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Celebrating 20 Years of the Japanese Awards

For twenty years, the Global Development Awards Competition has celebrated excellence in policy-oriented research and innovation in social development. Funded by the Government of Japan, the competition has awarded US$4 million in grants since 2000, with nearly 8,800 researchers and development professionals taking part over the years.


This year, we’re proud to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ‘Japanese awards’ GDN’s flagship awards program.


Indeed, there is much to celebrate, with grantees demonstrating significant impact in their work following their participation in the competition. For example, an independent study found that the majority of research papers submitted are of a quality recognized nationally, if not internationally, in terms of originality, significance and rigor.


The relevance of the competition is another cause for celebration. A majority of the winning projects have been replicated nationally or internationally some even more than ten times with international partners such as European governments and UN agencies.


2020: Health-Environment-Economic Wellbeing


Taking place online, the 2020 edition of the Global Development Awards Competition was centered on the theme Unpacking the Health-Environment-Economic Wellbeing Nexus a topic especially pertinent to the global development community and beyond, in these times.


Coming in first prize in the category Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development was Dr. Kok Sin (Vincent) Woon from Malaysia, with a research project that optimises the ecological efficiency of municipal waste management.


In second and third place were research projects on climate change adaptation strategies, and sustainability in fisheries. Proposals were assessed on their clarity and quality, and the extent to which they address relevant development issues.


2021: Trade, Biodiversity, COVID, Climate Risk and Community-driven Governance


This year’s awards straddle two categories: Outstanding Research on Development and Most Innovative Development Project.


The research award features the theme International Trade and the Promotion of Biodiversity, while the innovation in implementation award features three themes: Universal Health Coverage and COVID, Community-driven, Climate-related, Disaster Risk Reduction in Rural Areas and Quality Urban Infrastructure and Community-driven Governance.


In total, US$ 180,000 is set to be awarded to projects that embody an innovative approach to an important developmental need. In addition, research award winners will be paired with a world-class academic in their area of work, while project award winners will go on to compete for up to US$200,000 awarded by the Japan Social Development Fund.


Curious about who this year’s winners will be? Visit gdn.int/GDACfinalists2021 to learn all about the finalists and follow #GlobalDevelopmentAwards to find out more.

Winners will be announced at Evidence for Development: What Works Global Summit on 22 & 25 October 2021. Register now to join the event.


A Network Map

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Global Development Awards Competition (GDAC), GDN is also launching a network map bringing together the community of past laureates of the awards.

This map will be a user-driven interactive online platform that supports the visibility of the competition through a visual and interactive map featuring all past awardees. Each awardee will have the chance to showcase their work via links to professional and research platforms such as ORCID and LinkedIn.

In addition, the platform will serve as a strategic support to the competition’s monitoring and evaluation, easing the tracking and visualization of the competition’s reach and impact over the long term.

The platform will also allow non-awardees who are part of related or like-minded networks to identify past competition winners. It will thus be an information hub and networking platform in one, facilitating peer-to-peer support among development practitioners and researchers alike.

Join us at this celebratory event on 26 Oct, 14:00-15:30 CET as we launch the Japanese Awards Interactive Network Map. Register now!


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