|Best Practices: Strengthening Policy Research Capacity around the World (IFPRI, 2000, 6 p.)|
Strengthening policy institutions can attract and retain people with a capacity for policy education, research, and analysis. Four successful approaches have been used to strengthen developing-country institutions in policy research and analysis.
Long-term training for institutional capacity. This approach involves posting developed-country staff in developing countries and training local staffs through postgraduate programs at developed-country universities. Such a program typically takes 10-15 years to show results, but its effects can eventually multiply as participants pass on their training to others. Whether local institutional programs are sustainable depends on how well they retain staff and continue to develop local capacity.
Regional networks. Regional networks involve pooling regional and donor resources to develop institutional capacity in developing-country organizations and to coordinate their activities. This approach can bring countries together to address regional topics and capacity problems.
Regional institutional strengthening. In some cases donors provide grants to developing-country institutions to establish economic policy research centers with the aim of targeting the best local talent with links to local policy-makers. Through this approach, developing countries can avoid depending on external policy analysis and research and can promote the capacity and credibility of their own national institutions in policy research.
Regional centers for postgraduate training. Donors may identify an existing, potentially capable academic institution and strengthen it with outside technical experts to create a strong regional center for research and training. Long-term sustainability can be created with a local focus and little dependence on outside assistance.