Responding effectively to the Covid-19 crisis and in ways that address systemic inequalities in the longer term raises many challenges – and opportunities – for researchers and commissioners of research. Launched in October 2020, the Covid Collective brought together the expertise of eight initial partner organisations coordinated by the Institute of Development Studies, and it currently involves 28 partners and supports 56 projects in 34 countries.
The Covid Collective seeks to inform decision-making on some of the most pressing Covid-19-related development challenges, and to address emerging social science questions and needs arising in relation to the pandemic. This issue of the IDS Bulletin draws on experiences from the social science research projects around the world supported by the Covid Collective and provides concrete examples of how researchers have demonstrated innovation and adaptation in a range of contexts. Important lessons have been learned about research processes and evolving technical approaches and methods in the areas around access and engagement; consent, ethics, and incentives; and power and perspectives.
This IDS Bulletin subsequently offers insights for research and provides potential directions for policy and decision-making around research prioritisation, funding, and support. It concludes that research supported by the Covid Collective is providing useful insights for ‘doing development research differently’, which in turn provides real hope for research to help transform knowledge and transform lives. Lessons will continue to be learned and, ultimately may also be an important contribution in ongoing efforts to the significant, critical agenda around decolonising development knowledge.