Research article

Understanding and redressing imbalances for South-North collaborations in energy and development research

  • Muez Ali orcid logo (University College London, UK)
  • Tash Perros (University College London, UK)
  • Penlope Yaguma (University College London, UK)
  • Tiago Diniz (Eletrobras Eletronorte, Brazil)
  • Lilia Caiado Couto (University College London, UK)
  • Harshavardhan Jaktar (University College London, UK)
  • Jennifer Cronin (University College London, UK)
  • Pamela Fennel (University College London, UK)
  • Alexandre Szklo (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Yacob Mulugetta (University College London, UK)

This article is a preprint and is currently undergoing peer review by UCL Open: Environment.


Many researchers engaged in energy and development research are involved in collaborative projects with research partners in different countries. To ensure success, these collaborations must be inclusive and balanced. Researchers and multilateral organisations are starting to take notice of the potential negative impacts of unbalanced research collaborations. There is an urgent need for more scrutiny of the inequities in the research process and to create more inclusive environments that allow researchers from the Global South to contribute solutions for challenges in their local contexts. Through workshops and a survey of researchers engaged in energy and development research, this paper attempts to partially fill this gap by investigating the challenges in collaborative projects faced by researchers in the Global South and Global North. The main findings show significant differences in the research experience of the two groups of researchers with respect to administrative burdens, access to resources, research roles and communication. We present several recommendations for how to address the inequities in collaborative research projects.

Keywords: Energy and policy, Sustainability, Public policymaking, energy and development, energy policy, research, collaborations, inequality

Preprint Under Review