The first phase of the program mapped capacities to generate and use evidence in policy debates in the 17 smaller countries of the the Latin America and Caribbean region. The mapping confirmed that these 17 countries have disproportionately weaker capacities to produce and use evidence for policy decisions and debates, compared to the larger countries in the region. The study also compared and contrasted priorities between demand and supply actors in the region, on 24 different research topics. The study points to the fact that topics such as health and education attract very large attention on the side of both the producers and the users of research, while topics such as climate change, for which there is a strong demand on the policy side, still require a significant capacity building effort on the side of researchers.
The second phase of the program supported competitively selected independent research institutions to develop new research agendas on the topic of the effectiveness of public expenditure in education, and in particular policies that try to improve the quality of education, in the smaller countries of the Latin America and Caribbean region. Research questions and methodologies were developed in consultation with the respective national ministries of education, creating an early demand for results among key stakeholders. The expectation is that these research will be immediately useful to policy actors at the country level, to revive and further prioritize policy intervention in the field of education, including through closer collaboration with the independent research centers involved in the program.
The vision of the program is to strengthen the role of independent research in the production of evidence on public policies, and strengthen their credibility, legitimacy as well as the salience of their work.