British Academy to fund £4m anti-corruption research programme

12 Feb 16

The British Academy has announced eight projects it will fund as part of its £4m anti-corruption scheme in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.


The funds will support eight research teams who will work primarily in DFID priority countries where corruption is a major constraint, including Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

Paul Heywood, Sir Francis Hill Professor of European Politics at the University of Nottingham, will lead the work. He said the projects are designed to “get at the heart” of what can make a practical difference to the countries.

“Although we know a lot about the dreadful damage caused by corruption the sad reality is that anti-corruption efforts over recent decades have had very limited success.

“The projects in this scheme are therefore designed to get at the heart of what can actually make a practical difference, looking at how specific interventions can change opportunities, incentives and behaviours across a range of areas.”

Rejecting one-size-fits-all approaches, the research teams will work closely with policymakers and anti-corruption activists to identify new initiatives that can have a real impact.

These will range from the design of civil service systems or examining the role informality plays in fuelling corruption and stifling anti-corruption policies, to analysing big data from aid agencies to assess the risks of corruption in aid allocation.

Lord Stern, president of the British Academy, said he was confident the research teams will develop new approaches and tools to tackle corruption.

“Endemic corruption is an enormous international challenge that blights far too many countries and research such as this is one of the most worthwhile ways the UK can offer practical support,” he said.

In January last year, DFID approved a £9.6m investment over the next few years to fund new, operationally-relevant research on tackling corruption, in order to establish more evidence-based anti-corruption initiatives for DFID and its partners. 

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