Decolonising Development (DecolDEV) is a four-year COST Action (09/09/2020 – 08/09/2024) that takes on the challenge to reconstruct development after its deconstruction in a non-Eurocentric manner which is aware of epistemically unjust relations of power. The Action works towards a resetting and diversification of the structures, institutions and spaces in which knowledge about and for development is produced, shared, contested and put into practice. Decolonisation of knowledge about ‘development’ cannot mean to maintain a paternalist binary of those already developed and those less developed but must scrutinize the structures and institutions that maintain power imbalances and the ideas that support paternalistic relations and assumptions of superiority according to intersectional (read: gendered, racialized, classed etc.) objectification of the Other.
The Actions’ points of departure are the following three areas and their corresponding challenges and questions:
The specific objectives:

Research Coordination

  • Build a multi-, trans- and interdisciplinary research landscape by systematizing and interlinking existing efforts of decolonizing development scholarship, teaching and practice.
  • Develop awareness for decolonized development (studies) by collecting and disseminating innovative best practices of pedagogy and practice.
  • Bridge asymmetries in knowledge production through systematically incorporating and canonising decolonial scholarship into curricula and syllabuses.
  • Stimulate new research and develop a basis of common understanding for non-conventional partnerships between actors from academia, civil society and politics, in coherence with SDG 16. Stimulate thinking on new spaces of action that go beyond nation states and nationally confined development plans.
  • Facilitate dialogue between academics and other societal stakeholders that will benefit the implementation and acceptance of Agenda 2030 within Europe.

Capacity Building

  • Promote emerging early career talents through dedicating leadership positions in the Management Committee, coordination of Working Groups and through mentoring a new generation of Early Career Investigators (ECIs) for long-lasting project sustainability.
  • Integrate researchers from ITCs.
  • Ensure mobility through Short-term Scientific Missions (STSMs) especially with participants from ITC countries to forge and strengthen relationships for continued research collaboration.
  • Improve multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity of European research through ensuring openness of the network and inviting a broad range of collaborators.
  • Improve relevance of European research and its translation into practice.

COST (The European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding organisation for the creation of research networks, called COST Actions. These networks offer an open space for collaboration among scientists across Europe (and beyond) and thereby give impetus to research advancements and innovation.