The toolkit is designed “to support the creation and advancement of fairer north-south and south-south research relationships in the higher education research landscape”, ACU said in a statement.
According to ACU, the unique needs and challenges of higher education were at the forefront of the creation, resulting in a “carefully curated” selection of practical resources for universities to utilise and enhance equity in their research relationships.
“We look forward to sharing our toolkit with universities, helping to foster more equitable partnerships across the Commonwealth and build a more equal society for all,” said Beate Knight, head of programmes at ACU.
“Supporting equitable partnerships between our 500+ strong global network of members is at the heart of our mission and fundamental to the ACU’s strategy. We believe that it is essential for universities to be at the forefront of action and research combating entrenched inequalities.
“International research partnerships have become a growing reality and necessity in higher education, with increased collaboration between universities from the global north and south, and between those from high-income and low-and middle-income countries,” added Knight.
The toolkit focuses on stimulating private critical thinking and dialogue on the meaning of equity in a research alliance.
The resources aim to aid research professionals to plan, implement, disseminate and sustain equitable research partnerships through the content.
The content is divided into five sections; building understanding and awareness, stakeholder identification and analysis, envisioning achieving and assessing desired partnership impact, research study – design and implementation and checklists.
“The global conversation on inequity and unfairness in research partnerships has gained significant traction in recent years, with increasing calls to action to implement changes in practice,” said Therina Theron, senior director, research and innovation at Stellenbosch University and co-chair of the ACU Supporting Research Community Steering Committee.
“Equitable partnerships are an indispensable component of fair and just scientific research”
Theron, speaking at a webinar to launch the toolkit, added that the practical tool will allow researchers and stakeholders to go from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk” when it comes to collaborations that promote equality and fairness.
“Equitable partnerships are an indispensable component of fair and just scientific research that benefits populations globally,” said Theron.
She added that the toolkit will “raise awareness around the damage done to scientific integrity through inequitable research partnerships, allow for reflection, and offer practical interventions to help ensure equity”.