Understanding and Improving ‘Fair and Equitable Research Partnerships’ in Response to Global Challenges


This programme of strategic research and capacity building aimed to inform UKRI’s work on ‘fair and equitable research partnerships’ by eliciting a partners’ perspective on partnerships.


This project responded to the need for strategic research on understanding and improving ‘fair and equitable research partnerships’ to inform UKRI policy and practice. Drawing on a network of experts from academia, civil society and research capacity building providers, it mobilised a ‘partners perspective’ on participation in partnerships as the basis for establishing principles for best practice and thereby strengthening the impact of UKRI-funded research.

8 Principles for Fair and Equitable Collaboration were identified through the following methods:

  • Existing resources documenting best practice for research partnerships were reviewed and synthesised, with lessons and recommendations identified for six stakeholder groups
  • Rapid qualitative data was collected from ‘partners’ across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
  • A roundtable event was held with representatives from 6 key stakeholder groups

A range of learning modules and capacity resources targeted to the six stakeholder groups was developed to accompany the principles. A learning case study was also developed to reflect critically on the nature of participation in the project itself.

The role of IET

Dr Jude Fransman from IET applied and won funding for this study, was PI and led the international team of five Co-Investigators, liaising with the GCRF team at UKRI. The budget for the project, contracts etc were administered by IET.


The framework, principles and tools developed through this project have been used to:

  •   Frame the partnerships, and the monitoring of the partnerships, within the GCRF-funded Water Security Hub:  where INTRAC is providing support as an M&E partner (from 2019)
  • Inform INGO research strategy (e.g. INASP 2020 and INTRAC 2019) and new research collaborations (e.g. Christian Aid 2019, INTRAC 2019, ActionAid 2019)
  • Support the framework for an event/publication on research partnerships led by the Impact Initiative (2018)
  • Support the co-creation phase of a DFID-funded UK Aid Connect Award led by Christian Aid (strengthening civil society): Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (2018)
  • Informal  training for the Knowledge for Change Mentor Training Programme (UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research, 2019 and 2020)

The 8 principles have been referenced by the following organisations:

  • ICAI's performance review of the Newton Fund (March 2019)
  • The Stopping As Success project, which is a 3-year collaborative learning project on aid exit planning and supporting locally-led development, has produced ‘Guidelines for Joint Learning and Mutual Capacity Strengthening before, during and after transition’ which recommend resources from the RRC (see page14).
  • The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities logo, see here.
  • RRI tools, see here.
  • Next Generation programme of the Canadian Council for International Coorporation, see here.
  • ELRHA's Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises programme, see here.
  • Research to Action, see here
  • The European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes, see here.
  • La Trobe University Institute for Human Security and Social Change, see here.
  • The Communication Initiative Network, see here.
  • INTRAC, see here.  
  • UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, see here.
  • BOND, see here.


  • BH

    Budd Hall

  • RH

    Rachel Hayman

  • PN

    Pradeep Narayanan

  • KN

    Kate Newman

  • RT

    Rajesh Tandon

Research programmes


  • EPSRC / Global Challenges Research Fund


  • University of Victoria
  • Praxis Institute of Participatory Practices
  • Christian Aid
  • Participatory Research Asia (PRIA)
  • UNESCO Chair programme in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education