Overview of PEP activities and support program

Capacity building  -   Research and policy analysis  -   Policy outreach  and promotion of local expertise

Capacity building

Building local research capacities in developing countries

With the continued support of world-renowned experts in development economics, PEP has become a unique source of expertise in building local capacities for economic and policy analysis in developing countries.

Indeed, PEP relies on a unique and efficient mechanism of manifold support, that it has developed over the years, to help Southern-based researchers overcome the usual lack of resources and impediments to the conduct of state-of-the-art research within their home countries..

PEP "Grant Plus" mechanism
PEP call for proposals for "Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment" (PAGE) - PEP's current multi-country research initiative, co-funded by DFID and IDRC.

PEP support provides developing country researchers with:

In addition to funding, PEP provides a variety of resources to ensure that researchers carry out their analysis in the best possible research environment: recommended readings, updated training material, software tools, online journals and international databases, etc. Find out more..

Following approval and provision of a PEP research grant, one of PEP-affiliated resource persons


PEP-supported researchers receive in-depth training in methodologies, concepts and techniques relevant to their particular project.  Training may be provided in the context of PEP general meetings, PEP schools or directly through interaction with PEP resource persons (mentoring). PEP also provides training material for self-teaching, which is made available for public access on the PEP website.

PEP-funded researchers may apply for additional funding to finance a 3-to-4-week international study visit with resource persons at the institution of their choice. These visits provide longer periods of direct communication and assistance to solve particularly complex issues, as well as first-rate access to computer and documentary facilities.

Research and policy analysis

Helping local analysts meet the highest international standards

The evidence produced in the context of PEP-supported analyses is guaranteed to meet the highest international standards of scientific rigor and quality.

In order to select the most promising research projects to be granted PEP support, all submitted proposals undergo careful review and analysis by PEP scientific expert committees

Thematic, methodological and geographic scope

Among the several peerless features of PEP is the breadth of analytical perspectives, tools and techniques in which PEP resource persons specialize, and that supported researchers can choose to apply and be trained in via PEP support.

Find out more about the different methodologies and approaches fostered through PEP research, here: About the "PEP toolbox"

PEP is a global organization that specializes in the analysis of policy issues related to poverty, economic and social development in developing countries, with the unique trait of systematically providing a localy-based analytical perspective. Moreover, the geographic scope of PEP activities, combined with a "networking" type of organizational structure, provide a unique opportunity for local-based, and usually isolated, Southern researchers to share and learn from experience with international peers. 

These exchanges also allow for the comparison of research results, conclusions and/or methodological applications among countries and regions, as well as for increased South-South knowledge transfers through greater interaction of both individuals and institutions.

Through the 195 projects supported to date, PEP research has explored quite a variety of development policy issues (from employment to fiscal policies, trade, social protection, child welfare, etc.), out of which a certain number of thematic foci have arisen. Find out more here: PEP research themes

Policy relevance

Finally, PEP research projects always contribute specific recommendations on which decision-makers can rely to design and implement appropriate policies to combat poverty and/or maximize pro-poor benefits of their interventions.   See PEP impact stories to find out how PEP research has contributed to inform and influence policymaking in developing countries. 

In the context of PAGE - PEP's current multi-country research initiative -, for each call for proposals, a list of priority issues are identified by members of the PAGE policy group, to ensure that the supported projects address specific knowledge gaps and policy needs in terms of evidence base in developing countries.

Policy outreach and promotion of local expertise

Assisting local experts in bridging research to policy

PEP devotes extensive resources to assist its researchers in creating strong policy linkages and implementing effective influence strategies.

When undertaking initiatives to contribute to poverty reduction in their home countries, PEP researchers can rely on PEP support every step of the way; from the development of their research proposal, to the communication of their findings and policy recommendations to national stakeholders.

Ongoing consultation with key policy makers and stakeholders at the national level (from project design to production of final reports), is a fixed and closely monitored component of all PEP-supported projects. Initial consultations and presentation of an effective policy outreach strategy are also key selection criteria of new projects to be granted PEP support.

