Summary of the 2016 Annual Meeting

GLC Group Photo

The fifth Annual Meeting of the Global Research Council was held from 25-27 May 2016 in New Delhi, India. The meeting was jointly hosted by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Indian Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Over 100 delegates attended the Annual Meeting, with over 50 Heads of Research Councils participating from around 45 countries, to share best practice and discuss research funding policy issues.  The two topics for the Annual Meeting were ‘Interdisciplinarity’ and ‘Equality and Status of Women in Research’, both of which build on previous GRC discussions and statements.

Statement of Principles on Interdisciplinarity  and a Statement of Principles and Actions Promoting Equality and Status of Women in Research  were discussed and endorsed by participants representing the global research community.  The aim is to provide funding agencies worldwide with a set of principles and suite of potential actions to implement to create the enabling environment necessary for investing in and supporting interdisciplinary research, and to promote improved equality and diversity practices within their own countries.

To ensure a globally consultative process and to gather input from funding agencies and interested stakeholders from across the world, regional meetings were held in Africa, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East/North Africa between November 2015 and January 2016. The output of those meetings was instrumental in developing the two documents which the GRC 2016 Annual Meeting endorsed. The five regional meetings also served as an opportunity to develop new and enhance existing relationships between organisations and across the international research funding community.

The hosts also commissioned an independent survey report on each topic from external consultants. The reports include: an overview of current literature on each topic; information on GRC participants’ policies and practice; analysis of relevant data; and recommendations for GRC participants based on the evidence presented in the reports. The reports acted as a catalyst for discussion at the Annual Meeting and provide a source for key stakeholders outside the GRC to gain insight into GRC participants’ policies and practices.

On 25 May a side event was also organised by the National Research Foundation of South Africa entitled ‘Global Research Council Policy Dialogue: Exploring Practical Approaches to Applying the Gender Lens in STI in Africa.’ It showcased practical approaches for successful interventions to support gender considerations in reviews and evaluation of grant applications, scholarly publishing, and in the implementation of the global goals. It also provided a platform for interactive dialogues including with young scientists, focusing on contextualising these practical approaches to promote science and technology development on the African continent. The policy dialogue, whose resultant discussions were subsequently referenced and taken up during the subsequent GRC Annual Meeting on 26-27 May 2016, built on previous GRC topics in supporting the next generation of researchers (2014); funding scientific breakthroughs (2015); the 2016 theme of Equality and Status of Women in Research; and the African Union’s Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063 in 2015.