UniPID participated actively in the 2nd Nordic Conference for Development Research: Knowing Development - Developing Knowledge, organized in Espoo, November 14-15, 2013. UniPID coordinated a working group Impact of Knowledge? Revisiting the research-policy nexus and organized in cooperation with EADI a round table discussion on the best practices and challenges in North-South research partnerships. Throughout the conference, UniPID exhibited an info desk, where information on the network, new UniPID brochures, and particularly updates on the upcoming FinCEAL activities were presented.

In the UniPID working group, six interesting papers were presented and discussed. In the first session on Thursday morning, Marja-Liisa Swantz reflected on Creating Space for Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in the Academy,Lisa Richey and Ricky Braskov presented their paper Finding Danish Frames: Communications, Engagement and Global Justice, and Pekka Seppälä from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland gave his insight about Utilising research in Finnish bilateral development cooperation. In the second session on Thursday afternoon, Rachel McIntosh and Tarah Friend from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) presented their work on Getting research knowledge into policy and practice: Testing DFID’s theory of change for research uptake, Aida Bekturova presented her paper Reflexive Fieldwork Notes: Marxist Critique of Capitalization of Research, and finally Hasan Muhammad Baniaminspoke about Third Sector’s Innovations and Development: A Case from Bangladesh. In the working group, particularly the need for mediation between local communities and theorists, and then again between researchers and decision makers, were discussed widely. Also the importance and proper use of participatory approach as well as building of trust when doing field research were emphasized in the papers and discussion.

Liisa Laakso, the representative of the Academy of Finland, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki
Liisa Laakso, the representative of the Academy of Finland,
the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki

The aim of the UniPID and EADI Roundtable on Research Partnerships, was to discuss the possibilities of creating a set of principles and practices to improve research partnerships. Tiina Kontinen, as the representative of the EADI Sub-Committee on research partnerships, presented the preliminary results of EADI’s study on the theme, on the basis of which Jussi Pakkasvirta, the head of the Department of Political and Economic Studies at the University of Helsinki, chaired the discussion. The discussants – Liisa Laakso from the Academy of Finland, Leapetswe Malete, Director of International Education and Partnerships at the University of Botswana, Faustin Maganga, Associate Professor in the Institute of Resource Assessment at the University of Dar es Salaam, and Jeremy Gould, the representative of UniPID and a Professor of Development and International Cooperation at the University of Jyväskylä – reflected on the best and worst practices in research partnerships and gave their insight on how to combine academic excellence and capacity building aspirations in research partnerships. In addition, they were asked to consider what kind of funding schemes should be designed to support good partnerships. There was a common understanding on the close link between research cooperation and capacity building, which support each other and should not be separated, but funded together as indispensable parts of good research partnerships. The discussants also agreed that the funding instruments should better support equal partnerships between Northern and Southern partners, and also that there is an urge for more South-South cooperation and Southern funding to balance with the Northern funding.

From left to right:Jeremy Gould from UniPID/University of Jyväskylä
and Faustin Maganga from the University of Dar es Salaam