PEP support

However, listening to research users and communicating findings in order to inform and influence policy are some of the greatest challenges of the academic field of development research. The PEP support program thus comprises various forms of assistance (including a series of complementary grants) to help its researchers implement such strategy.


  • Defining policy issues
  • Identifying and consulting with relevant policy audiences
  • Building networks
  • Organizing national policy conferences
  • Presenting in international conferences
  • Interacting with mass media
  • Preparing policy briefs and publishing in refereed journals

PEP does not only strongly encourage these initiatives, but also provides researchers with continual guidance and supervision, as well both technical and financial support.

To find out more about the various PEP activities, browse through the menu below:

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Research Funding

PEP awards 15 to 20 grants of CAN 50,000$ every 18 months on a competitive basis to teams of researchers originating from and residing in a developing country. Funding includes a core grant plus funding to cover the costs of participating in PEP meetings, study visits and other activities (training workshops, conferences, etc.).

The basic activity of the PEP network is to provide financial and scientific support to policy relevant and methodologically rigorous research by local researchers on the causes of and remedies to poverty in developing countries. This research is predominantly of an applied nature, although conceptual and methodological research also plays an important role where necessary. It focuses primarily on a limited number of themes. Research projects are conducted on an 18-month cycle by small teams (generally a senior researcher supervising a group of younger researchers), with a working paper, preferably of publishable quality, expected at the end of each project. Support and dissemination of this research will be the primary goal of the other activities outlined below.

While the primary goal of the network is to support research performed by PEP researchers, collaborative and fundamental research involving resource persons plays an important role in charting new and innovative research directions for PEP researchers and ensuring international recognition of the network, while also providing an important intellectual motivation for the ongoing implication of resource persons in the network. Collaborative work can also be useful to bring a completed report up to a level at which it can be published internationally, although the PEP researcher should normally be identified as the primary author in these cases. Comparative research, bringing together and contrasting results from several projects (and countries) on a common theme, is also undertaken with the involvement of researchers and resource persons. For example, the MPIA group will soon finalize a comparative volume of CGE studies on the poverty impacts of trade liberalization.

Calls for proposal

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Scientific Support

Intensive scientific support to PEP researchers is provided by experts from developing and developed countries to researchers through regular PEP training workshops, largely organized and conducted by Southern researchers and institutions and through the PEP mentorship program, from the initial proposal phase through to the preparation of the final reports national and international dissemination activities and efforts to publish. One resource person from these institutions is appointed as the supervisor for each project for the entire duration of the project. A day or more is set aside at each meeting for teams to work one-on-one with their supervisor. The supervisor is also expected to provide ongoing support either directly or, where appropriate, by drawing on other resource persons internal or external to the PEP project. Scientific advice goes beyond strictly technical issues and involves advice on the choice of research topics, methodologies and the preparation of research reports and articles.

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Training PEP School & Training Workshops

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Several types of meetings are being organized with a view to presenting, discussing and evaluating research proposals and reports. Meetings are also used to encourage networking between researchers and resource persons working on related issues. These are also the occasion to organize a variety of training activities.

The centerpiece is the organization of a general meeting every 18 months to provide a venue for the presentation, discussion and evaluation of PEP proposals and reports and to allow PEP researchers to work with invited resource persons. These meetings also feature advanced training workshops and international
policy conferences.

Time at these meetings is set aside for discussions on broader conceptual and technical issues. Funding is being provided for the organization of periodic national meetings, bringing together researchers working in different networks, other MIMAP or IDRC projects, and possibly other researchers working on poverty issues in a given country.

Indeed, as the PEP network adjusts from a structure of national projects to thematic individual research projects, efforts should be made to maintain discussion at the national level. All proposals, reports and background documents are posted on the PEP web site to facilitate discussion. Discussion is being maintained between meetings through web-based email fora; one for each network plus another for the whole network. Informal contacts between researchers are strongly encouraged and facilitated.

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Policy Conferences

Funding and support is provided for the organization of national policy conferences to present and discuss final research reports with a wide range of policy makers, academics, civil institutions, the donor community and the interested public at the national or sub-national levels.

