Research capacity building and its impact on policy and practice are increasingly highlighted in the literature on international research partnerships. In the field of education and development, it is recognised that, in the past, international research collaborations have tended to be dominated by the agenda of Northern partners. Partly in response, new modalities are developing and, in the UK, funding has recently been channelled through large consortia of research institutions spread across several countries delivering a themed programme of research projects. These are expected to build research capacity in the South and influence policy in the countries in which research is conducted, at the same time as producing quality research of international relevance. This article reflects critically on the experience of one research consortium made up of academic institutions in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa. It analyses participation in setting the research agenda, distribution of leadership and forms of capacity building within the consortium. New roles and tensions are identified and implications are drawn out for future international collaborations, funding bodies and ongoing debate within the literature on international research partnerships.
Comparative Education (2011) 47 (1) 25-43 [DOI: 10.1080/03050068.2011.541674]