- What do the governance arrangements consist of in terms of: the academic and policy oversight; the level of support and coordination of researchers, call and selection process; and the overall degree of competitiveness?
- What is the geographical distribution of researchers and regional engagement projects; and how successful has the programme been in terms of the thematic balance and quality of the overall programme and the individual grants?
- How efficient is the programme in respect of administration costs and the time taken to commission research?
To foster economic research on growth in poor and developing countries, and building on the findings of the 2008 Commission on Growth and Development, the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK has provided funding to several external organisations focused on economic growth research. Of interest for this study were six individual programmes within the wider portfolio of DFID.
The aim of this review was to compare the six programmes over time, against each other, and against relevant benchmarks to capture their performance to date. Important to the review of the programmes was not just the individual performance in isolation, but also the relative performance of programmes compared to each other. Of particular interest was a comparison between two groups of programmes. The first group were research institutes. The institutes conduct research in-house and rely on internal research staff, though differences exist within this group in terms of how decisions about funded projects are made. The second group were research funders. This group consists of programmes which fund research through grants to external organisations and researchers on the basis of open calls for proposals.
Data collection included a review of administrative data, a survey of researchers, and an online focus group of policymakers and other stakeholders.