Call for partners: Empowering Southern researchers and evidence professionals through an AI-enabled social learning platform


Climate crisis, technological transitions, pandemic diseases and the changing nature of work are all affecting different countries and communities in different ways.

The world needs new forms of knowledge, produced in new ways: knowledge that is relevant, responds to needs, and is embedded in local research systems.

But producing, accessing and curating knowledge that can serve society and policy making is far from easy.

It can be challenging to identify the existing knowledge base, to identify the right questions with which to build on this knowledge, and to identify the best methods and approaches that will allow us to go from problem to solutions.

It is often difficult for researchers and users to find the best ways to work together, so that research responds to real needs and so that knowledge and evidence are accessible and effectively communicated to those who need it – whether in policy or practice.

Too often, knowledge produced in the North dominates the search results, papers and reports that can be easily accessed online. Limited digitisation of research reports and data makes it difficult for knowledge users to access and build on relevant existing work in their field. 

Digital technologies have provided new ways to build, share and use evidence, and new ways to connect individuals and communities together.  A year of pandemic-induced restrictions has shown where technology can help us overcome the barriers of distance to enable collaboration across professions and across regions. But it has also highlighted the additional barriers that technology can pose to accessibility and equity, and the problems that technology alone cannot solve.

We hear regularly that machine learning and artificial intelligence will change the way we live and work. What do they mean for knowledge systems, and for redressing global inequities in knowledge?

Call for workshop proposals

INASP believes there is an opportunity to leverage new technologies in service of Southern knowledge systems, and we seek partners to work with us to identify possibilities and to test and build new tools.

We are inviting proposals from Africa, Asia and Latin America for small grants of approximately $3000 (£2,100) to enable groups to organise and host a series of discovery workshops to explore these ideas further.

We seek proposals from groups which:

  • bring together knowledge creators (researchers) and knowledge users 
  • are multidisciplinary (crossing academic disciplines) and transdisciplinary (crossing professions)
  • bring together individuals from more than one organisation

Groups should devise a method that will enable them, in one or more workshops, or combining ‘live’ and asynchronous sessions, to:

  • identify and rank the most pressing challenges that producers and users of evidence face in producing better knowledge
  • identify which of those could be served by technology
  • generate ideas for how technology might address those problems

Groups can choose to concentrate on a specific thematic area (e.g marine conservation or agriculture or social policy) or on a geography (e.g. knowledge use in Uganda or Indonesia) or knowledge related to an issue that cuts across thematic areas (e.g. youth, education and employability).

How to respond

Please read the full Terms of Reference before applying:

Deadline: Proposals of 1-2 pages (no more) should be sent to by 09.00 BST (08.00 GMT), Monday 19th July

For any questions, contact

Verity Warne
Verity Warne is Director of Communications & Engagement at INASP.

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