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Global Development Awards Competition

Film featuring the finalists from the Global Development Awards Competition at the 17th GDN Annual Global Development Conference in Lima, Peru in March, 2016.

The Global Development Awards Competition is an innovative award scheme launched by GDN with the generous support from the Ministry of Finance, Government of Japan. (Recently we celebrated 20 years of the Global Development Awards | See the new networking tool, Global Development Awards platform.)

Since its inception in 2000, GDN has awarded roughly US$ 4 million in research and project grants to finalists and winners. Nearly 8,800 researchers and development practitioners from low and middle income countries and transition countries have participated in the competition and more than 200 awards have been conferred till date.

The awards recognize excellence in policy-oriented research, supports research capacity development of researchers in low and middle income countries and funds innovative social development projects benefiting marginalized groups in the developing world. The annual competition has a new, relevant theme every year. GDN provides grants through its awards competition under two main categories: 

The Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development The Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (ORD) is a competitive research grant program that identifies and funds outstanding research proposals that have a high potential for excellence in research and clear policy implications for addressing development issues. Applicants receive expert feedback from junior and later senior researchers. Additionally, throughout the implementation of their projects, the research teams are supported by a Scientific and Technical Advisor, who is selected based on the theme of their research.

The Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project The Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project (MIDP) is a competitive grant program that supports Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in low or lower income countries to recognize the innovative approach of their projects. The first prize winner is also eligible to compete under the Japan Social Development Fund for an additional grant of up to US$ 200,000 to pilot their innovative work at a larger scale.  

Finalists in both categories receive training in communicating research and development, prior to their presentations at the conference.  

Current Competition

Global Development Awards Competition 2021 | Now closed, see competition guidelines | Finalists | Winners

The 2021 edition of the Global Development Awards Competition featured two categories:

  • The Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (ORD): The Global Development Network (GDN) invites researchers from low-income or middle-income countries to submit research proposals within the theme, 'International trade and the promotion of biodiversity.' Learn more
  • The Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project (MIDP): The Global Development Network (GDN) invites non-profit NGOs and CSOs from low and lower-middle-income countries to submit project applications within the following three themes: 'Universal health coverage and COVID,' 'Community-driven Climate-related Disaster Risk Reduction in Rural Areas' and 'Quality urban infrastructure and community driven governance.' Learn more. 

Applications for these competitions are now closed. Winners will be declared in October 2021.     

Past Competitions

  • Global Development Awards Competition 2020 The Global Development Network (GDN) invited researchers from low and middle-income countries to submit research proposals within the theme, "Unpacking the health-environment-economic wellbeing nexus,' for the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (ORD). Proposals under this theme looked critically at policy successes and failures to look at the complex intersection of health, environment and economic wellbeing. Research projects were encouraged to focus on local, national, regional or continental policy initiatives, and come from any discipline within the social sciences. Proposals can focus on ongoing policy initiatives, past ones, or initiatives currently being set up. A direct link to the COVID-19 crisis was welcome, but not required. In light of the quickly changing scenario, proposals that integrate a focus on COVID-19 and related policy responses explained how the quickly changing policy landscape is likely to impact the focus of the research. In light of the current limitations to travel in place across the planet, the selection was conducted online. For more information please visit this page.  
  • Global Development Awards Competition 2019  The 2019 edition of the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (ORD) categiory was concluded at the GDN conference in Bonn, Germany in October 2019. We invited researchers from low and middle income countries to submit research proposals on the theme, 'Doing research in developing countries: the role of non-academic actors, new communication platforms and leadership in social sciences'. Learn more
  • Note: There was no Global Development Awards Competition in 2018.
  • Global Development Awards Competition 2017 Proposals under both awards categories addressed the theme, ‘Skill Development and Employment Generation’, in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing and digital technology. Winners were chosen by an eminent jury at GDN’s conference, held in New Delhi, India, in March 2018. Finalists from both award categories were invited to present their proposals at the conference. Learn more.
  • Global Development Awards Competition 2016 This edition was concluded in Lima, Peru on the 17-18 March, 2016, on the theme of 'Education for Development: Quality & Inclusion for Changing Global Human Capital Needs.' The competition received over 337 expressions of interest from 59 low and middle income countries. Learn more
  • Global Development Awards Competition 2015 The MIDP collected proposals from all development projects being implemented in low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries. The ORD had four subthemes 1) Food security and nutrition 2) Environmental challenges and natural resources management; 3) Economic, social and political transformations: effect and impact of agricultural development process; 4) Financial and technological innovation: which new tools for the next ‘Green Revolution'. Winners were selected at the 16th Annual Global Development Conference which took place in Morocco from 11-13 June 2015. Watch what the winners of the awards in 2015 had to say MIDP 2015 Winner | ORD 2015 Winner

Queries may be sent to awards@gdn.int.

If you have a grievance regarding the implementation of this project or towards its future impacts, send an email to awards@gdn.int, with a copy to msait@gdn.int and fobino@gdn.int or check www.gdn.int/awards/grievance for further instructions




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