News & events


Beyond good intentions – the Research Fairness Initiative (RFI)

05 October 2017
13:30 - 14:30


Presenter:  Prof Carel IJsselmuiden, Executive Director: Council on Health Research for Development (the COHRED Group), Geneva, Switzerland

Date: 5 October 2017  
Time:  13h30 – 14h30 
Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town

Why partnerships – in research
Research is all about partnerships and is increasingly about large networks of collaboration to deal with increasingly complex global problems – in health, food security, climate change and more. Partnerships provide access to expertise, capital, innovation, equipment, populations, problems and solutions not available to single institutions, sectors or countries.
High quality research that stimulates and sustains social and economic development can only happen in high performing national research and innovation systems. To develop these takes many decades – perhaps 50 years or more. The long-term predictable funding needed for research system development can, realistically, only be achieved in two ways: i) national funding prioritizing research system development – and ii) ensuring that the many short-term partnerships that take place over this period are constructed within a framework of fairness, equitability and impact.
Why the RFI
The RFI is designed as a voluntary reporting system applicable to all stakeholders in research and innovation – applicable to any science field. Every two years, the user produces an updated institutional RFI Report – describing current status in relation to 15 core aspects of fair, equitable and effective research partnerships – and providing plans to improve over the coming 2 years. RFI Reporting aims to achieve the following:

  • Direct benefit to the RFI Reporting Organisation (RROs): a comprehensive framework for research management, and for creating and maintaining fair, effective partnerships – not in the least by making internal values explicit
  • Increased compliance with existing guidelines, standards, benchmarks and legislation – completing the RFI Report encourages knowledge and use of existing guidelines, such as the KFPE partnership guidelines
  • Due diligence and transparency – quality of partnerships are often assumed. The RFI encourages mutual examination of 15 key determinants of fair, effective and lasting partnerships – before these are started – and to publish these so all partners can make informed choices.
  • Global learning platform – creating evidence-base on what works in partnerships around the world. The RFI ecosystem will provide systematic learning on a global learning platform – a first in research and innovation partnerships
  • Resilience – research and innovation systems are key to support socio-economic development and resilience of nations. The RFI ecosystem is owned and developed by all stakeholders, is transdisciplinary – and will evolve as systems and capacity grow.
  • Transform – the global research governance system to one of equitability, fairness, and impact on the research and innovation capacity of all nations.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST.

Cape Town : HSRC, 116-118 Merchant House, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen August ,Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299 or e-mail:
Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact: Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or email: , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail
Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811 or e-mail: