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Research in development: what does it take to make a difference?

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This power point presentation seeks to present the case for GDNet’s emphasis on connecting the South with global debates on sustainable development, to explore some of the challenges experienced by …

This power point presentation seeks to present the case for GDNet’s emphasis on connecting the South with global debates on sustainable development, to explore some of the challenges experienced by researchers in developing countries and to outline the work that GDNet is doing to try to meet them.


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  • 1. Research in Development What does it take to make a difference?ff Sherine Ghoneim, Director GDN Cairo 1
  • 2. The reality for thousands of junior researchers in developing countries “Being located in a university which  does not have much infrastructural  support as far as research is  concerned, budding researchers like  me would be de motivated to bringme would be de‐motivated to bring  out serious studies due to lack of  access to other studies taking placeaccess to other studies taking place  all over the world. GDNet has come  as a new lease of life to me.” Source: GDNet 2010 Survey 2
  • 3. Research Communications from and for the Global South ….supports southern researchers  to contribute and debate ideas  in development thinking policy  and practice by: helping researchers’ research findings travel furtherhelping researchers  research findings travel further building researchers’ confidence and ability to  i h i k l dcommunicate their knowledge 3
  • 4. Managed by the GDN Cairo Team An international organization dedicated to helping social scientists The Global Development Network (GDN) An international organization dedicated to helping social scientists  from across the South generate new knowledge on development. 3 GDNet is funded by: A collaborative program…A collaborative program… GDNet works with 20+ partners  i l di f R i lincluding a group of Regional  Network Partners 4
  • 5. What do we mean by “the South”? Vast majority of countries with a Very High HDI score (considered as being “the North”) are located in Indicates countries  classified as the  “South” 5 being the North ) are located in the northern hemisphere.
  • 6. The urgent need for greater global research cooperation • The Global Society has evolved more rapidly in the last decade than• The Global Society has evolved more rapidly in the last decade than  in the past 50 years. • Financial crises, revolutions and riots, climate change, new  diseases…all creating new challenges. • Local and regional problems have become global problems.  We need knowledge and experience from the South to play a more  prominent role in responses to these global challenges, at every level. “We cannot create a world where our actions have no impact on others, and what happens to 6 have no impact on others, and what happens to others has no impact on us.” President Clinton.
  • 7. Times have changed since GDNet was founded (The Economist: 2001 to 2011) 7
  • 8. How GDNet has evolved from 2001 to 2011: online activities Created  online portal of research from the South Regional Coordinators to encourage researchers to participate Thematic approach introduced Piloting web 2.0 tools and plans for micrositesot g eb .0 too s a d p a s o c os tes 8
  • 9. How GDNet has evolved from 2001 to 2011: capacity building Knowledge management in research institutes Sharing lessons learned through conferences Helping individual researchers communicate to policy Developing information literacy training for researcherse e op g o at o te acy t a g o esea c e s 9
  • 10. GDNet’s Theory of Change: the beliefs underpinning the program Example of an assumption 10
  • 11. Key elements of the GDNet logframe Goal: Better policy informed by better research Purpose: Diverse research and policy audiences make better use ofPurpose: Diverse research and policy audiences make better use of  development research from the global south O t tOutputs • Southern research better informed by current ideas and  knowledge  • Researchers better able to communicate their research to policy  • Knowledge networking between researchers and with policy  actors increased  • Lessons about knowledge brokering best practice in the global  south learnt and communicated 11
  • 12. Three clusters of activities C ti Brokering  information  Creating  spaces for  engagement  from and for  southern  researchers g g between  researchers  and withresearchers and with  policy makers Building  southernsouthern  capacity in  communicatin 12 g research to  policy
