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Funding will forge new links to fight serious global challenges

10 October 2020

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash - two hands shaking

Researchers in International Development and Innovation at The Open University have been awarded networking grants by the Academy of Medical Sciences to get three innovative ideas to address serious global challenges off the ground.

Dr Sharif Haider, Dr Les Levidow and Dr Kadmiel Maseyk have each been awarded £25,000 from the Global Challenges Research Fund to forge new links between the UK and developing countries and develop new networks to put forward major research projects.

The networking grants are for:

Establishment of a Collaborative Network of developing and Improving practice with perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence in Bangladesh – Dr Sharif Haider

This will develop a multi-stakeholder network of researchers and practitioners dedicated to preventing intimate partner violence (IPV) in Bangladesh. 

It will be the first step to developing comprehensive and holistic IPV intervention strategies, working with multiple stakeholders – perpetrators, policy makers, politicians, religious leaders, researchers, NGO and health workers – to put an end to IPV.

Food sovereignty through agroecology in South America: Interdisciplinary methods for participatory action research  – Dr Les Levidow 

In Brazil 4.4 million family farms using less than 25% of the land produce 70% of the food consumed nationally, but agri-food policies generally favour industrial agriculture while under-representing low-income smallholders. 

This project will help redress the balance with Participatory Action Resarch to promote knowledge-exchange processes enabling small-scale farmers to learn from each others’ experiences, better link agroecological methods with local food systems, and gain consumer support and better livelihoods through sustainable systems. 

Improving climate change adaptation and resilience in the Kalahari Basin with Earth Observation data – Dr Kadmiel Maseyk

In Botswana in 2015 over half the population lived on less than 6 USD a day and most of these reside in rural areas, especially the Kalahari sands, home to the most vulnerable indigenous communities of the San groups.  Rural poverty is expected to rise significantly due to ongoing disruption of production chains by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project will contribute to reducing poverty, using data from space satellites to help communities plan sustainably to reduce food insecurity.  

Simone Arthur, Senior Research Manager in the OU’s International Development and Inclusive Innovation centre (SRA-IDII), said they are very pleased with their researchers’ successes.

“It was a pleasure collaborating with them on developing these proposals and project-managing the entire process from conceptualisation right through to submission. 

“As we move forward to support the academics on these networking opportunities, we are also thrilled by the prospect of participating in the shift from networking to the next level – development of larger grant proposals and tighter collaboration with Southern partners.”


Image by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash


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To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502