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New Research in Social Science Research Systems in Developing Countries

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New Delhi, Sept 06, 2018 | The Global Development Network (GDN) has selected teams in Bolivia, Indonesia and Nigeria to map their national social science research systems, via the newly launched Doing Research program. This seminal research will provide a first-time ever comprehensive map of social science research in three countries, which can be replicated across the developing world.

The map will measure the state of play within each part of the national social science research system – production, diffusion and use – thus benchmarking the health of the social science research system in the country and providing policymakers with a tool to see which areas need urgent attention. The research will use the Doing Research Assessment (DRA) method, with which it will also be possible to track the health of social science research systems over time.

The DRA method was developed as a follow up to a Doing Research pilot study in eleven developing countries funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Agence Française de Développement, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Swiss Agency for International Development Cooperation. The program now hopes to demonstrate results in three diverse, developing countries as proof of concept. Full results in the three countries are expected within a year.

Pierre Jacquet, President GDN, said, “The Doing Research program proposes to assess a country’s social science research system in a systemmatic way, so that countries can discuss their investments in research in a comparative perspective, based on reliable and strategic information. The exercise is carried out by national teams, to support a local debate on how best to generate and use scientific knowledge and evidence to advance sustainable development goals.“ GDN hopes to raise future resources for the program from country governments and international partners interested in research policy and investments known to precede and accompany economic and social progress.  

Awarded through a competitive grant, each country team will receive a grant of US$45,000 towards producing a national context analysis, a map of actors and collect key data on their own social science systems. The Center for the Studies of Social and Economic Realities in Bolivia – who also participated in the pilot – the Centre for Innovation, Policy & Governance in Indonesia, and the National Center for Technology Management in Nigeria won the grants and will lead the national studies. As more countries implement the approach, the program will also curate a global dataset that can benchmark research systems against each other, to show evidence for further research investments. 

“This ‘research about social science research’ program is a long overdue effort in recognition of the need for high-quality analyses and insights from developing countries, to help construct learning societies that deliver on their development goals,” said GDN’s head of programs, Francesco Obino.

The Global Development Network (GDN) is a public international organization that supports high quality, policy-oriented, social science research in developing and transition countries, to promote better lives. It supports researchers with financial resources, global networking, research management support, access to information, training, peer review and mentoring. Founded in 1999, GDN is currently headquartered in New Delhi, an emerging powerhouse in the global South.

For more information, please call Madhuri Dass Woudenberg, Head of Communications, Global Development Network on + 91 9350209494 or write to her on