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British Academy/DfID Anti-Corruption Evidence event

On 27 February 2017 the British Academy hosted an event to bring together the 8 ACE award holders and their teams, along with policy makers and others working in anti-corruption, to hear about their research so far. Read Professor Paul Heywood's write-up of the event below.

The second BA-DFID ACE partnership meeting took place on 27 February, 2017 in the handsome headquarters of the British Academy.  Despite a very different global context compared to when the initiative had launched a year earlier, as outlined in the director’s blog, the meeting’s focus remained positive and forward looking.  A full programme involving all eight project leaders, together with presentations by selected stakeholders and the participation of other invited guests, resulted in a stimulating and highly informative day.

Professor Paul Heywood introducing the day's events

Peter Evans from DFID providing an introduction

Events kicked off with a series of ‘Pecha Kucha’ presentations by the award holders: an approach originally developed in Japan in 2003, these entailed twenty slides shown for twenty seconds each and over the coming weeks they will be made available on the award holders' project pages on the British Academy Anti-Corruption Evidence web page. The Pecha Kucha style puts pressure on presenters to be concise, focused and engaging, and all the project leaders certainly lived up to the challenge! The presentations generated a series of thoughtful and insightful responses from delegates, as well as helping to highlight emerging synergies. Exciting progress has been made by all the projects, and further details can be found by selecting the respective ACE award-holder project links on the BA/DFID ACE Partnership homepage.

Professor Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling presents his Pecha Kucha

Dr Claudia Baez-Camargo 

Dr Hamish Nixon 

Professor Frederick Stapenhurst, Dr Anthony Staddon, and Dr Rasheed Draman


Also up for the Pecha Kucha challenge were Caryn Peiffer and Heather Marquette, who have recently won funding under the British Academy’s Sustainable Development Programme for a project on Islands of Integrity, that seeks to identify how specific services or institutions have managed to reduce corruption within a broader setting in which corrupt practices are endemic.

Dr Heather Marquette and Dr Caryn Peiffer 

The meeting also heard from Mushtaq Khan, who is heading the SOAS-led Research Partnership Consortium, the second element of the DFID ACE initiative. Professor Khan outlined how his team will focus on feasible reform efforts with potential for high impact, with particular emphasis on interdependencies and the private sector in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Tanzania.  

Professor Mushtaq Khan

Amongst the invited guests, Eliza Keller from J-PAL (the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) gave an overview of the exciting work being conducted under the auspice of its Governance Initiative, that uses randomized evaluations of interventions designed to improve participation in the political and policy process, reduce corruption and leakages, and improve state capacity. Delegates also heard from Andrew Preston, Senior Adviser to the Joint Anti-Corruption Unit (JACU) in the Cabinet Office, on current progress towards publication of the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy that had been promised as one of the outcomes from the International Anti-Corruption Summit held in London in May 2016.

Eliza Keller from J-PAL

Andrew Preston from the Cabinet Office

In addition, the day’s programme was further enhanced by a session on ‘Anti-corruption initiatives in context’, involving a conversation between Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and Paul Heywood, followed by questions from the floor. Alina outlined her recent work in ANTICORRP, a major research project that ran between 2012 and 2017, funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. She explained the thinking behind her recently developed Index of Public Integrity, which identifies the six core actionable components that reflect the balance of opportunities and constraints that contribute to the effective control of corruption.

Professor Paul Heywood and Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi in conversation

Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi talks about her work

This event, marking the mid-point of the projects’ progress, provided a valuable opportunity for the award holders to present their work to date, while the presentations from and discussions with stakeholders and other guests provided important context on the latest in anti-corruption research.

All photography courtesy of James Appleton Photography.

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