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Local buy-in ‘vital’ when supporting research overseas

To make their interventions sustainable, UK universities must prioritise local needs when they support research in low and middle-income countries, a government report has said.

The study, conducted by Research Consulting for the Department for International Development and published on 12 August, found that there had been a “misalignment” between the agenda of donors, including UK universities and the government, and the agenda of local and national stakeholders.

“When you have that, you fail to generate the buy-in that is necessary for the sustainability of interventions,” said Mattia Fosci, principal consultant at Research Consulting and one of the report’s authors. He told Research Professional News that while international projects might involve collaborations with university research institutes or multiple partners, they would be short-lived without local buy-in. “You risk creating a culture of dependency on foreign aid,” he said.

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