The Doing Research program aims to ensure that social science research can better inform sustainable development policy by mapping research systems, supporting research capacity building, enhancing research quality, and promoting the role of research in shaping democratic debate and decision making. In a pilot phase from 2014-2016, seven research teams from Africa, Latin America and Asia assessed the enabling factors for research in eleven country case-studies.
In one case, for instance, researchers in Cote d’Ivoire found evidence for the need to revitalize social science research in the country. Findings highlighted weak capacity in most research institutions, especially in new institutions, owing to poor infrastructure, scientific isolation, and low investments in researchers’ capacities.
The case study from South Africa – which also documented limited funding opportunities, biases and the lack of mentoring and networking services as some of the barriers to doing research – directly informed a seminar series on Innovation and Development by the Human Sciences Research Council and the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators in July, 2017. The seminar drew on findings from the study to initiate discussions on the need to identify the drivers of research and development performance, and on how policy can be geared towards prioritizing research and development initiatives.
The cases were synthesized into a paper in 2016, by the Center for Research and Expertise on Education and Development (CREED), which noted that the diversity of methodological approaches and conclusions have helped to identify a common research framework, which may be applied in developing countries around the world.
“Doing Research – Assessing the Environment for Social Science Research in Developing Countries”, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), from May 2014 - June 2016.