  • 13. GDNet identified some key challenges facing southern researchers 1 Accessing development research and data1. Accessing development research and data  2. Securing research funding 3. Communicating research findings to peers and  policy audiences p y 4. Perceptions of, and demand for, southern research 13How is GDNet responding to these challenges?  
  • 14. Challenge 1: Accessing development research and data Reliable access to online  GDNet provides: journals too expensive for  many GDNet provides: Free access to online journals &  data Latest peer‐reviewed  research important for  Document delivery by post or email C i b ildi i i f iresearch proposals and  submissions to journals Capacity building in information  literacy “GDNet’s free access to academic  journals can change the nature of  Poor internet access   restricts use of e‐journals j g f research in developing countries  which are beleaguered with poor  resources” Researcher South Africa Information literacy may be  a barrier 14 resources  Researcher, South Africa Source: GDNet 2010 Survey
  • 15. Challenge 2: Securing research funding Funding environment is  very competitive GDNet provides: Funding Opportunities Newsletter  Some researchers have  better access to funding  h h Toolkit on proposal writing and  research fundraising news than others Capacity to write proposals  “In very poor countries like Ethiopia where it is impossible to is sometimes an issue Ethiopia where it is impossible to finance your higher education, getting funding for research is very hard ” 15 very hard. Source: GDNet 2010 Survey
  • 16. Challenge 3: Communicating research findings to peers and policy audiences Northern research institutes GDNet provides:Northern research institutes  tend to have more capacity  and resources for  GDNet provides: Tailored research communications  training and ongoing support communications Northern researchers more  An online platform to highlight southern  researchers and their work visible in international  publications and at  f Opportunities to engage with  researchers and policy makers “GDNet has helped me to conferences on  development disseminate my findings to people I didn’t know, who in turn, have helped my research by providing How can southern research  be heard? 16 p y y p g feedback on it. “ Professor, Delhi
  • 17. Challenge 4: Perceptions of, and demand for, southern research “To most editors in the West Not enough support for  southern research among  To most editors in the West,  Harvard seems a sounder bet  than Hyderabad”  (Arunachalam,  ) “One of the major challenges…is  g international publishers Partly due to lack of access  1999) to translate research into  academic publications …[and]  meet standards dictated by  y to latest peer‐reviewed  journals northern pedagogical and  academic practices “ GDNet researching attitudes  to and use of southern  Source: GDNet 2010 Surveyresearch in North and South 17 Development research and policy communities need to “Connect South” 
  • 18. What does it mean to Connect South? For GDNet: • promote and strengthen the southern voice:  amplification and advocacyamplification and advocacy • foster southern ownership of the program:  opportunities for southern researchers to inform and  contribute to GDNet’s work • empower southern researchers: continuing with  capacity building and developing new platform to  18 p y g p g p support research collaboration
  • 19. What does it mean to Connect South? For southern researchers: • Search for and use reliable research and data: remain  d d h bcommitted despite the barriers to access • Submit research to intermediaries that reach those• Submit research to intermediaries that reach those  working globally in development research and policy:  e.g. maintain a profile on GDNet and build relationships g p p with the media P i i i li d ffli k d• Participate in online and offline events, networks and  discussions: may require them to learn to use new tools  or communicate about their work to non‐specialist 19 or communicate about their work to non‐specialist  audiences
  • 20. Connect South: collaboration and cooperation with individuals and organisations worldwide are key to success • Donors to fund more capacity  building for southern researchers; g ; “research is most likely to be  appropriate when it has been  developed by researchers in the hostdeveloped by researchers in the host  country” (DFID).  • Southern research institutes to  incentivise researchers to spend  time on communicationtime on communication • Publishers to support southern  20 researchers to make their work  more publishable
  • 21. What will make a difference? Spaces that enable all researchers to share knowledge,  debate and challenge potentialdebate and challenge potential  solutions to global problems,  regardless of their geographical g g g p location. 21
  • 22. Thank youThank you Sherine Ghoneim sghoneim@gdn.int Sherine Ghoneim sghoneim@gdn.int www.gdnet.orgwww.gdnet.org 22