In this learning paper on partnership we explain the Global Research Network on Parliaments and People (GRNPP) experience of managing international research coalitions.

Our Deepening Democracy Programme was launched in 2017 in response to the pervasive perception that researchers and research organisations located in the Global South have limited capabilities. We recognised that this was misguided. While resources for research and higher education may be limited in the Global South, and are unevenly distributed between and within nations, there are no limits to the talent, skill and commitment found in any place. This is why when we set up grant-making within this programme and encouraged Myanmar and Ethiopian scholarsto apply as Principal Investigators. Evidence that our approach works, and that scholars in the Global South produce outstanding work if in control of their own research, can be found on our partners’ research pages and in this output library. 

We have been reflecting on the partnerships involved in this programme. In this paper we are addressing the question: – how can UK universities be better partners in the context of our neo-colonial world? What kind of decision-making, ethics, financial systems, technical support and communication are needed? Richard Axelby, Emma Crewe, Sewit Hailesalassie, Jas Kaur, Myat Thet Thitsar and Bethel Worku-Dix outline how we have been managing and learning about grant-making, partnership and evaluation over 4 years. We also offer principles and practical recommendations about how to engage in ethical grant-making and partnership.

This final version has been designed by Research Retold.