The phrases ‘technology transfer’ and ‘scientific capacity building’ are two of many used to describe scientific partnerships between developed and developing countries. This is undoubtedly an essential interaction. But it is also an extremely complex process that is often oversimplified.
In this article, Eva Harris draws on 15 years of experiencing collaborative work on infectious diseases in Central and South America, and explores the problems, complexity and potential of international scientific collaboration.
Harris points out that simply transferring knowledge and instrumentation is not enough to help developing countries build their own research base. Instead, the key to success resides in human resources, and the emphasis must therefore be on training in an equitable, respectful and sustainable way.