Science perceptions and international trust research project

Science perceptions and international trust research project

Project description

The challenge

Scientific advances and innovation are more important than ever to address global, national and regional challenges and no one country can tackle these challenges alone.

INASP, along with 4Sciences were part of a consortium led by Research Consulting to work on a British Council-funded research project to explore the relationship(s) between international trust and collaboration in higher education and science, international perceptions of the UK as a science superpower, building the conditions for cooperation, and the UK’s role in fostering domestic and international research talent flows. 

The study focused on DAC-listed countries and their science relationships to the UK, and aimed to explore: 

  • What (if any) are the benefits for a country to support and encourage international collaboration in science? 
  • What is the role of science in a nation’s soft power? 
  • What is the role of cultural relations in supporting international science?  

Our approach

The research project sought to provide an approach to mapping international collaboration in science, international mobility of researchers and students, international perceptions of countries, and levels of international trust; and innovative visualisations of the relationships between these factors. 

Interviews with 27 policymakers and research funders were undertaken to inform analysis of the needs of DAC countries and the approaches taken by comparator countries.

INASP’s role was to provide advice during the delivery of the project, to comment on emerging results, and to peer review drafts of interim and final project reports.


The final report explores how scientific research can be leveraged to promote international cooperation, at a time when public trust in both is increasingly under threat. While the Coronavirus crisis’ impact on future science budgets, researchers’ mobility and priorities remains largely unknown, this report makes the case for continued investment in research collaborations with low- and middle-income countries.

It investigates collaborative patterns in the global research landscape, the drivers behind these and the role that developing countries play. It explores how collaborations can be embedded in wider partnership agendas and how asymmetrical relationships can be avoided to establish mutually beneficial partnerships and sustainable impact. 

Funded by
Lead partner
4Sciences Group
4Sciences Group