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Successful global partnerships. A guide focused on timber tracking research.

Authors:

Abstract

To fight illegal logging and the related trade we will need all researchers to combine expertise and exchange experiences on all levels from field work, over lab work to data analysis and interpretation. The aim of this guide is to inform on what expertise is available where and to advise on how to run successful global partnerships, where the material or knowledge transfer proves worthwhile for both sides. This guide thus aims to facilitate transfer of knowledge, equipment, as well as wood and other reference samples to benefit the operationalisation of timber tracking technologies. In many cases, this involves collaborations between research laboratories (with input from other stakeholders) in different countries and creating an open and honest work environment with partners of varied expertise, facilities and financial capacities.
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Successful global partnerships
A guide focused on timber tracking research
Successful global partnerships a guide
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Editor:
Nele Schmitz
Recommended citation:
GTTN (2020). Schmitz, N. (ed.). Successful global partnerships. A guide focused on
timber tracking research. Global Timber Tracking Network, GTTN secretariat,
European Forest Institute and Thünen Institute.
Acknowledgements:
We thank Henri Bouda, Richard Gyimah, Eurídice Honorio Coronado, Chai Ting Lee,
Rozi Mohamed, Kathelyn Paredes-Villanueva, Tahiana Ramananantoandro, Alfredo
Rodríguez, Iskandar Z. Siregar, and Germain Yene for their constructive comments
and Jo Van Brusselen and José Bolaños from the GTTN secretariat.
The following document is an output from GTTN, which is coordinated by the
European Forest Institute (EFI) and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Food
and Agriculture (BMEL). The information expressed in this document are the views of
the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the donor or of the European
Forest Institute.
Successful global partnerships a guide
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Table of contents
1. AIM OF THIS GUIDE ................................................................................................................................. 4
2. FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNERS ............................................................................................................... 5
3. ADVICE FOR SUCCESSFUL GLOBAL RESEARCH COLLABORATIONS ............................................................ 6
3.1. GENERAL PREREQUISITES ............................................................................................................................. 6
3.2. SUCCESSFUL STAKEHOLDERS DIALOGUE .......................................................................................................... 7
3.3. TO REFLECT ON BEFORE STARTING A COLLABORATION ........................................................................................ 9
4. REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................................... 10
5. APPENDICES .......................................................................................................................................... 11
5.1. APPENDIX 1: THE COLLABORATIVE AGREEMENT TEMPLATE ............................................................................... 11
5.2. APPENDIX 2: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR MULTI-STAKEHOLDER COLLABORATIONS ..................................................... 12
5.3. APPENDIX 3: CHECKLISTS FOR AN EQUIPMENT TRANSFER ................................................................................. 17
Successful global partnerships a guide
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1. Aim of this guide
People often assume that since they share an interest in the same research area and have
complementary skills and areas of expertise, things will just work out. But scientific
collaborations, like other important relationships, take some forethought and some ongoing
work to succeed (Gadlin & Jessar 2002).
To fight illegal logging and the related trade we will need all researchers to combine
expertise and exchange experiences on all levels from field work, over lab work to data
analysis and interpretation. The aim of this guide is to inform on what expertise is available
where and to advise on how to run successful global partnerships, where the material or
knowledge transfer proves worthwhile for both sides.
This guide thus aims to facilitate transfer of knowledge, equipment, as well as wood and
other reference samples to benefit the operationalisation of timber tracking technologies. In
many cases, this involves collaborations between research laboratories (with input from other
stakeholders) in different countries and creating an open and honest work environment with
partners of varied expertise, facilities and financial capacities.
While the GTTN service provider directory will inform service seekers on where to find which
experts, this guide will inform experts on where to find which complimentary expertise and
support them in setting up productive collaborations. Timber tracking methods are still
developing (see The Timber Tracking Tool Infogram) and greater access to information,
experiences, and diverse viewpoints will stimulate further innovation by uncovering
possibilities. To realise these possibilities, it is important that investments are done in a smart
way and deliver to the expectations of the donor as well as to the needs of the receiving lab.
CONCERNS OF GTTN MEMBERS ABOUT GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS:
Effective implementation of project results in the field. Timber tracking might not
be among the priorities, leading to poor integration of the developed technologies in
traceability systems.
A win-win partnership, with equal benefits for all parties, requiring transparency
about the motivations to seek collaboration. This also includes implementing the
Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing.
Effective resource sharing mechanisms (for knowledge, expertise, samples,
infrastructure and facilities, funding), not hindered by power struggles or institutional
policies.
