Policy supporting research delivers research output on specific themes of interest to Belgian development cooperation on demand of the Belgian federal government. The goal is to improve the relevance and performance of Belgian development cooperation policy with regard to the international framework of sustainable and inclusive development.
Policy Supporting Research (PSR) 2019-2021
As from 1 January 2019 and upon request from the Belgian federal government, the currently ongoing ACROPOLIS policy supporting research programme of VLIR-UOS and ARES will be adjusted into the Policy Supporting Research (PSR) programme for a period of three years (2019-2021). The new approach to PSR will remain an integral part of the five-year programme (2017-2021) for academic cooperation for development of the umbrella organizations VLIR-UOS and ARES.
The three-year period is regarded as an experiment in which new ways of working can be tried out broadening the expertise, opening up competition, varying the nature of questions, and varying funding modalities.
Two types of policy supporting research are planned: long-term PSR and short-term PSR.
The long-term PSR allows to delve deeper into a subject. This type of research is closely related to the training, research and overall support needs of DGD and offers a wider range of services such as detailed advice, practical guidelines, complete training modules, scientific advisory services, etc.
The short-term PSR support serves to get advice quickly, without extensive research. The products may include background notes, comments and recommendations, possibly supplemented with presentations, short-term studies, expertise that is accessible to DGD, courses and workshops, etc.
PSR is set up to meet the needs of the Belgian development cooperation administration, DGD. The aim is to deepen the knowledge on themes that are of prime importance for the Belgian development cooperation, linked to building knowledge and capacity of DGD. The PSR therefore also takes into account the inventory of the training needs and the training plans of DGD. Knowledge and capacity building in the higher education institutions (HEIs) in the subjects, is a positive element, but is not an end in itself of the PSR.
With ACROPOLIS, ARES funds the programme that succeeds and replaces the GRAP (Groupes de Recherche en Appui aux Politiques de Coopération au développement) which has been providing successful policy-support research from 2009 until 2013, now a with shared perspective and on a coordinated Belgian level.
ACROPOLIS – ACademic Research Organisation for POLicy Support – is a programme that brings together policymakers from DGD, BTC, and other relevant governmental actors on the one hand and researchers from both Flemish and French-speaking universities in Belgium on the other. The first phase of ACROPOLIS had a duration of three years (May 2014-2017), the current phase consists of 18 months (until October 2018).
They conduct academic research and provide tailored academic services to the Belgian development cooperation policymakers. Ultimate aim is continued professionalization and improvement in the quality – and so also the impact – of the Belgian development cooperation.
By supporting ACROPOLIS, ARES and VLIR-UOS also aim to contribute to the visibility of Belgian academic expertise in international development.
3 ACROPOLIS are currently ongoing. VLIR-UOS and ARES jointly provide an average funding of € 330 000 per group per year.
01/ Governance for Development
The research consortium will conduct policy-supporting research (PSR) on governance networks that will facilitate a more effective implementation of a comprehensive approach to development and security issues in the partner countries of the Belgian development cooperation. As such it will contribute to the general and specific objectives of the PSR programme: it wants to contribute to more relevant and performant Belgian development cooperation policy with regards to the international framework of sustainable development and inclusive development (general objective).
This will be done by ensuring the uptake of the PSR on governance networks and a comprehensive approach by the federal government and other Belgian stakeholders (specific objective 1) and through strengthening academic capacity on how governance networks can strengthen a comprehensive approach (specific objective 2).
MORE INFORMATION: G4D Website
Academic partners: UCL, UGent, ULg, ULB
Focal point at DGD: Xavier Rouha
Start date: 1 June 2017
End date: 31 October 2018
Countries: Burkina Faso and Uganda as case studies
02/ KLIMOS - Environmental & climate change in the transition towards sustainable development
KLIMOS aims at generating capacity to enable the necessary transition to a sustainable society. KLIMOS will contribute to this aim through a process of mutual learning with the Belgian development cooperation and its partners in the South.
Research activities focus on:
- management of natural resources for multiple ecosystem services;
- development of sustainable energy systems and urban infrastructures;
- innovations in governance and institutional reform;
- sustainability monitoring & evaluation.
Research outcomes will feed into the KLIMOS Sustainability Toolkit for project design and evaluation, and will provide strategic policy support and tailor-made training and advice to the Belgian development cooperation.
Many public seminars and workshops are organized, hence best is to check out the program on the KLIMOS website.
MORE INFORMATION: KLIMOS Website
Academic partners: UAntwerpen, UCL, UGent, ULB, VUB
Focal point at DGD: Renata Vandeputte
Start date: 1 June 2017
End date: 30 October 2018
Countries: Burkina Faso, Benin, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, DR Congo, Rwanda, South-Africa and Vietnam as case studies
03/ BeFinD - Financing for development
BeFinD is a consortium of four research centers at Belgian universities (Université de Namur, KU Leuven, and Universiteit Antwerpen) which combine their research experience in the field of financing and development policy in order to provide theoretically sound, empirically grounded, and practically feasible policy support to Belgian development cooperation regarding financing for development.
Research is targeted in a way such that findings become a direct input for policy advice on the debates about the emerging landscape of development finance and on how traditional donors like Belgium can best adapt.
Results are meant to be published in scientific and professional journals.
Seven research packages are guiding the policy supporting research on this topic: Improving tax systems for LICs, illegal money flows, debt management, redistribution mechanisms and social protection in MICs, mobilizing private resources for development, ODA and its relationship with other development-relevant funding flows, and global public goods (climate and biodiversity).
MORE INFORMATION: BeFind Website
Academic partners: UAntwerpen, UCL, KUL
Focal point at DGD: Pieter Vermaerke
Start date: 1 June 2017
End date: 30 October 2018
Countries: Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Senegal and Benin as case studies
Conference : "Tackling climate, fragility & finance challenges for the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development"
On April 20, 2017, the three ACROPOLIS research groups held a joint conference on the challenges of climate, fragility and sustainable development financing.
This conference offered an opportunity for the three research groups funded by the DGD to present the results of their research and to analyze how these results can contribute to better achievement of sustainable development objectives.
Find out below the presentations that were broadcast during the conference as well as the posters that were made by the various research groups.
Session 1 : Climate & energy
- Realising SDG 13 (Climate action) through SDG 7 (Clean & affordable energy) and SDG 15 Life on Land (Bruno Verbist, KULeuven - KLIMOS)
- Climate change and the energy transition (Prof. em. Aviel Verbruggen, UA - KLIMOS)
- Climate finance (Sarah Vaes & Huib Huyse, KULeuven - BeFinD)
Session 2 : Aid effectiveness & fragility
- SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions, why they matter (Emmanuel Klimis, USL-B - Aid effectiveness in Fragile Contexts)
- Working in and on fragility: from obstacles to a guidance (Geoffroy Matagne, ULg & Thomas Vervisch, UGent - Aid effectiveness in Fragile Contexts)
- Fragiles countries: poor people, but environmentally rich. Do voluntary standards make a difference? (Axel Marx & Koen Vanderhaegen, KULeuven - KLIMOS) :
Session 3 : Development finance
- Incentives & commitments approaches to conditionality in financing (Sidney Leclercq, ULB-UCL - Aid effectiveness in Fragile Contexts)
Aid effectiveness & fragility
- Drivers and impacts of swidden intensification in DRC
- Private standards: do they make our coffee more sustainable?
- Sustainable schools in Palestine
- Attributing observed trends in vegetation greeness to climate variability and effects of land conversions in Rwanda
- Sustainable design of a school building. Case South India