16 February 2013

How can universities influence development policy?

I'm working on a project helping a university economics research centre think through its strategy on getting its research and policy analysis into the right hands, to help have an impact on global poverty.

In general I feel like this is an area which is really difficult to do well, and about which we know relatively little (though with some good resources out there such as policy research programmes at ODI and LSE).

So I'm going for some crowdsourcing and I want to know what you think about what an academic research centre should be doing to get its research out there.

1) Is the development economics research currently being produced by universities relevant and useful to development policy and decision makers? How? 
2) What are the top 3 ‘policy relevant’ university research centres working on economics in international development in the UK?
3) What are good examples of dissemination work carried out in this area which have influenced policy and helped make a difference?
Opinions are particularly welcome from policymakers themselves, in donor organisations, governments, foundations, or NGOs. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below, send them to lee dot crawfurd at gmail.com, and pass on this message to anyone else you know working in this area.



Shaz J said...

I've shared this with those I think would be interested and/or would have valid contributions.

However, will you share your findings with us here?

Frantz Lubin said...

I would suggest you take a look at the Global Justice Program at Yale and follow professor Thomas Pogge. He's involved in some very important and practical initiatives. Second is Academics Stand Against Poverty(ASAP) where you will find plenty of 'like minded' individuals constructing bold solutions to poverty reduction. This would be a great resource if you haven't already got in contact with them. All the best with this endeavor.

Enrique Mendizabal said...

I think you assume that there is ONE way for university based researchers and research to influence policy. But forget that universities have the advantage when it comes to educating the next generations of policymakers.

Donors do not like this too much because it demands a long term commitment that few are willing to make -and because arguing for more money to universities is not easy to defend when most will go to the better off (vis a vis primary education). But there is no other way around it: better universities lead to better policies.

I've written about this in several blogs on onthinktanks. Here is one:A case for funding university-based/linked think ... - On think tanks (http://wp.me/pYCOD-Aq) and another from Hans Gutbrod Think Tanks and Universities: Practical Considerations | on think tanks (http://wp.me/pYCOD-EI)

The universities you are working with should have a look at their databases and look for people who have gone on to staff governments, lead parties, establish businesses, settled in academia, etc. and try to assess how much these people are putting into practice what they learned (not just the facts but also the values and critical thinking capacity one would hope they learned.)

Case studies won't help you. You'd have to assume you can control the uncontrollable: The density model: an alternative to trying to control the uncontrollable (http://wp.me/pYCOD-Pq)

Ajith Radhakrishnan said...

Understanding "how to incentivize development research or evidence-based policy research in low-income developing countries" will also reveal how academic research centers can better perform and meet their goals.

rovingbandit said...

Yep I'll try and add an edited / anonymised roundup of email comments on here.

Shaz J said...

Great, thank you!

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