A Dfid Practice Paper

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A DFID practice paper

How to note
JUNE 2010 Table of Contents

CAPACITY BUILDING IN RESEARCH

1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………... 2 Purpose of this note Who is it aimed at? What do we mean by capacity building? 2. What is the conceptual framework underpinning capacity building? ……………...... 4 Capacity Institutional rules and levels Principles of good CB 3. Capacity building process ………………………………………………………………….... 8 Step one: capacity assessment Step two: strategise and plan Step three: implementation Step four: monitoring and evaluation Reporting arrangements for DFID consortia 4. Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………. 19 Lessons learned Practical examples Annexes ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 21 1. The research process 2. Resources and reference materials 3. Research programme Consortia: Guidance note on capacity building 4. Criteria for assessment of CB proposals 5. Monitoring and evaluation generic indicators 6. Role of DFID and other donors 7. Examples of good practice

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1. Introduction
1.1 Purpose of this note The purpose of this How to Note is to provide guidance to DFID staff, Research Programme Consortia and multi–organisational research groups with partners in both the North and South, on the importance of Capacity Building (CB). It sets out a step by step approach on how it might be tackled, explains some tools and concepts that may be useful and includes good practice examples of CB which illustrate the richness and complexity of the process. However: “…..capacity building is a risky, messy business, with unpredictable and unquantifiable outcomes, uncertain methodologies, contested objectives, many unintended consequences, little credit to its champions and long time lags” (Morgan, 1998, p6) This Note aims to shed light on the Capacity Building process in the research context. And to show that despite Morgan‘s concerns progress is possible. 1.2 Who is it aimed at? Improving the capability to do and use research is one of the four key priorities of DFID‘s Research Strategy (DFID Research Strategy 2008-2013). “DFID will focus on improving research capability by supporting environments that encourage people to use research. This means improving researchers’ skills, as well their access to research information and resources. It means supporting researchers in playing a more regular and effective role in policy-making. It also means paying special attention where there are skills gaps-for example in social sciences” It is aimed therefore at research managers and at any team leaders and researchers who need to familiarise themselves with the concepts and practices of capacity building and organisational development. It is directly relevant to those running research consortia involving a range of partners; however the principles are relevant to a much wider audience. The new Research Strategy provides an opportunity to change the ‘rules of the game’ with respect to collaborative international research and the Capacity Building which is a key part of it. Most DFID funded research consortia will be larger in scope, will have bigger budgets and will require consortia managers to spend more time and energy building longer-term sustainable research organisations as well as investing in the individuals who work in them. Some consortia may take advantage of new technology to enable developing countries to use, collaboratively, facilities in distant locations that would be impossible to finance in the developing country itself, thereby harnessing equipment ‘downtime’ in the North in the interests of supporting high quality research in the South. Between 8-12% (depending on countries, sectors and definitions) of DFID‘s £120 million budget on centrally-commissioned research in 2006-2007 was spent on capacity building and this is set to increase. It is important to make the most of this investment. This How to Note should be read in conjunction with DFID‘s Guidance Note for RPCs (Annex 3)...
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