PEP research support program
Research - Capacity building - Policy engagement
With the continued support of renowned international experts in the field of development economics, PEP has become a world-leading source of expertise in building and promoting local capacity for the conduct of high quality and policy-engaged research in developing countries. PEP research aims to promote contextualized policy solutions to emerging and country-specific development issues.
To achieve this, PEP has developed a unique mechanism, the PEP Grant Plus program, that enables local analysts in developing countries to:
- define and achieve their own research agenda
- meet the highest international standards of scientific research quality
- engage actively with policy stakeholders
- ensure broad dissemination and accessibility of their findings through strategic communication
PEP "Grant Plus" mechanism
Following a "learning by doing" approach, the PEP Grant Plus program consists in a multi-stage evaluation, training/mentoring and peer-review process, from project design to publication and dissemination.
The program is initiated with an international call for proposals - for policy analysis projects led by teams of local researchers in developing countries, with priority given to fragile and low-capacity contexts - and through which all applicants receive detailed comments to help improve their proposals, regardless of selection.
Following the presentation of finalist proposals during the PEP annual conference, each selected research teams is assigned a PEP resource person (PEP-affiliated international expert) as scientific mentor, who will monitor and advise the team's research work, providing ongoing technical support throughout the project cycle.
Since 2017, with the creation of the new "Policy Outreach Committee", PEP also appoints regionally-based experts to provide teams with guidance in the design and implementation of effective policy engagement strategy, to maximize chances of research uptake. Find out more about PEP's approach to policy engagement for development research.
The detailed process is illustrated below.
In addition to funding and mentoring, PEP provides its grant recipients with:
- resources to ensure that researchers carry out their analysis in the best possible research environment - e.g. recommended readings, updated training material, software tools, online journals and international databases, etc.
- professional development grants and opportunities, including funding for one or two team members to:
- participate in an international study visit, to work on PEP project with international experts, at an institution of their choice
- present research at high-level international conferences
- support in publication and dissemination of findings, including:
- publication/translation of research outcomes into both working paper and policy brief formats
- adapting paper as scientific article for submission/publication in high-level peer-reviewed journals
- organization of (PEP-sponsored) national policy conferences, to share and discuss findings with key stakeholders
PEP toolbox and quality seal
The progress of each project’s research work is carefully monitored through ongoing interactions with PEP resource persons, as well as periodic research and technical progress reports. Thanks to this ongoing support and review mechanism, the evidence produced in the context of PEP-supported research is guaranteed to meet the highest international standards of scientific rigor and quality – with the unique trait of systematically providing a locally-based analytical perspective.
Among several peerless features of PEP is the breadth of policy issues and analytical perspectives - including tools and techniques in which PEP-affiliated experts and resource persons specialize – and that granted researchers can choose to be trained in the use/analysis of via PEP support. PEP currently has four global thematic research groups, each promoting a different analytical approach:
- community-based monitoring systems
- macro-micro development policy modeling
- microeconomic analysis
- experimental research
Through these various approaches, PEP research can explore a broad range of policy issues related to poverty reduction and sustainable development - from education and employment to agriculture, food security, fiscal policies, inclusive growth, gender equity, health, income, migration, etc. - while producing comprehensive and disaggregated analyses to address specific knowledge gaps and needs to inform policy.
In several cases, the development of PEP’s distinctive set of research tools and techniques – acknowledged worldwide as some of the most valuable tools in the field – has been stimulated by their application in research projects supported by PEP, through innovations introduced by PEP’s teams of international experts - such as the CBMS, DAD/DASP software and PEP CGE standard models.