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About us & our history

For the past twenty years, we have studied how corruption threatens development. Together with global research networks and practitioners, we pursue emerging topics and advance the anti-corruption field.
26 October 2021

Our partners’ development agendas inspire our independent research. We apply academic rigour to explain the complex nature of corruption. We communicate practical entry-points for countering corruption – through dialogue, publications, online training, workshops and events, a helpdesk, and our blog.

Organisation

U4 is a permanent centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway. CMI is an independent, non-profit, multi-disciplinary research institute specialised in development studies.

At U4, we have our own dedicated director, staff, strategy, work plan, and budget. The CMI board is the highest legal authority of U4. Steering committee members – the U4 partners – decide U4’s overall direction – meeting annually to review progress and set priorities.

History

In 1999, four ministers of international development from Norway, the Netherlands, UK, and Germany gathered in Utstein – a small place in Norway. They discussed ways to improve and harmonise aid policies – especially anti-corruption initiatives. They called this collaboration the Utstein-partnership. It spurred the idea of a jointly-funded, research service to increase donors’ understanding of corruption: the problem and possible solutions.

CMI established the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre in 2002, after winning a DFID-led tender. As more countries joined the partnership, we still kept the initial name for historical reasons: U for Utstein, and 4 for the ministers:

Hilde Frafjord Johnson (Norway)
Clare Short
 (UK)
Eveline Herfkens (The Netherlands)
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (Germany).

As these women left their positions, the Utstein collaboration ended. But most of the original agencies still fund the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre.

See who funds us and benefits from U4 membership today: U4 partner agencies.

    Disclaimer


    All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

    This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)