RT019 - Can donor commissioned development research be independent?
Convened by Dirk-Jan Koch (Radboud University and Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands)

Billions of euros are invested into global development to address inequality, poverty and political marginalisation, also in connection with climate change and other environmental threats. However, with these large investments, also into research, donor politics enter the arena. This year again cases surfaced where the independence of donor commissioned academic research was violated. Academics were asked to modify conclusions, or attempts were made to prevent academics from publishing their work. In this round table the ethical dilemmas around the independence of donor commissioned development research are discussed, with academics who have been battling to maintain their independence and research coordinators at donor agencies who aim to balance research relevance with research independence.


  • Professor Charlotte Watts – Chief Scientific Advisor of the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office
  • Professor Carine Ronsmans – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Professor Valery Ridde – Centre Population et Développement (Ceped), Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD)
  • Franck Klinckenberg - Director at Klinckenberg consultants