Covid Collective research platform launched to tackle global challenges caused by the pandemic

Planet Earth wearing a face mask

The Political Settlements Research Programme is working with the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and a group of world leading organisations to develop urgently needed research that will support recovery from Covid-19.

The FCDO-funded Covid Collective will commission urgent research to help tackle the social, political and economic impact of the pandemic. These include: Governance, Social Development, Inclusion, Conflict, Humanitarian and Environment. The research will be global with a particular focus on: The Middle East, Bangladesh, Uganda, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

In its first round of grants, the Collective research platform, coordinated by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), will bring together the expertise of eight partner organisations to deliver research that can inform decision-making on some of the most pressing Covid-19 related development challenges. The partners are: University of Edinburgh’s Political Settlements Research Programme, University of Manchester, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Overseas Development Institute, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development, the Center for Global Development, and the International Institute for Environment and Development.

The Covid Collective has two main functions: the co-generation of research and evidence through a grant-making mechanism and to support evidence-informed action through knowledge curation, learning and strategic communication.

Dr Peter J Evans, Governance, Conflict, Inclusion and Humanitarian Research Team, FCDO: “FCDO’s social research programmes have pivoted to deliver research to help understand and tackle the wider social effects of the pandemic – and have done this despite disruption to travel, field research, and personal lives around the world.

“Our partnership with the IDS-convened Covid Collective takes this further with new urgent social research to understand how the pandemic has exacerbated a huge range of ‘cracks’ in social, economic and political systems around the world – and what we can do to help recovery – also build resilience for future crises”.

Peter Taylor, Director of Research, IDS said: “The Covid Collective offers a tremendous, timely opportunity to ensure that high value research and knowledge generation responding to Covid-19 is funded effectively and efficiently. It will be a key source of rapid, clear, evidence-informed messages, options and alternatives for wider audiences, including policy- and decision-makers, on the most pressing Covid-19 related development challenges.

“IDS is looking forward to a truly collaborative effort that brings together researchers from around the world, and who can provide compelling, research-based arguments and options for building forward differently.”

As part of the Covid Collective, PSRP will provide timely evidence on the ways in which Covid-19, and responses to it, are affecting peace and transition processes in some of the world’s most protracted conflicts. The research will look at three dimensions. The first aims to understand how Covid-19 and pandemic responses are affecting prospects for successful mediation among conflict actors at national and local levels, with a particular focus on South Sudan, Yemen, and Syria. The second will explore how the UN Global Ceasefire call is being received and taken up, what other conflict-related issues health interventions are having to navigate, and with what consequences for political trust in both health providers and political leaders. The final study will look at how new limitations on international support for peace processes are affecting the response of regional organisations in the conflict and health realms. The project aims to deliver timely research useful to policymakers and in-country practitioners. It will also use innovative research methods and technologies which can contribute to new ways of working around pandemic lock-down constraints in already challenging contexts.

View all PSRP work on the nexus between conflict, peace, and Covid-19.