Foreign aid is a complex and multi-faceted issue, involving many countries, institutions, and people—researchers, aid officials, policy makers, NGOs and civil society. To better understand and improve its effectiveness requires a multi-disciplinary approach—bringing together the best from social science, in particular economics and political science, as well as other relevant disciplines. Better understanding can only come from mobilizing a global network of development researchers and practitioners to share their knowledge of what works or could work. No single actor can grasp all of the dimensions of aid, not least in the ways that aid now interacts with global public goods—for example, within the climate change and peace and security spheres. It is the power of the network that gives ReCom its credibility as a source of knowledge on aid.
The new knowledge generated by research must be shared if it is to be of use. This can only be done by effective communication with national policy makers, aid officials, parliamentarians, and other practitioners in NGOs and social movements. Communication is as important to ReCom’s success as research.
A knowledge-sharing process therefore exchanges information and views. Knowledge creation and sharing interact—discussion of the research results bring about new questions for further investigation. Discussion also captures the insights of policy makers and practitioners, which then feed back into further rounds of knowledge creation and sharing. That is the core of ReCom.