Skip to main content

Roles processes and risks within the research-practice nexus: Perspecives from academia

Sonja Keller und Katja Bender (Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, University of Applied Sciences)

This explorative study was commissioned by EADI and conducted between October 2019 and July 2020. It aimed to assess from the perspective of academia facets of cooperation between development research and practice. This included identifying main groups of non-academic actors involved, analyzing motivations as well as enabling or disabling factors, and exploring ethical challenges of research-practice collaboration in development research. The study was conducted in the context of the rising attention paid to cooperation between research and practice in the context of sustainable development.

Results show that researchers in a majority of cases have additional roles in joint projects, such as project leadership and coordination, and generally feel a strong responsibility for ensuring project success and impact. Practitioners get involved in the research process most often at the beginning (problem definition) and end (dissemination), and slightly less often during data collection. Involvement is lowest during theoretical reasoning and hypothesis formulation as well as development of research design and data analysis. Patterns in collaboration of different types of practitioners could be identified, with CSO/non-profit organizations being more often involved as partners and utilizing results more often than other types of practitioners. Factors potentially undermining project success appear to be a lack of understanding of scientific methods and processes on the side of practitioners, and lack of partner motivation as well as organizational differences.

    Sonja Keller und Katja Bender (Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, University of Applied Sciences)