Skills and competencies
Research leadership, academic citizenship

Duration and scheduling
2–4 hours

This session uses a case-study approach to engage students in exploring how to build and sustain research hubs. As a future research leader post-PhD, a student needs skills in developing collaborations and networks. By forging and supporting such networks, research hubs can provide the critical mass to solve research question and translate research into public use.


  • To understand why and how to build collaborations and partnerships
  • To use a call for proposals or a research question as a case study to make discussions concrete

Prepare an introductory presentation
Identify a suitable call for proposals or research question as an example on which to focus discussion
Distribute the call for proposals to students, together with links to resources:

Read the call for proposals/ research question
Read the resource articles

1. Introduction
Give an overview of the topic, including a definition of terms:

  • In academic research, the term collaboration implies an equal interaction between researchers who are pursuing and testing common research questions. Those parties need to agree on the conditions for the collaboration, as reflected in publications, grants and responsibilities. Common types of collaboration include networks, coalitions, strategic alliances and public–private partnerships.
  • The term partnership usually implies that the partners are not equal. For example, one partner may provide the knowledge to sustain the policy impact by the other partner. A process of knowledge translation may be necessary to use the knowledge developed through the research. Many collaborations and partnerships involve researchers of differing stature, funding status and types of home institution.

Ask participants about their own experiences of establishing a research hub or participating in one.
Introduce the call for proposals or research question, as the basis for discussion

2. Group discussion
In groups of four or five, with one as rapporteur, students reflect on the call or research question and discuss:

  • What would you expect from a research collaboration?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages in collaborating compared to working as a single researcher?
  • What might be some caveats about establishing a research partnership?
  • What would the scientist and the partner expect from working together?
  • What do geographic integration and idea integration mean for the establishment of a research hub?

In plenary, rapporteurs share the main points from their groups

3. Conclusion
Draw out main points, as you conclude the session

After this session, a student should be able to establish a network of equal parties in research.

You can download these guidance notes

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