SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Axelby, Richard, Worku-Dix, Beth and Crewe, Emma (2022) 'Global partnerships on paper and in practice: Critical observations from inside a Global Challenge Research Fund capacity-development project.' Journal of International Development, 34 (8). pp. 1496-1508.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0).

Download (1MB) | Preview


This article describes the bureaucratic processes required to establish and manage a single international capacity-development project that brought together a funding council (AHRC), UK University (SOAS University of London) and universities and other research organisations in Myanmar and Ethiopia. Drawing from ethnographic critiques of the planning and audit practices employed in international development and in the UK University sector, we track the formal certification of partnership as enacted through due diligence and contracts, budgets and timeframes, and reconciliations and reporting. These practices point to pervasive assumptions about capacity transfer and the unequal basis of international research coalitions spanning the Global North and Global South. In this article, we challenge these assumptions by documenting how the allocation of capacity is constrained in hierarchies of time and space. For equitable partnership arrangements to be achieved, we recommend that capacity development be considered a long-term exchange that flows from mutual reflection and learning from one another.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Partnership, research coalition
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 09541748
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2022 20:20
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item