Higher Education

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 93-104

First online:

Reflexive deliberation in international research collaboration: minimising risk and maximising opportunity

  • Angela BrewAffiliated withLearning and Teaching Centre, Macquarie University Email author 
  • , David BoudAffiliated withUniversity of Technology
  • , Lisa LucasAffiliated withUniversity of Bristol
  • , Karin CrawfordAffiliated withUniversity of Lincoln

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International research collaboration raises questions about how groups from different national and institutional contexts can work together for common ends. This paper uses issues that have arisen in carrying out the first stage of an international research project to discuss a framework designed to map different kinds of multi-national research collaboration in terms of increasing complexity and increasing time to research outputs. The paper explores factors that enable and that constrain progress in carrying out collaborative research. The paper highlights the complex interplay within research practice of factors that derive from institutional structures and those that appertain to individuals as agents. It uses the personal and collective reflexive deliberations of the authors, to demonstrate that as the complexity of the research interface increases, and as the time to research outputs increases, so structural risk increasingly develops into agentic risk, and that structural risk becomes increasingly required to be managed through agentic action.


Research management Internationalisation Collaborative Research projects Research processes