The Good, the Bad and the Project: interdisciplinary ethics in development research and practice.


gcrf event



In recent years the UK has made unprecedented investments in cutting-edge research to address global development challenges through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. This has brought new development actors and partnerships, as well as novel approaches to research. In light of this changing landscape, it seems fitting to ask: What ethical challenges emerge when crossing geographic boundaries to address global challenges gives way to new forms of interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral and international research? In this one-day workshop, interactive sessions combining concrete examples of 'ethics on the ground' with the 'thinking behind the practice' will provide a platform to explore questions of ethics and justice around key aspects of ODA-funded research:

Impact and problem-led research: how do we negotiate research agendas that truly address local needs and leads to societal and/or economic benefits?

Collaboration and capacity: How does commitment to strong, fair and long-term partnerships with the Global South translates in practice, and how does enhancing the research and innovation capacity of our partners meets the demands of distributive justice?

Emergency and disaster response: What ethical challenges lie at the intersection of research and humanitarian intervention?

The event seeks to bring people together to exchange views and experiences, and in this way catalyse the formation of small communities of practice around common themes. Ethics and justice issues are intrinsic to development research, but at present there are no guidelines specific to the particular ethical challenges arising from this type of research. We hope to harness the expertise of the development community in Oxford and beyond and feed these into the drafting of such guidelines.


The programme will include input from research funders and three sessions structured around the above topics. There will be a range of speakers from academia and international NGOs with extensive experience in development research. Voices from the Global South will be especially sought. In addition, break-out sessions will give participants the opportunity to coalesce around particular interests. Find out more about the programme.


The event is aimed at those in receipt of or aspiring to obtain ODA-related research funds, from the postdoctoral level upwards. Due to funding restrictions, priority for participation will be tiered as follows:

  1. Oxford academics, researchers, and senior research managers
  2. Current partners in ODA projects that include an Oxford researcher and who are based at other UK and/or Global South institutions.
  3. Researchers from other institutions not currently associated with Oxford

In all cases, researchers must be at a postdoctoral level or above. 


The event will take place at the Blavatnik School of Government


There are limited spaces for this event, so early booking is recommended. The deadline for registration has now been extended to the 18 June 2019.

If you are a researcher or research manager from Oxford or with a significant connection with Oxford*, or if you have been granted financial support from the University there is no cost associated with this event. You will need to request a password to complete the booking.

Due to funding restrictions, we are sadly unable to make this event free for non-Oxford participants and therefore there is a modest participation fee of £50 to cover costs. If you are from another institution and do not have a significant connection with Oxford you will be able to register without a password.  


* You have a significant connection with the University of Oxford if you are currently either collaborating on a project led by the University of Oxford or leading a project that includes one or more Oxford collaborators. 

Contact us

If you have questions regarding this event please contact us.