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Caesar Atuire, who is the Ethics Lead for IHTM and a philosopher and health ethicist from Ghana, has received 3.4 million euros over 5 years from the Wellcome Discovery Awards to fund a project on global solidarity. 'Moving beyond Solidarity Rhetoric in Global Health: Pluriversality and Actionable Tools.'

Caesar Atuire

The award funds a team of researchers to ‘unearth and unpack’ global concepts of solidarity with the aim of making it measurable and establishing international goals. The initial stage of the research is to explore concepts of solidarity starting with global workshops in Latin America, Australia, Africa and Asia.

Talking about the research, Caesar, who is also an Associate Professor of Applied Philosophy at the University of Ghana, says,

"During the pandemic everyone talked about solidarity but it became increasingly obvious that globally, solidarity means different things to different people. We want to set dimensions for what solidarity means and to provide actionable tools such as an index to rank global health funders on how they practise solidarity."

Historically, solidarity has proven to be a form of engagement that has been pivotal in bringing about important societal and global transformations. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic at a global level, appeals to solidarity produced meagre results. A glaring example is the inability of the WHO-led COVAX facility to ensure greater equity in the procurement and distribution of vaccines.

At present, there are no agreed tools for measuring and holding global actors accountable for solidarity practice. To address these challenges, the project aims to enrich current conceptions of solidarity in relation to global health and offer actionable metrics for practice.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Employ a pluriversal approach to generate an intercultural understanding of solidarity for global health, with a particular emphasis on de-silencing marginalized voices.
  • Encourage exchange and dialogue among scholars who work in the field of global health with a focus on solidarity but come from different cultures and disciplines.
  • Generate a shared set of core goals that the practice of solidarity in global health entails.
  • Design metrics and produce a solidarity index and ranking that will measure the practice of solidarity among global health actors. The initial solidarity index will target global health research funders but can later be expanded to other sectors.
  • Nurture the growth of young scholars in engaging across cultures, carrying out conceptual and empirical ethics research, and producing impactful research outputs.

The project was awarded funding in 2022 and was the first Africa led project to win a Wellcome Discovery Award. It has the rare distinction of being a project led by the southern hemisphere with the northern hemisphere collaborating. It is also rare to have a philosophy, ethics and social science project receive this level of funding.

The Wellcome Discovery Awards were launched in 2021 to provide funding for established researchers and teams from any discipline who want to pursue bold and creative research ideas to deliver significant shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing.

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