The Good, the Bad and the Project: interdisciplinary ethics in development research and practice
In recent years the UK has made unprecedented investments in cutting-edge research to address global development challenges through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. This has brought new development actors and partnerships, as well as novel approaches to research. In light of this changing landscape, it seems fitting to ask: What ethical challenges emerge when crossing geographic boundaries to address global challenges gives way to new forms of interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral and international research? In this one-day workshop, interactive sessions combining concrete examples of ‘ethics on the ground’ with the ‘thinking behind the practice’ will provide a platform to explore questions of ethics and justice around key aspects of ODA-funded research:

Impact and problem-led research: how do we negotiate research agendas that truly address local needs and leads to societal and/or economic benefits?

Collaboration and capacity: How does commitment to strong, fair and long-term partnerships with the Global South translate in practice, and how does enhancing the research and innovation capacity of our partners meet the demands of distributive justice?

Emergency and disaster response: What ethical challenges lie at the intersection of research and humanitarian intervention?

The event seeks to bring people together to exchange views and experiences, and in this way catalyse the formation of small communities of practice around common themes. Ethics and justice issues are intrinsic to development research, but at present there are no guidelines specific to the particular ethical challenges arising from this type of research. We hope to harness the expertise of the development community in Oxford and beyond and feed these into the drafting of such guidelines.

The programme will include input from research funders and three sessions structured around the above topics. There will be a range of speakers from academia and international NGOs with extensive experience in development research. Voices from the Global South will be especially sought. In addition, break-out sessions will give participants the opportunity to coalesce around particular interests. Details of the programme will follow.

The event is aimed at those in receipt of or aspiring to obtain ODA-related research funds, from the postdoctoral level upwards. Due to funding restrictions, priority for participation will be tiered as follows:

Oxford academics, researchers, and senior research managers
Current partners in ODA projects that include an Oxford researcher and who are based at other UK and/or Global South institutions.
Researchers from other institutions not currently associated with Oxford
In all cases, researchers must be at a postdoctoral level or above.
Date: 4 July 2019, 9:00 (Thursday, 10th week, Trinity 2019)
Venue: Blavatnik School of Government, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter OX2 6GG
Speaker: Various Speakers
Organising department: Research Services
Organisers: Tristan Eagling (Global Challenges), Maru Mormina (NDPH), Gill Wells (European Team)
Booking required?: Required
Booking url:
Audience: Public
Editor: Christa Henrichs