Successful global partnerships Finding the right partners
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2. Finding the right partners
On the GTTN website you can find a link to ‘the project partner finder’. This is a spreadsheet
which allows you to filter on city, country and expertise within the field of illegal logging and
timber trade, to find GTTN members to collaborate with. The list includes research institutes,
universities, governmental and non-governmental organisations as well as private
companies.
Besides, you can find a link to the ‘sample locator’, which lists all laboratories that have wood
samples and/or microslides they can share for research purposes.
A map showing the distribution of the GTTN members [For more info see the online version].
ADVANTAGES OF GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS ACCORDING TO GTTN MEMBERS:
Staying up to date with the latest knowledge and expertise by sharing resources
(information, skills, funding), allowing state-of-the-art techniques to be present where
they are needed most.
Leveraging research efforts by more extensive scientific investigations and by
standardising and combining sample and reference databases.
Enhancing communication with interested parties from outside the scientific sector
(authorities, industry, civil society) and consolidating service facilities by combining
expertise in different tracking methods.
Successful global partnerships Advice
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3. Advice for successful global research collaborations
3.1. General prerequisites
Communication is the magic word. We have to get acquainted with the unknown.
[Adapted from K. Riemann1]
At the start of a partnership (for the exchange of knowledge, equipment, samples), it is
advisable to be transparent on the expectations from both sides. As a primary condition all
key partners should be involved from the design of the collaboration onwards (Yacoub
et al.
2017).
To effectively plan the level of involvement of the different partners in a project one has
to consider:
The stakeholders to involve.
The stages of the research at which they will be involved.
The level of involvement for each stakeholder group at each stage.
Levels of engagement (Banfield
et al.
2011):
The “best” involvement is that which is appropriate to the project as well as to the skills and
experience. Example of a completed stakeholder engagement matrix (Banfield
et al.
2011):
1 German actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador in
der taz
, June 2018.
Successful global partnerships Advice
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Most often, problems arise in scientific collaborations because the scientists (and other
stakeholders) failed to explicitly define their expectations of one another (Gadlin & Jessar
2002). Below are some points that should be clarified beforehand (ISO, 2013).
Expected outcomes: specific objectives that all partners wish to achieve.
Human resources: the division of tasks and responsibilities between the parties.
Connection: modes of communication and information sharing practices.
Time plan: the timeline for achieving goals, incl. interim meetings.
Follow-up: indicators that will be used to monitor progress.
In Appendix 1, the ‘Collaborative agreement template’ of Bennett
et al.
(2010) offers a
practical tool to fulfil these prerequisites and offers two additional points to talk through in
advance: authorship, credit and conflict of interest.
The key for a successful transfer operation is the interaction between the actors involved,
leading to the use of local materials and competences and hence considering the new
environment and stimulating local creativity. This will allow the new knowledge to become
knowhow (Yacoub
et al.
2017).
3.2. Successful stakeholders’ dialogue
Most complex problems, like the one of illegal logging and timber trade, need a
collaboration between diverse stakeholders to work towards solutions. To assist such
challenging ventures, the Collective Leadership Institute developed the Dialogic Change
Model.
Successful global partnerships Advice
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The aim of the model is to facilitate a structured dialogue between all stakeholders,
which is result-oriented, using the collective intelligence for implementation. A
conversation between actors that is not delivering useful information for the initiative, is
therefore not a dialogue. Dialogues are only held when the input that is expected to be
gained will also be used, which will as well create ownership for the initiative. Similarly, when
for example during a meeting there is a series of monologues or discussion and debate, it is
not called a dialogue as it is not aimed at a productive working together. A dialogue is not a
single event but a series of communication events, gradually working towards a goal. The
model is meant to help organising a successful dialogue.
In contrast to the classical project management models, which focus on structure, the focus
of the Dialogic Change Model (transformation via quality dialogues) is on the quality of the
dialogue between the project stakeholders. The model is composed of four iterative phases,
meaning that whenever changes take place or problems occur, one should return to one of
the previous phases, to first build strong foundations before continuing. Key of a successful
stakeholder dialogue is preparation, which is facilitated by the four phases of the
Dialogic Change Model:
1. Explore and engage
2. Formalise and focus
3. Achieve and assess
4. Improve and institutionalise
The first phase is about getting to know each other and the problem to be tackled, in an
informal atmosphere. Here the foundations are laid for all decisions that are made
afterwards. An atmosphere of respect should be created so that all stakeholders can get to
know each other, be honest and express their views, interests and expectations openly and
trust can be built.
