New guidance promotes equity and balance to transform the global research ecosystem

20 September, 2022

UKCDR & ESSENCE on Health Research lay out four interconnected approaches to supporting equitable research partnerships in a new Good Practice document, published today.

Today, the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and ESSENCE on Health Research published a Good Practice Document, Four Approaches to Supporting Equitable Research Partnerships’.

The guidance was developed in consultation with a taskforce of international research funders and draws on the experiences of funders, research organisations and researchers in low-, middle-and high-income countries. It aims to support equity in research partnerships by assisting funders, research organizations and researchers to improve their ways of working in multi-country research partnerships, particularly in relation to low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts.

Cross-regional research partnerships are widely acknowledged to improve the focus and quality of research, and it is understood that research impact improves when there is alignment with LMIC priorities. Yet equity in research partnerships still needs to be addressed.

Equitable research partnerships should exhibit mutual trust, participation, responsibility and benefits for all partners, and place equal value on each partner’s contribution.

Recognizing the need for practical interventions to promote equity and restore balance in research partnerships, the guidance provides concrete recommendations for overcoming them. It pays equal attention to the soft/ values-based (fostering mutual respect, developing shared priorities, etc.) and the applied aspects of equity (institutional requirements, funding arrangements, etc.).

Each recommendation targets funders, research organizations, and/or researchers. These recommendations are grounded in lessons learned in a series of case studies and pertain to one of four interconnected approaches:

  1. Support the research partnership ecosystem
  2. Strengthen research relationships and research systems
  3. Budget for partnership building
  4. Implement processes and procedures that sustain partnerships

These approaches build on the excellent work that has already been done to promote equitable research partnerships. Each approach is informed by existing resources and tools available on the UKCDR and ESSENCE Equitable Partnerships Resource Hub and beyond.

Recognizing the topic’s importance and nature,  the Good Practice Document is also available in French.

UKCDR and ESSENCE on Health thank the taskforce members, representatives from UKCDR and ESSENCE members, survey and discussion group participants and everyone else who contributed to bringing this Good Practice Document to fruition.

To learn more about the guidance, UKCDR and ESSENCE will be hosting a virtual event the Science Summit at United Nations General Assembly 77 (UNGA77) on 26 September 2022.

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