PS3-3 : Increasing fairness and impact of research partnerships

Purpose of this session is to go beyond calls that ‘research partnerships between high income countries/institutions and low & middle income countries/institutions should be ‘fair’ and ‘equitable’.

This session presents (the only) two pragmatic tools encouraging the creation and maintenance of responsible and fair research partnerships – and gives voice to two key people representing an international organization and an African country, respectively, who pioneered the use of the RFI. They will describe the added value of the RFI and discuss the implementation in their respective situations.

The “11 Principles and 7 Questions” of KPFE [full name] provide a set principles and practices of ‘good partnership’ focusing on research collaborations between the ‘global North’ and ‘global South’ that has been developed over 20 years. Stakeholders need to interpret these guidelines and questions to their specific collaborations – so there is no ‘golden standard’ to measure partnerships against. The “11 Principles and 7 Questions” are well known in Switzerland and in some international organisations but less so elsewhere. More recently, research funders are becoming more interested in the KFPE Guidelines as part of responsible research funding.

The “Research Fairness Initiative (RFI)” of COHRED is an organizational reporting system for all research stakeholders (government departments, national agencies, research and academic institutions, business, non-profits). An institutional RFI Report makes explicit how research collaborations are managed, what policies and practices are in place, and how benefits, costs and outcomes are shared. Reporting is done on the 15 key areas that matter most to quality and fairness in research partnerships. RFI Reporting Organisations contribute to and have access to the RFI Web, in which existing guidelines and best practices are listed – including those of the KFPE. RFI Reports are validated for a 2 year period, and the focus of reporting is on how to improve partnership management over the short-term.

The synergy between the RFI and the KFPE Guidelines are clear: in the process of completing the RFI Report, institutions will become aware of the KFPE Guidelines (and others) – and are encouraged to adhere to one or more of these to guide institutional conduct. In this sense, the RFI is both a ‘due diligence instrument’ and a ‘compliance tool’ promoting awareness and implementation of existing legislations, policies, guidelines and practices aimed at optimizing research partnerships.



Beran DavidChairmanHUGSwitzerland
Lys Jon-AndriThe 11 Principles and 7 Questions: some lessons learnt in intercultural research partnershipsSwiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE)Switzerland
IJsselmuiden CarelThe Research Fairness Initiative (RFI)COHREDSwitzerland
Dia Tine Soukèye RFI Implementation in Senegal – early lessons at national and institutional levelsMinistry of Higher Education and ResearchSenegal
Terry RobertRFI Implementation by WHO/TDR – added value, lessons on implementationWHO/TDRSwitzerland



PS : Parallel session PS-3 : Health actor