Making science work for development

Striking the Balance: Between Competition, Collaboration & Impact in International Development Research Funding Calls & Programmes

26 January 2017

Research excellence and impact is achieved by balancing competition, collaboration and impact (CCI) in funding calls for international development.

As global challenges are complex, research funding calls and programmes need to be designed in a way that fosters CCI to ensure development research is timely and impactful.

UKCDS bought together learning from UK funders to find what has worked well and the report provides options research funders can employ to foster CCI in future research calls and programme design.

We found that a competitive process supports quality assurance and raises quality levels. However, when speaking to funders they found it hard to score to what extent activities encouraged this process and had more strategies for fostering collaboration than competition.

We also looked at activities that supported collaboration across different countries, disciplines and northern and southern researchers. The menu of activities to foster collaboration are numerous - from webinars to face to face international workshops and sandpits, but the pick ‘n’ mix of activities ultimately depends on the resources of research funders.

In the UK research impact is determined through the Research Excellence Framework (REF). However, in the international development context researchers not only have to demonstrate excellence but also a connection to benefits on the ground.

This report provides insights from international development research funders and a menu of activities to pick and choose from to maximise CCI and ensure research excellence that benefits people in LMICs.

Also see our blog for a summary and reflections on the report.

  • Collaboration
  • Funding and collaboration
  • Annelise Andersen

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