There is a strong expectation from institutions and funders in the Global North that research in or about the Global South is conducted in partnership with local stakeholders (academics, government, civil society). Establishing effective collaborations is essential to ensure not only that local views, as well as cultural and social contexts, are adequately represented, but above all that the research delivers social value by addressing local needs and mapping onto local development priorities. North-South collaborations are also a vehicle to develop research capacity, so that over time, local knowledge production processes are strengthened and countries in the Global South become less reliant on development solutions generated elsewhere.
There is not a single answer to this question as it will depend on the specific contexts and circumstances of the partnership. However, some general principles apply to all collaborations
Equitable division of labour: partners in the Global South should not be engaged as fieldwork assistants, tasked with data collection, while the most intellectually intensive aspects of the research are undertaken by partners in the Global North
Shared agendas: overseas partners should be involved from the early stages of the research design and planning of activities. They should have power to influence the research priorities according to local needs and social/cultural expectations.
Shared resources: whilst funders often have specific financial management requirements, control over resources should be equally shared. All partners ought to be given a say in how funds should be distributed and managed. Transparency through agreed mechanisms for decision making are an essential component of fair partnerships.
Having appropriate and robust governance procedures is key to ensure that overseas partners are involved in major decisions and have an equal status and say in the project's development as other research partners. The GCRF guidance advises setting up an Executive group which is responsible for plans, policies, responsibilities and key decisions and that overseas partners should be represented on this group.
Fairness is not just about equality. It is, above all, about recognising the inherent power disparities between partners and taking positive steps to reduce them where possible. Open dialogue about issues of power is important at every step of the project. Over time, this builds the necessary trust that is at the heart of fair research collaborations.
Legal Services advise that the legal/employment status of overseas field workers paid in cash at a daily rate will depend on the applicable laws of the relevant country. Advice should be sought from qualified local lawyers about the University's tax and employment law obligations so that it can ensure that these are met. (This advice should be sought through Legal Services but funded by the department.)
Research Services provides some guidance on building collaboration in research. This highlights specific areas to consider at the planning stages of research (eg around authorship and how credit in publication will be assigned, how data will be managed etc). Please contact Research Services to ensure suitable collaboration agreements are arranged. Please also check Research Services' guidance on research collaboration.
In 2018, the European Commission adopted the Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-poor Settings. Researchers in receipt of Horizon 2020 funding – and its successor Horizon Europe – are expected to abide by the code if their research takes place in developing countries. Other funders (including GCRF) may also follow with the same requirement.