On the agenda: North-South research partnerships and agenda-setting processes

Co-operation between researchers in the global North and South is critical to the production of new knowledge to inform development policies. However, the agenda-setting process is a formidable obstacle in many development research partnerships. The first section of this article examines how bilateral donor strategies affect collaborative agenda-setting processes. The second section explores researchers' motivations for entering into North-South partnerships; the obstacles that Southern researchers encounter in agenda-setting processes; and the strategies that they employ to ensure that research partnerships respond to their concerns. This analysis suggests that while strong Southern research organisations are best placed to maximise the benefits of collaboration, donors and researchers alike are well advised to recognise the limitations of this approach and use it prudently, because North-South partnerships are not necessarily the best way to advance research agendas rooted in Southern priorities.