In the second phase, stakeholders commitments are formalised in a jointly created
agreement for collaboration and implementation. Actual implementation is part of the third
phase together with monitoring. Finally, successes are celebrated, and outcomes can be
consolidated in sustainable structures by extending and/or replicating the initiative or by
even transforming the more loosely structured initiative to an institution. The spirit of change
is to be kept alive at all times through dialogue, consensus and transparency.
In appendix 2, a series of infographics offer a summary of the process of a result-oriented
collaboration that is benefiting from the collective intelligence of a multi-stakeholder group
by focusing on the quality of dialogues.
Successful global partnerships Advice
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3.3. To reflect on before starting a collaboration
The global timber tracking network is a network of stakeholders, that are all interested in one
way or another in illegal logging and the related trade and in the development of
technological tools to tackle this issue. Many of the members have experience with
collaborations between laboratories of varied expertise and facilities. They identified
key factors that should be considered before starting a collaboration:
Creation of a safe space where all views can be shared openly and respectfully (see
§3.2 Successful stakeholders’ dialogue
on phase 1). The real interests in the
collaboration of all stakeholders should be clear from the start to be able to plan the
work fulfilling the diverse needs (
e.g.
collecting genetic material for research as well
as photographic material for species identification) and make the collaboration
pleasant and productive for all partners.
Invest time to get to know your collaborators and their institutions, their strengths,
limitations and potentials, to be able to plan and manage activities accordingly. In
person and on-site meetings, therefore, are indispensable.
Involvement of all collaborators in all steps. The degree of involvement can differ (see
§3.1 General Prerequisites
on the
stakeholder engagement matrix), but everyone
should always at least be informed (see
§3.2 Successful stakeholders’ dialogue
on
phase 2).
Material support that is combined with trainings for the local receivers to assure
capacity building and use of the new tools.
Plan for long-term collaborations instead of for sporadic ones to make sure
equipment is used and expected results are provided.
Fulfill all national requirements (
e.g.
request permits for the research/collection of
plant materials, report findings to national institutions, inquire on correct use of all
collected material and related data)
Fulfil what was agreed, even if done late.
In appendix 3 you can find a pair of check lists for the special case of a collaboration
with a technology transfer (see a schematic overview here below) to help you preparing
such an operation.
Successful global partnerships References
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4. References
Banfield, M., L. Yen and L. Newby (2011). Stakeholder involvement in primary health care
research: Report and recommendations. Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute:
Canberra, Australia. [online pdf]
Bennett, L.M., H. Gadlin and C. Marchand (2010). Collaboration & team science: a field guide,
NIH Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution Bethesda, Maryland, USA
[online pdf].
Gadlin, H. and K. Jessar (2002). Preempting discord: prenuptial agreements for scientists. The
NIH Catalyst 10: 12.
Halawlaw, Y.I., et al. (2017). A north-south technology transfer methodology. Asian Journal of
Science and Technology 8(12).
ISO (2013). Guidance on Twinning in ISO standards development activities. Increasing the
participation of developing country members. ISO Central Secretariat, Genève, Switzerland.
Künkel, P., S. Gerlach and V. Frieg (2011). Stakeholder dialogues. Skills for better
collaboration. The Collective Leadership Institute. www.collectiveleadership.de
ResearchGate
. Discussion on the reasons of technology transfer failure: link to the discussion
thread.
Yacoub, I.H., O. Galmaï, C. Kwendje and S. Njipouakouyou (2017). A north-south technology
transfer methodology. Asian Journal of Science and Technology 8(12): 7000-7007.
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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5. Appendices
5.1. Appendix 1: The collaborative agreement template
Adapted from Bennett
et al.
(2010).
Most research projects, no matter how varied, have certain core issues in common and can
be addressed by collaborators posing the following questions:
Overall goals
What is the overall vision for the collaboration?
What are the scientific goals, anticipated outcomes or products of the collaboration?
When is the collaboration over?
When is the project over?
Who will do what
What are the expected contributions of each participant?
Who will write any progress reports and final reports (and in what language)?
How and by whom will personnel decisions be made? How and by whom will
personnel be supervised (and trained)?
Communication & Unplanned events
How will routine communication take place among collaborators (to ensure that all
appropriate members of the team are kept fully informed of relevant issues)?
How will you decide about redirecting the research agenda when needed?
How will you negotiate the development of new collaborations/spin-off projects?
Should one of the key collaborators leave or move to another institution, how will
you handle data, samples, materials/equipment, and authorship and credit?
