The paper is the final report of an initiative that aimed to increase the interaction between researchers from Japan and the United Kingdom who work on development issues. Current interaction between researchers is surprisingly limited and further collaboration would be beneficial as both countries are major donors and have different comparative advantages. Increased interaction fits well with current moves to increase information sharing and enhancing aid effectiveness.
The project found that:
- The nature of current interactions between development researchers in Japan and the UK is generally rather limited, informal and ad hoc.
- There is interest in this initiative from both sides but demand is certainly stronger from Japan (and this is a concern for some). There is perceived value in greater interaction between development researchers in Japan and the UK, and there are a number of simple initiatives that could be carried out relatively easily and cheaply.
- The main (interlinked) barriers relate to issues of language, lopsided demand and funding.
- Issues of longer term coordination and funding are still to be fully resolved. From the UK side, ODI and the Development Studies Association are probably best placed. From the Japanese side, this will depend on issues of legitimacy and willingness.
It argues that it would help both communities if they had chances to interact more both virtually and face-to-face on pressing issues of development policy. Any network will need to proceed in a stepwise and organic manner. It should pick low hanging fruit and take opportunities where they appear, with an eye to building towards something more ambitious.