Annual review 2021: Supporting researchers to thrive

Supporting Southern research and Southern researchers has been central to INASP's work for many years, through INASP's AuthorAID project. Over the course of 2021 we worked to understand better the needs of early-career researchers in the Global South and enabled more opportunities for research collaboration and engagement thanks to our AuthorAID community model. We helped the Research4Life access initiative to understand the needs of researchers and librarians in low and middle-income countries through an extensive user review. And our work last year continued to support the use of evidence in policy making, including via the SEDI and DAP programmes. Our support to Southern research is underpinned by our digital platforms and digital learning and by our work to help improve gender equity in research.

Developing AuthorAID towards a community-led model

Since its launch 15 years ago, AuthorAID has been working to address inequities experienced by researchers in the Global South, through training and mentoring in research writing and proposal writing. Over the course of 2021, we increased our membership to more than 26,000 researchers and ran three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on research writing and proposal writing. Together, these courses supported more than 7,500 researchers from 74 countries (with over 2,000 completing their MOOCs). The pandemic has changed many things for the researchers whom we support, and so the AuthorAID platform has needed to grow further to respond to this. In response to challenges that our community have faced over the past year we have worked on establishing new ways of working, creating community champions, and facilitating easier community collaboration.

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"The course will have impacts not only for me but also for my colleagues in my department. This is not the first time I have joined this course, I started in 2018 including the pilot writing course, I have been sharing all of the knowledge I have gained from this course to my colleagues from my department as well as other people from the country."

Medical doctor, Myanmar

Listening to the voice of early-career researchers in the Global South

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that research and evidence are more important than ever. However, challenges in the research environment can affect who chooses to be a researcher, the types of choices a researcher makes in their career, whether they will stay in that career, where they carry out their research, what they research and how they communicate it. Under the auspices of our Global Platforms for Equity in Knowledge Systems (GPEKE) project, we surveyed early-career researchers across the AuthorAID community and have begun piloting a new Research Positivity Index, to track how researchers feel about their research career and environment in the longer term.

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