The Global Research Council, a virtual organisation of science granting councils and research funding agencies, held its 7th Annual Meeting during 14-16 May 2018. Co-hosted by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the National Research Foundation of South Korea (NRF) in Moscow, Russia, the meeting’s deliberations focused on merit review and science diplomacy.
Concluding the discussion on merit review, Dr Molapo Qhobela, NRF South Africa CEO, underscored the fundamental importance of continuous adaptability and strategic insight within the context of a changing global landscape for science, technology and innovation. Funding agencies acknowledge their role in science diplomacy, especially as it relates to catalysing international scientific cooperation, and have endorsed the formation of a GRC working group to lead further discussions in this area.
Gender and diversity as a cross-cutting theme of the Global Research Council
In 2016 GRC participants endorsed the Statement of Principles and Actions Promoting the Equality and Status of Women in Research. Anchoring the ten actions are two considerations: the participation and promotion of women in the research workforce; and the integration of gender in
research design and analysis of research outcomes. On 14 May as an official side-event of the GRC Annual Meeting, the Gender Working Group hosted a dialogue to facilitate an exchange of perspectives by heads of research councils on the global implementation of the GRC statement of principles and action plan. The session also advanced discussions on the collection, analysis and reporting of gender disaggregated data, and especially to contribute to comparative analysis across the GRC. Focus on indicators of success, and further conversations on domesticating the statement of principles and action plan have been endorsed as the key implementation areas for the working group for the next year.
Dorothy Ngila, NRF, and Roshni Abedin, UKRI, are the co-leads of the Gender Working Group.
A formal Working Group on Partnered Learning Programmes, initiated by the NRF and IDRC in 2017, was accepted by the Governing Board. As part of the Annual Meeting, a range of engagements by the NRF were honoured, including with the South African Embassy, RFBR, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and other bilateral discussions. In addition, the NRF as the current ICSU adhering body, witnessed the historical conclusion of an agreement between the Pan-African Psychology Union and Russian Psychological Society at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.
The GRC was established in 2012 and brings together heads of approximately 75 publicly funded science granting councils across the world to share experiences, network and further shape the role of funding agencies. In 2015, the NRF South Africa co-hosted the meeting with Japan in Tokyo. The Africa region is represented in the GRC Governing Board (Dr Molapo Qhobela, NRF South Africa and Dr Yaya Sangare, Executive Secretary, PASRES, Cote d’Ivoire) and in the Executive Support Group (Dr Aldo Stroebel, NRF South Africa, as co-chairperson). Dr Yaya Sangare was elected as the second representative of the Africa region on the Governing Board during this meeting.