Last Monday, the RDI Network and the University of Queensland hosted an informal networking event which focused on the topic of cross-sector partnerships and collaboration. A packed house of academics and practitioners from diverse backgrounds came together to share and connect their research experience and needs.
Some participants were old hands in research for development, and used the afternoon to reconnect with old colleagues. Others were new to the game, and benefited from the opportunity to learn from others’ experience as well as establish new connections across sectors. Everyone demonstrated a common appetite to break out of the siloes of sector or discipline in order to maximise the catalytic effect when skills, knowledge and innovations from different actors are combined towards tackling common problems.
Real research partnerships lead us to co-generating knowledge… They demand moving beyond the stage of building relationships, to transforming relationships.
Tess Newton Cain, TNC Pacific Consulting
Through a panel of experts and facilitated group discussion, all participants were encouraged to practice the “discipline of dialogue”. Examples of long and short-term partnership success stories were shared by the University of Queensland and the Kyeema Foundation – to name only a few. The RDI Network used the occasion to launch a new practical resource, How to Partner for Development Research, which will soon be available online.
One of the key messages which was repeatedly raised throughout the afternoon was the significance of co-generating knowledge, i.e. using research partnerships to engage the needs and plans of practitioners and communities throughout the research process.
The opportunity to step outside of the day-to-day of research or practice, and to connect with the diverse experience captured in the Brisbane development community was positively received by all. We look forward to future opportunities to continue these important conversations.