Assessing a national service for international due diligence

I was very pleased to hear this news from the immediate past-chair of the CASRAU UK Community, Jenni Stergiou. Full news release:

A consortium led by ARMA and including CASRAI has been awarded £25,000 from UKRI to explore how a national service for due diligence in international research could deliver benefits for UK higher education institutions and partners overseas. The project will assess the feasibility of a national service in UK-funded research projects and partnerships, with a particular focus on Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) initiatives.

The project responds to feedback from the research management community which overwhelmingly said that there should be a better way of managing due diligence in order to understand,  mitigate and manage risk in an efficient way which supports both UK research organisations and overseas partners rather than increasing their burden.

The consortium includes ARMA, CASRAI and a consortia of Universities*. The project will be led by Jennifer Stergiou, ARMA Chair-Elect, Director, Research & Innovation Service at Northumbria University and a member of the CASRAI UK Steering Committee. Jennifer said:

“I am delighted that ARMA and CASRAI are able to collaborate with partners across the sector to deliver this project which responds strongly to community feedback. CASRAI will contribute an understanding of how common standards and definitions can reduce burden and improve efficiency in research management”

Steven Hill, Director of Research at Research England, said:

“Due diligence is vital in the establishment of partnerships between UK higher education institutions and international partners, but variance in how this is done can result in an inefficient use of both partners’ resources. The project will undertake valuable work in assessing how a national service for international due diligence could benefit both UK higher education institutions and their partners overseas. This work may in turn inform a roadmap for further due diligence activity and improve efficiency across the UK’s higher education sector.”

Over the next 9 months the project will deliver:

  • A core questionnaire for gathering due diligence information
  • Recommendations regarding the feasibility and operation of a ‘clearing house’ for due diligence questionnaire responses, which would enable UK research organisations to share questionnaire responses and information provided by partner organisations
  • Recommendations regarding the feasibility and operation of a ‘national service for due diligence in UK funded research projects and partnerships’. Such a service would offer a range of services and expertise to UK research organisations and their overseas partners aimed at mitigating risk in a number of different ways.

Project updates will be shared via the CASRAI blog and email newsletter on a regular basis, and watch out for an exciting opportunity to get involved which will be coming soon!

*The full list of contributors includes ARMA, CASRAI, Northumbria University, the RIDG Group of Directors of Research & Innovation Services, University of Stirling, and University of Glasgow. A steering group comprising representatives of these organisations plus Research England and UKRI International Assurance will provide project governance.