Monday, 29 August 2016

Aditi Bulletin Issue 6

Note from Managing Editor

The current issue focuses on Working in a Consortium. Several organisations have found it fruitful to work in a consortium to address an issue. It is also the belief of some donors that the results provided from consortium partners are largely more complete. The networking and interchange of knowledge in a consortium has increased and grown to be useful. Today consortium partners seek to not only share knowledge with each other, but also, have started customising the need to suit the goals. As always I would like to thank the wonderful members of the Editorial team who came up with doable ideas which has helped in making this issue a dream come true. Thanks to all the contributors who kept to the deadline.

Managing Editor, Aditi


Ajoy Dutta,
Research Fellow, ODI - RAPID, UK

Most issues these days tend to not lend themselves to study within individual disciplines or policy areas. Nor do they confine themselves to national boundaries. Take medical ‘tourism’ in India among Pakistani nationals, for instance. As Rabia Manzoor and Vaqar Ahmed point out, understanding the opportunities, constraints and impacts of this requires expertise in areas such as health policy, trade policy, private sector development, foreign affairs, border security issues, finance and banking policy among others. Moreover, this requires knowledge and action among people and organisations from both India and Pakistan, as well as from regional or supranational bodies located elsewhere.

However, discussions shouldn’t be limited to scientists and other experts. Government organisations, despite their flaws, are usually seen as the central agent for bringing about progress and development. In addition, non-governmental organisations, community groups and associations which are often self-organised and are perhaps working more coherently and quickly towards better cross-border healthcare access than government authorities (given their stronger understanding of the local context and their likely greater ownership over any solutions) will have a significant contribution to make to any research and/or engagement around the findings and efforts to improve the situation.

Hence, a range of stakeholders, including researchers (from a range of policy areas), policymakers (from different institutions) and civil society and practitioner groups need to come together – combining relevant concepts, approaches, knowledge and experiences to address the issue. However, this is not easy to do. It relies on trust and a willingness to work together, especially when things get difficult. In addition, working across national boundaries is far from straightforward. People in different countries may think and act in ways that differ from each other and can create power asymmetries which can put pressure on relationships. Individuals and organisations will have their own motivations – for instance, to publish in top peer-reviewed academic journals and to secure promotion/tenure.

Researchers who might be taking a lead may not be comfortable with engaging with other stakeholders or feel that their role is purely to observe and undertake cutting-edge research (and not ‘participate’, which might be seen as compromising their neutrality, or simply not have the time). Or they may see engagement narrowly as an opportunity to educate, teach or inform stakeholders about their work rather than a form of joint exploration of the multiple dimensions of the issue. Others may not have, for instance, the facilitation and/or management skills to effectively engage with stakeholders and it is often unclear where/how researchers can acquire support or training in these areas. The absence of a legal status and a secretariat for a collaborative group also results in one of the ‘members’ stepping up to channel funding to others, often creating tension among them. The depth of commitment and strength of personal relationships thus needed for successful collaborative working is often underestimated and sufficient resources to do this (time, energy, financial) and good leadership are also necessary. The articles in this edition explore some of these challenges in more detail and what various groups have done to overcome them.


by Mohd. Sahil Ali, Research Scientist, CSTEP

by Rabia Manzoor, Research Associate, SDPI, Pakistan and Dr. Vaqar Ahmed Deputy Executive Director, SDPI, Pakistan

by Aditi SinhaSenior Associate Manager, SHAKTI Sustainable Energy Foundation 

by Leandro Echt, Member of Politics & Ideas and On Think Tanks

Consortium Models

I came across this interesting and a simple article which clearly defines and explains some key points to consider while forming/working in a consortium. The image below gives an overview of the important factors. For more details you can read the full article

By: Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head, Communication and Policy EngagementCSTEP


Adriana ArellanoResearch Director, Grupo FARO

K. S. Murali, Ph.D., IDRC

Subrat Das, Executive Director, CBGA


Concept - Dr. Jai Asundi, Principal Research Scientist, CSTEP

Illustration - Sandeep Khasnavis, Graphic Designer, CSTEP

Interesting Readings

This article briefly lists the various advantages and disadvantages of working in a consortium and also provides plausible questions for consortium partners. 

This policy brief titled “Working as a Consortium – Benefits and Challenges” provides insights from the Enhanced Livelihoods in the Mandera Triangle Programme. It “draws on findings from a self‐assessment and external evaluation of a consortium established by six international nongovernmental organizations”. The brief mainly focuses on the “six lenses” of Consortia in Development Work. These include factors related to consortium, its structure, attitude, the need to understand and embrace diversity, and how to represent complementary and competent consortia. Other aspects like effective communication, stages of growth of a consortium and the importance of time have also been summarised. It also advises NGOs and donors in this context. 

This short research report answers questions relating to partnership formations, aspects of accountability, the structure and process involved in management, etc. It also provides an interesting Q&A series regarding future partnerships along with certain key questions in case of a future development scenario.

The link opens to an interesting article which provides “10 recommendations for policy research consortia” which aim to help think tanks to work together.

Compiled by: Deeksha Rao, Intern, CSTEP and Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head, Communication and Policy Engagement, CSTEP 

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