The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and ESSENCE on Health Research published a Good Practice Document, ‘Four Approaches to Supporting Equitable Research Partnerships’.


The guidance was developed in consultation with a taskforce of international research funders and draws on the experiences of funders, research organisations and researchers in low-, middle-and high-income countries. It aims to support equity in research partnerships by assisting funders, research organizations and researchers to improve their ways of working in multi-country research partnerships, particularly in relation to low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts.


Cross-regional research partnerships are widely acknowledged to improve the focus and quality of research, and it is understood that research impact improves when there is alignment with LMIC priorities. Yet equity in research partnerships still needs to be addressed.


Equitable research partnerships should exhibit mutual trust, participation, responsibility and benefits for all partners, and place equal value on each partner’s contribution.


Recognizing the need for practical interventions to promote equity and restore balance in research partnerships, the guidance provides concrete recommendations for overcoming them. It pays equal attention to the soft/ values-based (fostering mutual respect, developing shared priorities, etc.) and the applied aspects of equity (institutional requirements, funding arrangements, etc.).


Each recommendation targets funders, research organizations, and/or researchers. These recommendations are grounded in lessons learned in a series of case studies and pertain to one of four interconnected approaches:

  1. Support the research partnership ecosystem
  2. Strengthen research relationships and research systems
  3. Budget for partnership building
  4. Implement processes and procedures that sustain partnerships
Read the report now