Our approach

Jump to:    Grant Plus mechanism   Scientific capacity   Policy engagement    PEP toolbox   Monitoring & Evaluation  

Supporting high-quality, policy-engaged research in the Global South

PEP is a world-leading source of expertise in building and promoting local capacity for conducting high quality and policy-engaged research in developing countries.

Indeed, PEP has developed a unique research support and capacity building mechanism that enables local researchers and government officers in developing countries to:

  • define and achieve their own research agenda
  • meet the highest standards of scientific research quality
  • engage and communicate effectively with policy stakeholders
  • ensure broad dissemination and accessibility of findings

The PEP Research "Grant Plus" mechanism: A unique learning-by-doing approach

Following a learning-by-doing approach, the PEP research Grant Plus program consists in a multi-stage evaluation, training/mentoring and peer-review process, from project design to publication and dissemination.

Implemented with the continued support of renowned international experts in development policy and economics, the program is designed to strengthen capacities for scientific research and policy outreach/communication simultaneously.


Developing scientific capacity

The program supports research projects led by teams of local researchers and/or government officers in developing countries. Projects are selected through competitive calls for proposals, with priority given to fragile and low-capacity contexts.

In addition to receiving detailed comments from PEP experts to help improve their research design, all shortlisted applicant team members are asked to complete the PEP online courses relevant to their specific project's analytical approach.

When selected for support, research teams are assigned a scientific mentor, who will monitor and advise the team's research work, providing ongoing technical support throughout the project cycle.


Developing capacity for policy engagement and communication

In parallel to their scientific research work, PEP-supported project teams must develop a detailed policy context and stakeholder analysis.

When selected, PEP appoints regionally-based policy experts to advise the design and implementation of effective policy engagement strategy, to maximize chances of research uptake. Team members also receive training in best practices for policy outreach and communication. Find out more about PEP's approach to policy engagement for development research.

And more..

In addition to funding, training and mentoring, PEP grant recipients also benefit from:

  • 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 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:

PEP toolbox and quality seal

The progress of each project’s research work is carefully monitored through ongoing interactions with PEP mentors, 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. Indeed, the high number of PEP papers (over 50%) that are published in reputable scientific journals clearly attests to the quality of our research.

Among several peerless features of PEP is the breadth of policy issues and analytical perspectives that granted researchers can choose to be trained in the use/analysis of via PEP support, thanks to the varied expertise of PEP Scientific Support Teams. PEP currently has three research groups, each promoting a different analytical approach:

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, gender equity, health, climate change, 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, such as the DAD/DASP software and PEP CGE standard models – has been stimulated by their application in research projects supported by PEP, through innovations introduced by PEP’s teams of international experts.

Monitoring delivery, engagement and impact

PEP has developed a sophisticated, web-based “Monitoring and Evaluation System” to assess the progress, performance, and impact of the projects we support, from proposal to publication.

  1. Project teams are required to submit periodic reports (in the form of web-based questionnaires) on various project activities and outcomes: not only research but also capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and dissemination activities.
  2. Once the scientific and policy mentors are satisfied with their corresponding deliverables, the M&E reports must be reviewed and approved by the relevant PEP staff for the payment of the grant tranches.

The information collected through this system enables supervising bodies to assess quickly whether the initial strategies are being implemented, recommendations have been undertaken, and objectives are on track to being achieved.

Overall, it also allows PEP to identify and assess our main successes and challenges as we implement our global initiativeswhich often comprise many individual projects or country studiesto draw important lessons for future strategies.

Furthermore, the system collects qualitative information and testimonies regarding the impact at the country level of the individual projects. These enable PEP to tell compelling impact stories that demonstrate the importance and breadth of the benefits that result from investing in local research capacity.


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