These conferences also serve to further promote the PEP network in these countries and to explore future collaborations involving the different conference participants. Considerable effort is devoted to ensuring a two-way dialogues with occasions for participants to provide in-depth input as discussants, panel members and members of the audience.

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Study visits

PEP-funded researchers may apply for additional funding to finance 3-to-4-week study visits with resource persons at the institution of their choice.

Electronic communication constitutes a powerful tool for providing technical support to researchers in Asia and Africa and Latin America. However, it also imposes limits on the depth and complexity of issues that can be discussed and resolved. More in-depth discussions are possible with resource persons during meetings. However, in some cases, longer periods are required to allow researchers to explore complex issues and methodologies with ongoing support or, in some cases, to collaborate directly with resource persons.

One attractive mechanism to allow this type of interaction takes the form of study visits of three to four weeks by PEP researchers with resource persons at the institution of their choice. With resource persons and first-rate computer and documentary facilities at hand, PEP researchers are able to discuss in detail the various technical and conceptual issues they face in the course of their research.


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Field visits

Another mechanism for providing more in-depth technical support and for undertaking collaborative research takes the form of field visits by resource persons to PEP countries. We have often found that one-week field visits can resolve a large number of issues that will otherwise cause significant delays and lead to discouragement among local researchers. Where needs are identified in several countries, a field tour can be organized in order to minimize costs. In contrast to study visits by PEP researchers, all members of local teams can easily benefit from field visits. Also, some policymakers may be invited to these field visits

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Consultation and Dissemination

The ultimate objective of PEP research is clearly to influence and improve policy making and reduce poverty at the national, regional and international levels. The best possible research is of little avail if it is not made known to key policy makers, other researchers and the wider public. While dissemination within the network is being ensured by the above-mentioned discussion activities, separate funding is provided to support other forms of dissemination.

PEP researchers are required to outline a strong dissemination strategy in their research proposals, which is considered in the selection process.

More generally, a PEP closing the loop strategy has been developed. This strategy covers dissemination activities at both the national and international levels. Important dissemination activities are undertaken at the national level, such as national dissemination conferences to present final research reports to a wide range of policy makers, academics, civil institutions and the interested public. These conferences play a crucial role to ensure that research results feed into the policy making process. These occasions are also used to expose planned future research activities with a view to informing and receiving input from national stakeholders.

Researchers are also encouraged to seek other, less formal, mechanisms to inform and receive input from policy makers at all stages of their research (proposal, interim and final reports). Limited funding is available for presentation of final research reports in regional and international conferences.

Researchers and resource persons (in cases of collaborative or fundamental research undertaken within the network) are encouraged and supported in their efforts to publish articles, newsletters and policy briefs based on their research both nationally and internationally.

The PEP web site constitutes another important instrument for dissemination of research results. One important institutional dissemination mechanism is the working paper series. This can be used to disseminate results of research undertaken by PEP researchers and resource persons. Decisions on the publication of working papers can be made by the relevant project director and network leader, with periodic reviews of the selection criteria by the steering committee.

Efforts are made to get resource persons involved in many or all aspects of the above dissemination process. On one hand, they can help distil the policy conclusions and to put research results into international perspective. On the other hand, their implication increases the visibility of national dissemination activities.


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Access to recent and relevant documentation is provided through a number of mechanisms.

First, the IDRC provides all PEP researchers with access to several online literature search tools and electronic journal databases.

Second, resource persons and member researchers prepare literature reviews and lists of recommended readings on emerging issues. These lists are posted and continuously updated on the PEP website, including links to the articles themselves where possible. CD-Roms, containing all literature reviews and recommended readings available on the PEP web site, are distributed to all participants at each PEP meeting. Resource persons and other researchers also prepare and distribute articles of interest to specific researchers.

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Resource Expansion

Resource expansion is also very important to the PEP networks. The network is developing a set of partnerships with other donors drawing on established strengths and experience.

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Appel de propositions


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Appui scientifique

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Visites de terrain

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Expansion des ressources


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