Research for Development and Justice

Development research, research policy, globalisation

Debate: Development research in Norway

Johan Helland (2001)

in Forum for Development Studies vol. 28 no. 2 pp. 329-342


This article discusses the current framework for development research in Norway, which today is entirely dependent on the development assistance budget. Compared to the policy statements of the seminal White Paper on development research (No. 42 (1987–88)), which distinguished between development research as an academic endeavour and the many other tasks related to it, the situation today is a relapse. Development research has been purged from national research policy, and funding from sources geared to academic research is dwindling. The close association between development research and development assistance policies marginalises development research from its many ‘mother disciplines’. Rather than attracting the interest and involvement of the academic community, the current structures for Norwegian development research seem to stigmatise development research as second-rate research that fails to keep up with the standards of the discipline. In addition to the issue of quality, it is highly regrettable that in the age of globalisation the Norwegian research community and formulators of Norwegian research policies seem in fact to be turning their backs on major parts of the globe and on major events that will eventually influence our own society and shape our future.

Publications with similar keywords:

Report in External Series

Evaluation. Support to development research

Johan Helland, Justine Namaalwa, Arne Tostensen (2009) Helsinki: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (Evaluation reports no. 2009:3) 122 p +cd.

CMI Report

Bridging Research and Development Assistance. A Review of Danish Research Networks

Arne Tostensen (2006) Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Report R 2006: 7) 28 p.


Johan Helland

Social anthropologist with extensive experience from developmental research, consultancy and administrative work in Eastern and North-eastern Africa.

By the same author:

Food securities and social conflict
Johan Helland,Gunnar M. Sørbø (2014)

Evaluation of Norwegian Support to the Protection of Cultural Heritage
Dag Jørund Lønning, Tone Magnussen, Johan Helland, Siri Lange and Trine Eide (2009)

Evaluation. Support to development research
Johan Helland, Justine Namaalwa, Arne Tostensen (2009)

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