Cultural difference is the starting point for a lot of activities related both to research and development cooperation. How to deal with cultural difference is a difficult question to answer. Whose terms are used? For the benefit of whom is research done? These were some of the topics treated on the NFU 2014 Conference in Tromsø.
On October 2nd, Director Jesper Simonsen of the Norwegian Research Council presented the following table to the audience of “On Whose Terms?” the NFU’s conference of 2014. With this table he presented a question: What is the worst research?
|Low Quality||High Quality|
Surely, many thought, the worst research must be that of low quality and low relevance to the issue at hand. But no, Simonsen stated, for that research can easily be dismissed and disposed of. Rather, the worst research is that of low quality, but of high relevance, for it is in danger of being used. But who decides what research is of quality, and what is relevant? “On Whose Terms?” tackled these questions head on.
One of the main goals of the On Whose Terms? conference was to provide a stage for discussions of challenges and solutions researchers are facing when attempting to create an effective collaborative research atmosphere with colleagues from different social and cultural backgrounds. One of the sessions was the keynote plenary about cross-cultural research collaboration, which specifically promised to discuss Negotiating Codes and Dissonant Expectations. During the first part of this session, several researches presented their experiences of collaboration with people with different cultural backgrounds.