Assessing a national service for international due diligence

Assessing a national service for international due diligence

A new project funded by UK Research and Innovation will explore how a national service for due diligence in international research could deliver benefits for UK higher education institutions and partners overseas.

The Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) has been awarded £25,000 to assess the feasibility of a national service for UK-funded research projects and partnerships, with a particular focus on Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) initiatives.

ARMA will deliver this project in collaboration with CASRAI (Consortia Advancing Standards for Research Administration and Information) and a consortia of universities, working with the ARMA membership across the UK and with partner organisations overseas.

Due diligence is an important aspect of the leadership, governance and management of international research collaborations, and working with international partners based in low and middle-income countries poses a different set of challenges and risks to working with domestic organisations.

UK higher education institutions work with the same international partners but may have different due diligence processes where the same information is requested from partners but in different formats. This can mean duplication of work which increases cost and staff time while international partners will often have fewer resources to support their response.

The project led by ARMA will explore how a national service could remove these barriers. The project includes the development of a core questionnaire that can be used by all UK institutions in gathering due diligence information and scoping and feasibility assessments for a due diligence clearing house, and a national service for use by all UK HEIs. Funding has been allocated from Research England and UKRI Official Development Assistance.

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.