News article

London, UK 18 October

Today we share our statement of commitment to prevent and tackle harm and abuse in research for international development. As members of the Strategic Coherence for ODA-funded Research (SCOR) Board, we condemn all incidents of harm and abuse, including bullying, sexual and other forms of harassment.

As major funders of international development research, we pledge today to join efforts to raise standards of behaviour across the sector, working in partnership with the development research community.

On the day of the international Safeguarding Summit hosted by the Department for International Development, where the Secretary of State for International Development, the Right Honourable Penny Mordaunt MP, has announced her commitment to drive up safeguarding standards across the international aid sector, research funders in international development want to take this opportunity to share our support.

“It is vital that funders set the tone in promoting an organisational culture that condemns all forms of harm and abuse, and we expect research institutions to put the systems and policies in place to support these efforts,” says Professor Peter Piot, Chair of the SCOR Board hosted by UKCDR.

There is already an established wealth of knowledge and experience in research ethics and research integrity.

“Our members want to build on the high-quality frameworks that exist across the sector, and work with our partners to ensure we collectively raise and adhere to the highest standards across research disciplines,” says Dr Marta Tufet, Executive Director of UKCDR.

UKCDR will work with funders and safeguarding experts to adopt an evidence-based approach, implementing change where the risk and need is greatest; and being clear about responsibilities of funding partners to take appropriate action as required in response to any abuses that may occur. Through this statement, funders are clear that they also reserve the right to terminate any individual research funding contracts if a breach of safeguarding practice is proven.

We commit today to work towards the development of practical and relevant principles and guidance to support international development funders, research institutions and other organisations that conduct development research, to drive up safeguarding standards across the sector.

 

Notes to editors

  1. SCOR Board members are: Department for International Development (DFID), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Trust.
  2. UKCDR is a group of government departments and research funders working in international development.
  3. Professor Baron Peter Piot is Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Professor of Global Health. He is an internationally respected scientist and was a key member of research team which discovered the Ebola Virus in Zaire in 1976. He has held the most senior positions in a wide range of UK and international research institutions. He was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008. Under his leadership UNAIDS became the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS, also spearheading UN reform by bringing together 10 UN system organizations. He was awarded an honorary knighthood KCMG in 2016, and took up his post as SCOR Board Chair on 1 November 2017.
  4. Dr Marta Tufet is Executive Director of UKCDR. She previously led the development of the UK Department of Health’s first NIHR Global Health Research Programme, while on secondment from Wellcome, where since 2009 she had been developing and implementing a wider range of Wellcome’s strategic research funding partnerships and capacity strengthening initiatives in developing countries, including fast-tracking the Ebola research response.

 

Press contact

Tania Ghosh

Communications Manager, UKCDR

Email: t.ghosh@ukcdr.org.uk

Phone: 020 7611 8360 / 07767 615 132