Accepted paper:

Improving the effectiveness of ODA-funded research: views from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact


Alex Martins (Alex Martins Development)
Catherine Cameron (Agulhas Applied Knowledge)

Paper short abstract:

We propose to deliver a 30-minute interactive presentation on key findings from ICAI reviews on ODA-funded research across government, namely the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund, and recommendations for improving their governance and impact. N.B. We are available June 19 or 20.

Paper long abstract:

As a key evaluator of the UK's research funding on development challenges, ICAI scrutinises ODA research funds managed across government, particularly those overseen by BEIS. In a context of recent rapid funding increases, ICAI analyses whether these funds have appropriate governance structures in place to deliver effectively and equitably. ICAI conducted a rapid review of the Global Challenges Research Fund in 2017. We found the fund's strategy, governance, and procedures were not yet strong enough, and will review progress against our recommendations this year through the annual ICAI follow-up process. In April 2019, we will publish a performance review of the Newton Fund. This session is a prime opportunity for ICAI to learn from academic institutions and individuals at the coalface of delivering ODA-funded research, as well as share our insights on how the government has fared in delivering high-profile research funds as ODA. Our presentation will focus on ICAI's recommendations regarding research funds. These touch particularly on the governance and impact themes of panel, and will include the following: • Northern donors must distinguish between equal and equitable partnerships, ensuring that Southern partners from lower-resource institutions/areas can participate. • ODA spent across government should be held to the same standards as DFID, seeking ODA excellence (rather than just ODA eligibility). • DFID and BEIS could work more closely together on these funds, adding DFID's ODA expertise to BEIS's research and innovation experience. We propose an interactive format whereby we facilitate a short discussion following each of our points.

panel D1
Rethinking impact, collaboration and capacity in ODA-funded research