Knowledge for Development

Judith’s pick – End of March 2014

26/03/2014 - Judith Francis

Dear colleagues,

Another short selection that may be of interest to your work. Don't forget to register to the newsletter, as the next one (March 2014) will feature, among other things, the extended abstracts of the 3rd Africa-wide science competitions.


UNESCO's 'Women in Science' interactive tool

Women in Science, a new interactive tool produced by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), presents the latest available data for countries at all stages of development. The tool allows for exploring and visualising gender gaps in the process that leads to a research career, from the decision to get a doctorate degree to the fields of research women pursue and the sectors in which they work. It should be noted that this tool presents internationally comparable data produced by the UIS. This means that the indicators can be accurately compared across countries with very different contexts for women in science.

By highlighting trends in different regions and countries, this tool provided a unique view on International Women’s Day (8 March 2014). It is particularly useful for those interested in a global perspective on the gender gap in research, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The data tool shows just how important it is to encourage girls to pursue mathematics and science at a young age.

Available in English, French and Spanish, it can be easily embedded on your website, blog or social media sites.

(UIS, 2014)


Policy: The art of science advice to government

In Nature Peter Gluckman, New Zealand's chief science adviser, offers his ten principles for building trust, influence, engagement and independence (Issue 507, March 2014). His own experience is of a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy in a small advanced economy. Other countries have different forms of government and different cultural histories of public reason; high-level scientific advice may be provided by individuals, councils or academies, or a combination. Nevertheless, these guidelines are relevant to all those providing advice to senior levels of government.

Gluckman’s ten principles are: Maintain the trust of many; Protect the independence of advice; Report to the top; Distinguish science for policy from policy for science; Expect to inform policy, not make it; Give science privilege as an input into policy; Recognize the limits of science; Act as a broker not an advocate; Engage the scientific community; and Engage the policy community.

(Nature, 13/03/2014)


Revealing the unwritten realities of doing PhD field research

A new publication by PhD students from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, Sussex, UK) shares previously undocumented insights into the realities and challenges of fieldwork. The IDS Bulletin 'New Perspectives from PhD Field Research', goes beyond typical textbook subjects such as research design, data collection and results analysis and discusses the actual lived experiences and challenges that students face when conducting fieldwork. It comprises seven articles covering locations from Ecuador to Bolivia, Mexico, Kenya, Swaziland, Germany, Nepal, China and India. The nature of the authors’ experiences and the topics they reflect on are equally wide ranging, covering, for example: performance and rituals in ethnographic research on peace building; the necessity of engaging with politics in water management, and; the disjuncture between gendered legislation and urban planning. By providing new insights into a variety or research topics, innovations for fieldwork practices, and important reflections on the human experience of PhD research, the authors hope that the Bulletin will benefit both students and the wider community of development practitioners working on the ground.

(IDS, 13/03/2013)




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