Donors and higher education partners: a critical assessment of US and Canadian support for transnational research and sustainable development

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Linking key policy themes of interest in the published literature on development studies and comparative education, the article initially explores the potential benefits and risks of partnering transnationally for contextually informed research and sustainable development from the perspective of Southern and Northern higher education institutions. Higher education partnerships recently supported by the development-assistance agencies of Canada and the United States are compared and critically assessed according to the internationally relevant themes of external and internal funding, the involvement of additional partners and funders, and project duration.

Comparative analysis of datasets compiled from AUCC- and HED-managed sources that encompass 74 CIDA-supported and 186 USAID-supported university partnerships active during 2007–2009 shows that CIDA awards tend to be substantially larger in amount and longer in duration than most USAID awards and that participating universities have contributed impressive cost-share resources. The concluding section draws out wider implications of study findings for North–South higher education partnerships with sustainable-development objectives and for the literature on the possibilities and limitations they embody.

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