Factors facilitating sustainable scientific partnerships between developed and developing countries

08 Feb 2021

International scientific partnerships are key to the success of strategic investments in plant science research and the farm-level adoption of new varieties and technologies, as well as the coherence of agricultural policies across borders to address global challenges. Such partnerships result not only in a greater impact of published research enhancing the career development of early and later stage researchers, but they also ensure that advances in plant science and crop breeding technologies make a meaningful contribution to society by brokering acceptance of emerging solutions to the world problems. We discuss the evidence showing that despite a lack of funding, scientists in some African countries make a significant contribution to global science output. We consider the criteria for success in establishing long-term scientific partnerships between scientists in developing countries in Southern Africa (“the South”) and developed countries such as the UK (“the North”). We provide our own personal perspectives on the key attributes that lead to successful institutional collaborations and the establishment of sustainable networks of successful “North-South” scientific partnerships. In addition, we highlight some of the stumbling blocks which tend to hinder the sustainability of long-term “North-South” scientific networks. We use this personal knowledge and experiences to provide guidelines on how to establish and maintain successful long-term “North-South” scientific partnerships.