The Program

The Building Research Capacity in Least Developed Countries program is a demand-driven program launched by the Global Development Network to support research institutions based and working in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to address their needs with an aim to raise and strengthen their research and outreach skills in a sustainable manner.

Under this program, GDN is partnering with four academic and research institutions to implement and monitor specific research capability building programs that are designed and proposed by the institutions themselves.

Program Rationale

The research environment and quality of research undertaken and produced in LDCs are influenced by several factors, most notably: low individual and institutional capacity and expertise in carrying out cutting-edge research; limited graduate and Ph.D. programs; restricted funding opportunities; inadequate infrastructure, resources and data availability; weak research to policy connect; and limited opportunities to engage, collaborate and network with peers locally, regionally and globally.

This low capacity environment restricts the ability of researchers in these countries to undertake credible work and inform the policymaking community with timely, reliable analysis and evidence. As a result, there is low demand for their research, and this self-sustained vicious circle of low-capacity, low-credibility and low-demand works as a “low-research capacity trap.”

In this context, with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), GDN has launched a program that aims to build the research capabilities of individuals and institutions based and working in LDCs. This program has an overt focus on scientific research in economics and social sciences that is designed to inform national and local policymaking. It is based on a number of principles that can help obtain substantial and measurable results and clearly fill a gap in the current research capacity building initiatives in LDCs.

Program Objectives
  • To develop and strengthen the analytical skills of individuals and institutions based in LDCs to help them undertake rigorous research
  • To encourage networking and constructive engagement in a peer-learning environment
  • To increase the ability of researchers and institutions in these countries to provide timely, reliable and evidence-based policy options
  • To create a network of institutions to share best practices and training materials with other institutions

These objectives are met through technical guidance provided by GDN appointed scientific advisors, and through the creation of an environment for cross-learning and peer-review.

For further information contact Francesco Obino, Program Manager



APPLY Please refer to the Guidelines for detailed instructions on how to apply



Please note:
 GDN reserves the right to modify, cancel or not award grants at any stage of the competition and grant-making.  The decision of GDN will be final.

For further queries, email us at

- See more at:
Supported By:


Watch a video (French, English subtitles) about GDN's support to the Regional Social Science Summer University Tam Dao Days [4 mins]

Watch another video (French, English subtitles) about how our partnership works. [over 8 mins]