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Structure and Funders

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The Structure

The Doing Research program involves six interrelated groups:

The DR Global team is made up of four members, led by Francesco Obino, GDN’s Head of Programs. The team provides technical and backstopping support to ensure the smooth implementation of DR program and DRAs by National Focal Points (NFPs). The team also monitors and controls quality of outputs produced from DRAs, and guides revisions to the Doing Research Assessment (DRA) methodology based on country-level feedback. It leads global advocacy efforts and fundraising. Additionally, the team acts as a networking facilitator between different partners directly or indirectly involved in the DR program.

There are two DR Technical Consultants which oversee the development of the DRA tool and DRA Framework indicators. Based on DRA Country Reports produced by NFPs, these individuals review the DR methodology and note any contextual differences of implementation with a view to comparing and harmonizing DRA indicators.

Since 2018 (Proof of Concept stage), GDN has been implementing Doing Research Assessments in partnership with competitively selected national research institutions – which are called National Focal Points (NFP). The NFP is made up of researchers from local institutions in the Global South dedicated to informing national research policies, using new research-based, comparative evidence. Through the collaboration between GDN and these local institutions, the DR program aims to inspire research policies, map research strengths, support research capacity building efforts and enhance the quality of research that can be used for policy decisions and local democratic debate in developing countries.

Scientific and Technical Advisors, also known as Mentors, are the pinnacle of NFPs’ successful implementation of a DRA and production of quality DRA Country Reports. Mentors provide input for the development of the DRA implementation approach and methodology as a whole.  This support is very much focused on adapting the DRA methodology to the country context and think through how to self-evaluate the project (key impact areas and strategies to achieve them), including in terms of the report’s dissemination and uptake among key stakeholders.

This group includes world-class scholars and experts on social science policy and research systems, such as Hebe Vessuri (for the NFP in Bolivia), Fred Carden (for the NFP in Indonesia), Thomas Bossert (for the NFP in El Salvador), Charlotte Galloway (for the NFP in Myanmar) and Andy Frost (for the NFP in Nigeria).

GDN has constituted an Advisory Committee for the Doing Research program which brings unique knowledge, perspectives and skills on a better way to implement the program. The advisory committee serves to advise, provide recommendations and key information on improving the implementation of Doing Research program, and perform the role of program advocacy to the global and local (research) community.
 It is currently composed of the following:

  • Aleko Sarris, Emeritus Professor, Department of Economics, University of Athens
  • Anindya Chatterjee, Regional Director for Asia at IDRC
  • Eunice Muthengi, Deputy Head of the DFID East Africa Research Hub
  • Fabian Käser, Executive Secretary, Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE)
  • Fred Carden, Founder of Using Evidence and former Director of Evaluation at IDRC
  • Gargee Ghosh, Director of Development Policy & Finance at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Heide Hackmann, Chief Executive Officer of the International Science Council (ISC)
  • James Wilsdon, Vice-Chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) and Professor at Sheffield University
  • Late Lynn V. Meek, Professor at University of Melbourne and Founder of the LH Martin Institute
  • Nelson Torto, Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences
  • Patrick Guillaumont, President of the Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI)
  • Shanta Devarajan, Senior Director for Development Economics (DEC) at the World Bank
  • Merle Jacob, Lund University
  • Jon-Andri Lys, Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries
  • Ian Carter, University of Sussex
  • Joseph Hoffman, Independent Consultant
  • Lemma Senbet, African Economic Research Consortium
  • Nupur Barua, South Asia Research Hub, DFID

If you are interested in becoming a Doing Research Scientific and Technical Advisor or Advisory Committee Member, write to us.



The DR program has benefited from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation for US$785,000 who generously supported the DR pilot phase from 2014-2016.

The current DR  scale-up phase is partly funded by GDN, and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), especially in Myanmar. GDN is leading the creation of a coalition of donors and partners to continue support Doing Research Assessments across 50 countries.

To support this work through direct funding or help in identifying donors, please contact Francesco Obino, Head of Programs.