Accepted paper:

Pathways and barriers to development-oriented research through international university partnerships: findings from an evaluation of split-site doctoral research scholarships


Brendan Harrison (Commonwealth Scholarship Commission)

Paper short abstract:

This session covers the findings of an evaluation conducted by the CSC into the successes and challenges of its scholarship which provides ODA funding to PhD students in the Global South to do research seeking to address a specific development issue in their home country at a partner UK university.

Paper long abstract:

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) offers ODA-funded Split-Site scholarships to PhD students from low and middle income Commonwealth countries to spend 12 months of their home-country registered PhD programme conducting research at a UK university. The programme seeks to support scholars who are undertaking development-oriented research from a variety of disciplines by facilitating access to UK-based equipment and expertise, while also strengthening international collaborations and partnerships between the (home) universities in the Global South and the (host) UK partners. Drawing upon 230 survey responses and 70 key informant interviews with current scholars, alumni, and their supervisors from both home and host universities, this session will present key findings from the CSC's recent evaluation of the 487 Split-Site scholarships funded to date. Specifically, it will highlight the successes and challenges that scholars and supervisors experienced while conducting ODA-funded, development-oriented doctoral research projects, and associated issues that arose from creating and navigating personal and institutional partnerships across a variety of disciplinary and country contexts. The session will include videos provided by home country-based participants in the evaluation speaking about their experiences recorded specifically for this session, which will provide illustrative examples of their experiences creating pathways to ODA-funded research. The session will provide a case study of the pathways and barriers for researchers and universities seeking to collaborate on ODA-funded, development-oriented research that addresses specific development needs of the home countries, while also increasing the teaching and research capacity of their higher education institutions through the sharing of expertise and experience.

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