe to the Research Fairness Initiative whose RFI Reports you can read to see how they are dealing with complex partnership issues?