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International Development Research @ Cambridge


Our Principles

These principles draw on those defined by a Working Group set up to develop a University of Cambridge Africa Strategy. This group was chaired by Dame Barbara Stocking and consulted colleagues in the University of Cambridge and partners in sub-Saharan Africa. They reflect the University’s commitment to developing fair and equitable partnerships. The Cambridge Global Challenges Strategic Research Initiative is sharing these principles to inform the development of partnerships between researchers in the University of Cambridge working in collaboration with researchers in the Global South. 


In research, consideration to: 

  • Beginning any research agenda through engagement with existing research being done in universities and research institutes in the Global South, and exploring openly whether there is real interest in collaboration, so that it does not interfere with their existing work.  
  • Clarity and transparency of the purpose and ways of working in all collaborations; time and resources invested for genuine collaborations to develop.  
  • Inclusiveness across gender, race, and class lines for those involved in research and research management.  
  • Awareness of existing evidence-bases and networks within Cambridge, so as to promote more information-sharing and collaboration within the University, to avoid duplication of effort, and to learn from existing experience.  
  • Accountability for research through collaborative dissemination of research results within the contexts being studied, including in appropriate languages, and by working together with existing academic and research institutions.  
  • Open conversations and initiatives between Cambridge and Global South partners on good practice in institutional governance, academic progression and strengthening financial management and research ethics.  
  • Ensuring that the intellectual property rights of all parties are protected, and that data generated by research in the Global South is made available to the communities from which that data comes.  
  • Abiding by the University’s standards for research ethics and good research practice. Research must also recognise local expectations and practices and comply with local regulations and laws, without compromising University standards. Individual examples include: national export control laws, appropriate national permissions and permits for foreign researchers, local national and institutional scientific and ethical clearances (in most Global South countries applications for all these permissions must be made by the lead Global South researcher), international regulations for transport of biological and hazardous materials, the Declaration of Helsinki, the Nagoya Protocol, and the UK Human Tissue Act 2006.



In teaching, consideration to:  

  • Encouraging applications from the Global South in coordination with existing initiatives and in conversation with Global South universities and other partners.  
  • Looking into mechanisms for widening access for a diverse range of students in the Global South, such as through needs-based scholarships, and develop greater awareness of the hurdles students from the Global South face in applying and being admitted to Cambridge.  
  • Making sure that Cambridge is a welcoming, supportive place for students from the Global South, with awareness of both academic and pastoral issues at the University and College levels. Attention to racism and an emphasis on equality and diversity training will be a part, as well as, for example, an awareness of the cultural specificity of many of the University’s support systems.

UKCDR Principles

The UK Collaborative on Development Research sets out its own broad set of principles of engagement for facilitating equitable partnerships with the Global South. In 2017 they published a report highlighting 10 ways funders could improve equitability in North-South partnerships:

  1. Inclusive agenda-setting
  2. Funding new research questions and valuing complimentary skills and knowledge
  3. Setting the tone
  4. Rewarding skilled project managers and team players
  5. Looking for equality beyond the leaders
  6. Equitable budgets, research and financial management
  7. Providing ongoing institutional capacity strengthening
  8. Widening participation
  9. Investing for the long-term
  10. Working closely with other funders and agencies in the North & South

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


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Learn how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research here.


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