Adrianna Collins 

Newton Fund Institutional Links success story

Colombia has been in armed conflict for over 52 years. In 2016, the country finally entered a peace process. However, peace and regional stability depend on tackling the illegal drugs trade and developing the rural areas. 

A partnership between the UK's London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and the Colombian Universidad de los Andes enabled academics, practitioners and policy makers to have evidence-based discussions on Colombia’s drug policy. As a result, in 2016, the researchers produced the ground breaking report After the Drug Wars. Signed by President Juan Manuel Santos and six Nobel Prize Laureates, it caused a major shift in policy making on illicit drug markets in Colombia and globally.

Their recent success has enabled the research team, in an expanded partnership with SOAS University in London, to secure £7 million of funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund to run a new four-year project on illicit drug markets in rural areas in Colombia, Myanmar and Afghanistan. Researchers from around the world continuously look to the UK as a global centre for excellence in the study of illicit economies and their intersection with development outcomes.

"The Newton Fund helped us to build a network of researchers and institutions ensuring that academics have a prominent place in the discussions on drug policy and rural development in Colombia." Dr John Collins, LSE Project Lead, Executive Director, LSE International Drug Policy Unit.

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