Collaboration in research is not a new phenomenon. However, there is been significant growth in collaborative research between the private and public sector, between industry and academia, between and among universities and knowledge institutions and sometimes within different disciplines and departments within same institutions. Collaborative research as a trend has been driven by the realisation that life problems and indeed opportunities are best addressed thorough multi-disciplinary efforts.
There are various disadvantages that collaborative research brings to parties involved and ultimately, to society that benefits from research findings. These are:
- Multi-disciplinary teams can come up with more comprehensive findings that take important facets into consideration. For example, a study of poor access to healthcare services can be provide richer outcomes if public health administrators, economists, medical experts and practitioners and statisticians. Most organisations do not have all of these groups of professionals. Teaming up with other institutions that have will help to overcome tunnel vision associated with research efforts being focused in one professional grouping.
- Collaborative research increases the efficiency of research teams enabling important research findings to be churned out comparatively sooner. This is very important in situations were research findings are needed to solve a concurrent and time-sensitive problem
- Collaboration encourages innovation and versatility
- Collaborative research enhances the confidence of important research stakeholders including funders mainly because of its perceived higher probability to provide meaningful research findings
- Collaborative research facilitates knowledge transfer across disciplines and the total result of this is a more educated hence more responsive academia
As a private sector research entity, we openly welcome proposals for collaborations in many areas and disciplines. Our strengths and major contributions in research partnerships are technical in nature, specifically:
- Designing the research
- Preparing the research proposal
- Sampling and data collection
- Data analysis and interpretation
- Research reporting and publication
A memorandum of understanding on the roles and responsibilities of involved research partners on the above technical areas of collaboration including on the ownership of the final research output is usually out in place before the research collaborative efforts begin.