Authorship & Credit
What will be the criteria and the process for assigning authorship and credit?
How will credit be attributed to each collaborator’s institution for all products
resulting from the collaboration (sample/data collection, presentations, papers, …).
How and by whom will public presentations be made, or media inquiries be handled?
Conflicts of interest & Benefit sharing
How will you identify potential conflicts of interest among collaborators?
How will you go about financial benefits, made (in)directly from the research (
e.g.
through sharing plant material or genetic data between collaborators)?
How will you manage data and samples and how will you handle short/long-term
storage and access during/after the project?
When and how will you handle intellectual property (and patent applications)?
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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5.2. Appendix 2: A practical guide for multi-stakeholder
collaborations
Audience: researchers, company representatives, foresters, civil society activists, presidents
from trade federations, political actors
Aim: offer guidance for initiatives that require collective action, implementing solutions
jointly beyond sectors, institutions, nations and cultures
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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5.3. Appendix 3: Checklists for an equipment transfer
CHECKLIST FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSFER OF EQUIPMENT TO A DEVELOPING LAB IN THE
RESEARCH FIELD
Know yourself & your lab
1. What exactly do you want to transfer? Have you thought of (related) parts too
difficult to transfer (
e.g.
software skills built over several years)?
2. Why do you want to transfer this technology? What is your interest in this transfer?
What is your vision on the impact of this transfer on yourself and the receiving side?
3. How do you want to transfer this equipment?
Have you set up an agreement of collaboration with one or more partners
specifying the expectations of all collaborators from this technology transfer?
Have you set up a budget plan in consultation with the receiver?
Is there money to provide all infrastructure needed for operation at
the receiver side (
e.g.
for power and water supply, temperature and
humidity control, environment, health and safety measures, software)?
Is there money to provide training in all aspects needed for full
absorption of the technology, incl. preparing input, handling and
servicing equipment, processing output?
4. For how long are you planning the equipment transfer? Are you committed to the
long-term functioning of the receiving lab or, is there a clear and transparent plan for
the collaboration with a period of fixed duration, with regular monitoring of
equipment and lab operations, after which the collaboration (partly/fully) ends?
Know the receiver & its lab
1. Is there a demand for the technology you want to transfer at country or regional
level, entailing the potential to use, valorise and further develop the transferred
technology, also in the long run (after the collaboration ends)?
2. Is the receiver interested in this technology?
What is his/her vision on how the technology could benefit the
institute/country/region?2
Who exactly will benefit from the transfer, who not? How will the transfer
affect local power relations? How can the circle of beneficiaries be maximised
2 All parties involved must feel that they are “winners” and must in fact be winners.
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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to optimise absorbing capacity,
e.g.
cleaning lady, handyman, … (broad local
support)?
3. Who exactly are the receivers? Involve them from the start3.
Who are the local researchers and technicians? Is there permanent staff that
can be trained and assure long term operability of the equipment even under
high staff turn-over?
Is there an enthusiast laboratory head motivated to absorb the technology at
the receiving organisation? Is there a plan to assure long term operation of
the lab?
Is there a director who wants to take responsibility for the success of the
technology transfer?
Are there other parties interested in the equipment, that can bring about
knowledge spill-overs and in this way lead to sustainable capacity building
(
e.g.
local universities).
4. Calculate the budget together with the receivers considering the current capacity to
operate and maintain the equipment and possible workshops for other interested
local users. How long will it take for the equipment to be fully operational
(installation and training for operation and maintenance)?4
5. Inform on all legal requirements and on the time it will require to get all agreements:
for the establishment of a lab providing a wood identification service.
(when relevant) to fulfil the requirements of the
Nagoya Protocol on Access to
Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from
their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity
.
Know the equipment & its environment
1. Is the equipment suitable for the environment it will be transferred in?
Is there a venue that provides all conditions needed for correct operation of
the equipment?
Can environmental, health and safety hazards be appropriately managed?
3 Only approaches based on local creativity and local expertise are likely to make a success.
4 The equipment should not stay a black box for operators and technicians who will work with it. Only
if they understand the theory behind the technology it can be used to its fullest extent.
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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Discuss the potential need for adaptations to the local conditions or the need
for an entirely different technology5 with the local researchers and technicians
that will operate and maintain the equipment.
2. Is everything available to make full use of the equipment?
Is access to all consumables needed for (long term) operation guaranteed?
Are all means there to manage inputs and outputs of the equipment?
Is there local knowledge for repair/servicing of the transferred equipment?
