Supporting research development between north and south

Amanda Fulford & Naomi Hodgson, Edge Hill University

While much is known about inequalities between the global North and South in terms of housing (King et al., 2017), employment and income (Chancel et al., 2022), the effects of climate change (Ngcamu, 2023), and the Covid-19 pandemic (Carmody et al., 2021), much less is known about the inequalities related to academic knowledge production. What seems clear, however, is that scholarship emanating from the global North continues to dominate (Collyer, 2018), with a particular weighting towards Eurocentric and Anglophone accounts. In 2021, for example, one journal noted in its editorial to an issue, that published papers were heavily skewed to English speaking authors from the global North, with 80% of submitted papers, and 88% pf published papers coming from Europe, North America, and Oceania (Pettorelli et al., 2021). 

Historical power relationships and enduring differentials in research and development investment as a proportion of GDP account for this, in part.  As Johann Mouton and Roland Waast note, ‘The decline of a country in “world scientific capacity” is correlated with that part of the national wealth which is invested in research and development’ (2009, p. 150). The lack of investment in research in some countries has a further negative effect: without the perceived necessary time and financial resources to engage in high quality scholarly research, increasing numbers of academics are seeking positions in the global North in order to accelerate their research trajectories. While some might argue that this is not evidence of the so-called ‘brain drain,’ but rather part of a natural global pattern of ever- shifting employment, which sees academics find the best location in which to pursue their research, the effect is clear. As Mouton and Waast state: ‘the stagnation of research output means that some countries have lost their relative share compared to the rest of the world. Even in countries that are not very productive, there are pockets of good science; the question rather is that of critical mass, and the minimum human and other resources required to maintain scientific quality and build a subsequent generation of scientists’ (2009, p. 149). This also raises the issue of the assumption of mobility as key to academic success.

Ethics and education for the sustainable development

Samuel Mendonça, Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas

That man destroyed society and nature is nothing new. It is necessary to think about forms of available alternatives that can serve as a basis for reflection for possible actions that transform society. That education and schools are spaces for social transformation is also nothing new. However, we need to try to think beyond the colonial ways that have prevented us from seeing promising ways of overcoming human problems. (Mendonça, 2023, 2023a, 2023b). In the case of sustainable development, is simply teaching different ways of collecting waste enough to educate a child or young person for the world of the future, with different forms of energy production? Would we have any author in 19th century Latin America to help in the process of constructing post-colonialist thought? Could ethics be a promising component to strengthen school education? What ethics?