The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) have set out seven principles to align research funders towards a coordinated effort for supporting high-quality research during epidemics and pandemics.

The principles are:

  • Alignment to global research agendas and locally identified priorities
  • Research capacity for rapid research
  • Equitable, inclusive, cross-sectoral, and interdisciplinary partnerships
  • Open science and data sharing
  • Protection from harm
  • Appropriate ethical consideration
  • Collaboration and learning enhanced through coordination

We very much welcome these principles. They echo the findings and recommendations of our recent report on ethical research in global health emergencies, and we are delighted to see this cited under the ‘appropriate ethical consideration’ principle.

In our report, we made several recommendations directed to research funders that would align their policies and practices to three guiding values of our ethical compass – helping reduce suffering, fairness, and equal respect – including:

  • Putting in place innovative approaches so that researchers can directly involve communities when first applying for grants.
  • Requiring community engagement plans to be included in any funding proposal for research in global health emergencies.
  • Providing a ringfenced budget for researchers to provide feedback to participants and communities about what their research has learned.
  • Expecting the inclusion of plans for partnerships with humanitarian organisations and national health departments when researchers seek funding.
  • Promoting more equitable collaborations in research, following the principles of the Research Fairness Initiative.
  • Taking a long-term approach to funding capacity strengthening.
  • Prioritising research on stakeholders’ views of consent and governance mechanisms to create trust and confidence in data and sample sharing.
  • Exploring how grantees can be required, and supported, to share research findings in accessible and timely ways with key policy stakeholders.