Pilot project to address research power imbalances between Global North and South institutes

News article 29 Nov 2023
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Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

A project to enhance equitable research partnerships between institutes in the Global North and South has received Wellcome Trust funding.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has been awarded £1m by Wellcome's Institutional Fund for Research Culture for a two-year pilot programme, working with four partner research institutes in Malawi, Kenya, Cameroon and Zimbabwe.

The programme will address capacity gaps in research management which perpetuate power imbalances between high income institutes in the Global North and partners in the Global South who are often operating in resource constrained settings. These imbalances weaken the ability of world-class international research institutions to respond to national and international research priorities and manage large multinational grants, which risks their future sustainability.

Activities will help to foster a culture of equitable partnership and mutual recognition, as part of LSTM’s commitment to building an inclusive research culture, both internally and with international partners. The programme builds on successful initiatives such as LSTM’s Centre for Capacity Research and the Research Administration and Management Programme (RAMP).

Professor Hilary Ranson, Dean of Research Culture & Integrity at LSTM, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from the Wellcome Trust to work with four of our close international partners on enhancing research culture. For a research-intensive institute working to improve health outcomes of disadvantaged populations across the globe, ensuring partnerships with researchers in the Global South are equitable, and that the intended beneficiaries are centred in the design, implementation and dissemination of research projects is fundamental to our mission. An inclusive research culture embraces equitable partnerships, acts with integrity, honesty and transparency, and provides fair recognition.

“In this two-year pilot study we will share good practice in programme administration and research management, conduct baseline capacity assessments of research management in each partner institute and then collectively design and implement action plans to address these gaps.  We will also support a community of practice in research uptake amongst our partners, paying particular attention to the critical role that programme management staff play in ensuring the outputs from research are appropriately disseminated and utilised. 

“The activities are purposively designed to strengthen interprofessional collaboration and lead to a greater recognition of the roles and contributions of different professions to research outcomes. They also support LSTM’s work to reflect on our history and act to address the continuing impact of colonial legacies.”

Wellcome's Institutional Fund for Research Culture has funded 24 institutions with up to £1m of grant funding to take on ambitious projects that advance research cultures and research environments that are equitable, diverse and supportive.

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