, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 31-63

North-South research partnership: Is collaboration possible between unequal partners?

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Scientific cooperation between the Industrialized Countries (ICs) and the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) has evolved greatly over the last three decades and has involved a number of varied mechanisms ranging from technical assistance to collaborative research partnerships. After a brief historical review of these mechanisms and of the conceptual debates around them, this paper considers the main programs that have been established during the last 10–15 years to promote North-South scientific collaborative partnership. One of the main problems encountered in the implementation of collaborative research programs relate to the asymmetry of the collaboration and the dominance of the partners in the North. While recognizing that conditions for success may differ depending on the main objectives of the collaboration, a list of ingredients for successful collaboration is proposed in the conclusion. This is based on the experience of the programs under review.

This paper was prepared while the author was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for International Science and Technology Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington D.C.