3. Calculate the budget according to the environment the equipment will be operated
in.
Include budget for training and facilities considering current capacity to
manage input and output.
Include budget for a workshop on servicing the equipment when needed.
5 If the needs are not sufficiently analysed at the start this might result in successive adaptations of the
equipment leading to technical complexity and an increase in the costs.
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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CHECKLIST FOR A SUCCESSFUL EQUIPMENT ABSORBANCE IN A DEVELOPING LAB IN THE
RESEARCH FIELD
Know yourself & your lab
1. Is your lab the most suitable to receive this equipment or would it be better to have
the equipment elsewhere and have an agreement to use it6?
Is there a suitable operating space for the equipment?
Would you be able to prepare its input and process its output?
What training would be needed for which lab members? Is there permanent
staff?
Does your lab have the financial means for long term operation of the
equipment?
2. What is your interest in this transfer? What is your vision on the impact of this
transfer on the lab?
Who are the potential users of the new equipment7 (if you will not be using it
permanently yourself).
What will be the assets of the lab with the new equipment, for the institute,
the organisation, the country as a whole? Could the lab become a meeting
spot of researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs to develop collaborations
within the country, the continent and beyond? Who would benefit from the
service the lab could deliver with the new equipment?
Could the transfer help to keep alive (traditional) knowledge and know-how
(
e.g.
about terrain, species distribution, field identification of tree species,
sampling, wood anatomy, …)?
3. Are you committed to long-term functionality of the new equipment?
How do you plan to build capacity to make best use of the new equipment?
How do you plan to keep that capacity? (given
e.g.
high staff turn-over)
6 Check out all research institutes that don’t work on forests yet or don’t have lots of experience yet
with one of the identification methods (genetics, stable isotopes, spectrometry) but are well
established (
e.g
. in the agricultural sector). Grafting new topics on existing capacity offers higher
chances of fast technology and knowledge transfer.
7 Consider here also visiting students from abroad. Long term student exchange programmes could
be set up to valorise the local lab facilities. Investigate all alternative uses of the new equipment as
well (in forestry, agriculture, wildlife conservation, …).
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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Know the donor & its lab
1. Why is the donor interested in this technology coming to your lab?
What is his/her vision on how the technology could benefit the
institute/country/region? Do you both agree visions?
How will the donor benefit from the transfer (
e.g.
Will students/researchers come
over on a regular basis to collect samples and/or use the donated equipment to
study local tree species)?
2. Is there an agreement:
for assistance in using the equipment (from preparing samples, over operating
the equipment to data analysis and interpretation) and if yes what exactly does
this include, what would you have to take care of yourself?
on sharing the output of the equipment and acknowledging all involved staff,
both knowledge/data wise and monetary wise (in case there are financial benefits
involved)8?
on sharing the costs of the research?
for long term collaboration and if yes what does this include (sharing of
knowledge, samples, data, other goods or money)?
Know the equipment & its environment
1. Is there a venue that provides all conditions (climatisation, security of the site against
adverse weather conditions, damage, theft) needed for correct operation of the
equipment? Is a meeting planned with the donor and all local researchers and
technicians that will operate and maintain the equipment to identify the potential
need for adaptations to the local conditions or the need for an entirely different
technology?
2. Are all operational means there to manage the inputs and outputs of the equipment?
Is there access to all consumables needed for (long term) operation?
Is there local knowledge for repair/servicing of the transferred equipment?
Is there access to all facilities needed to secure health and safety of the
researchers who will be working with the new technology?
8 For example, everyone who has been involved in at least one step of the research, will be informed
and receive a copy of an oral presentation or published manuscript of the research done, or will be
mentioned as a co-author.
Successful global partnerships - Appendices
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3. Has a financial strategy been set up, incl. all users of the equipment, to secure a
permanently running lab?
How will costs and benefits be taken care of and shared in case of more than one
user?
Is there a budget plan to assure long term operation?
Successful global partnerships A guide
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www.globaltimbertrackingnetwork.org
The objective of the Global Timber Tracking Network (GTTN) is to promote the
operationalization of innovative tools for wood identification and origin determination, to
assist the fight against illegal logging and related trade around the globe. GTTN is an open
alliance that cooperates along a joint vision and the network activities are financed through
an open multi-donor approach. GTTN phase 2 coordination (2017-2019) is financed by the
German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). GTTN phase 2 (2017-2019) is
coordinated by the European Forest Institute with the technical support from the Thünen
Institute.
Coordinating partners
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.