Sida’s Research Cooperation - Research in and by low-income countries, to reduce poverty and build sustainable societies

Originally published
View original


Local ownership, long-term engagement and a systems approach

Sweden is one of the world’s most researchintensive countries. We believe in research as a foundation for development, wellbeing and sustainable and democratic societies.
This is why research cooperation is an important part of Swedish development cooperation. The overall goal is to save lives, reduce poverty and develop sustainable societies. All the research we support contributes, directly or indirectly, to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. By building local research capacity we contribute to institutional development in low-income countries, essential to promote long-term development.
All countries, including low-income ones, need research capacity to identify local problems and explore relevant solutions.

Sida supports research for, in and by lowincome countries. We build research capacity to create sustainable, self-regenerating research environments. We also promote research-driven innovation by supporting local and regional innovation systems. Our research cooperation partners operate at global, regional and national levels.
We support research in a large number of areas, such as agriculture and fi sheries, climate and environment, energy, water and sanitation, sexual and reproductive health and rights, infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the poor, economic policies, democracy and human rights. This entails natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities – applied science as well as basic research.

High-income countries still dominate the world’s collected knowledge production. Priorities of low-income countries, and the perspectives of people living in poverty, are not suffi ciently considered. The Swedish view is that development cannot be externally created or imposed. Local ownership is emphasized in all our research cooperation and research priorities are set by our partners. We are guided by principles of equity, gender equality, environmental sustainability, academic freedom, transparency and anti-corruption.

Our systems approach implies that we support many features of the research system.
Within a university, we support not only research training and research groups, but also other functions to create a productive research culture. Research capacity at universities are linked to research in regional and global organizations. We also support research councils in low-income countries.
We coordinate with other funders and mobilize resources for global research calls, promoting the participation of researchers from low-income countries (e.g. within the Belmont Forum, the European Commission and the Global Forum of Funders).

Research takes time and does not always generate concrete, applicable results in the short term. With 45 years of experience, we know that results may come after many years, even after the external research support has been phased out. Our longterm research cooperation contributes to the successful implementation of other development efforts. The budget of Sida’s research cooperation is close to one billion SEK per year.