Five key discussions and outputs from the SCOR Board Meeting in May 2019
- Cross-government strategic approach on Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa
The importance of the oversight role of the SCOR Board in ensuring coherence to support the UK’s new partnership approach in Africa on Science, Technology and Innovation was highlighted.
DFID is in the process of recruiting new staff in Africa to augment the HMG platforms on science, technology and innovation in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, joining together with the Science and Innovation Network and DCS Tech Hubs.
- UK Kenya Housing Research symposium great model for future engagement
The UK-Kenya Housing Research Symposium in May, co-hosted by the Kenyan and UK governments, was considered highly successful, engaging high-level Kenyan and UK government representatives. The SCOR Board commended it as an example of partnership with Kenya with a focus on one of the Kenyan Government’s top 4 policy priorities.
It was also a successful cooperation across several government departments (FCO, Science and Innovation Network, DFID, BEIS and DHSC) and the UK ODA research for development funds. The symposium is being considered as a model for future engagement with other African countries.
- SCOR agreed to the development of a joint funder position on equitable partnerships, and the harmonisation of good financial grants practice
To enable the research environment for international development, UK funders can promote good practice through joint action and support partnerships internationally, for example: standards on safeguarding in research for development and principles of equitable research partnership.
Following a presentation on research ecosystems, the SCOR Board has agreed to take joint action on equitable research partnership principles, which is expected to be valuable for both government funders and universities. Other areas of joint action will be explored.
- UK visas for visiting academics
SCOR Board independent members raised the issue of visas for international academics from developing countries seeking to visit the UK for conferences, meetings and research collaborations. Information from the academic community suggests that the number of rejections of visa applications appears to have significantly increased over the last years which presents a risk to UK’s international science collaboration and research excellence. Independent members and the chair of the SCOR Board briefed the Board on their intention to write to the Home Secretary on this issue.
- Ebola outbreak
The SCOR Board identified the UK response and engagement in the current Ebola outbreak as an important area for joint action. The value of the contribution made by Wellcome Trust’s social sciences division to the Ebola response was particularly noted. Potential opportunity for joint engagement between WHO and SCOR, UK government departments and other research institutions.