Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

April 21, 2017
Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics Comments on the blogposts that
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What does Systems Thinking tell us about how INGOs and Academics can work together better?

April 20, 2017
Yesterday, I wrote about the obstacles to NGO-academic collaboration. In this second of three posts on the interface between practitioners and researchers, I look at the implications of systems thinking. Some of the problems that arise in the academic–INGO interface stem from overly linear approaches to what is in effect an ideas and knowledge ecosystem. In such contexts, systems thinking can help
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What are the obstacles to collaboration between NGOs and Academics?

April 19, 2017
I wrote a chapter on the NGO-Academia Interface for the recent IDS publication, The Social Realities of Knowledge for Development, summarized here by James Georgalakis. It’s too long for a blog, but pulls together where I’ve got to on this thorny topic, so over the next few days, I will divvy it up into some bite-sized chunks for FP2P readers.
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Beer and Tacos with Samir Doshi from USAID

October 5, 2016
  Had a fun dinner in Brixton market last week with Samir Doshi, a Senior Scientist at USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab, which describes itself as “an innovation hub that takes smart risks to test new ideas and partner within the Agency and with other actors to harness the power of innovative tools and approaches that accelerate development impact.” This
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What does ‘pure research’ on international development look like? Speed-dating at the LSE

September 30, 2016
Following on from yesterday’s musings about NGO-academic collaboration (or the lack of it), here, for my NGO colleagues is a taste of what my LSE colleagues get up to, published earlier this week on the LSE International Development blog Speed dating rocks. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to get icky. I’m talking about a session at LSE’s International Development Department where
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How can Academics and NGOs work together? Some smart new ideas

August 16, 2016
Just finished ‘Interaction’, a thought-provoking report on ‘How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice’. Written by Mark Shucksmith for the Carnegie UK Trust, the report has some good research and new suggestions on a hoary old topic. First up, a striking stat that underlines the imbalance in size and resources between academia and
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What are the implications of systems thinking for the way we design research?

July 19, 2016
If you stick around in your job long enough, you end up getting consulted a lot. Every week I seem to spend a couple of hours on skype banging on to assorted academics, NGOs consultants etc about NGOs, aid, development, life, the universe etc. The only upside (apart from a bit of human contact and an escape from reading/writing boring
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Bridging the gender data gap – Oxfam is looking for a researcher. Interested?

May 27, 2016
Oxfam’s research team is looking for a gender justice researcher. Closing date is Monday (30th May), so despite having only one typing hand (bike accident, not nice), Deborah Hardoon explains why you should apply In 1990 Amartya Sen wrote an editorial for the NY Times review of books that highlighted a numerical discrepancy with profound implications. He looked at data
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How to read and comment on a draft paper – your suggestions please

May 13, 2016
Today’s vlog (I’ll be coming back to you in a few weeks to ask whether these are worth doing) I spend a lot of time commenting on draft research and policy papers, both for Oxfam and beyond. So I put down some ideas on how I approach it, got some great input from Oxfam Research Team colleagues, and now we
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Ricardo Fuentes wants you to apply for his job as Oxfam’s Head of Research – here’s why

July 21, 2015
Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva  (@rivefuentes) is leaving and his  job as Head of Research at Oxfam GB is being advertised (deadline July 30). I’m inviting you to apply for a job whose highlights include: You get to exchange blogs with Martin Ravallion. You get to have the first citation in Joseph Stiglitz’s new book. You get to have Barack Obama misquote your work (min
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Is the era of flagship publications (HDR, WDR) coming to an end?

October 15, 2014
Had an interesting chat with some UNDP types last week in the Brixton cafe that is fast becoming my second office. In the same week as UNDP was named top donor on transparency (ahead of the UK and US), they were evaluating the UNDP’s flagship publication, the Human Development Report (HDR). Over the long term, I am a huge fan
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Why is economic orthodoxy so resistant to change? The art of paradigm maintenance.

September 17, 2014
Ever wondered why it’s so hard to shift big institutions (and the economics profession in general) on economic policy, even when events so graphically show the need for change? I’ve just come across a fascinating 2006 paper by Robin Broad, ‘Research, knowledge and the art of ‘paradigm maintenance’: the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC)’, summary here. Full paper
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