Twinning and its contribution to institutional capacity building in developing countries is the theme of an ongoing debate in Public Administration and Development. Unlike earlier contributions this article focuses on twinning in the context of research capacity enhancement. Using a 3 year Danish-Malaysian twinning research project as case our objective is to evaluate whether the general premises regarding a twinning project, as formulated by the Danish Development Cooperation Agency (Danida), appropriately support the twinning ambitions when the capacities in focus concern research. Besides institutional capacity, building, twinning is expected to favour local ownership, involvement of the Danish resource base and continuing of cooperation after termination of funding. From 21 semi-structured interviews with project participants it was found that although new research capacities had been gained, the prospects on continued cooperation are rather discouraging, both sides pointing to the lack of truly joint research experiences as the main reason. To care for this important incentive, the twinning premises are recommended to be modified to allow for the Northern resource base to advance its own research, and for Southern partner to demonstrate in-house research capacities. Further, the North-South balance in project management needs to be more equal. This apart, the twinning premises appear sound.