Assessing social science research systems in Myanmar’s transition to democracy
To sustain democratization in Myanmar, IDRC and Global Affairs Canada launched a new initiative, Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM). Working with other development partners, the initiative targets diverse and complementary entry points to strengthen analytical thinking and policy research capacity to nurture meaningful dialogue and inclusive development during the transition. The initiative will accomplish this through capacity development for individuals, including emerging researchers, civil society, and policymakers; engagement and collaboration through roundtables, conferences, workshops, and other forms of policy dialogue; capacity development for institutions; providing support for think tanks and other actors; and funding research projects on topics relevant to inclusive democratic governance and economic development.
This research project will engage universities and think tanks in a systematic analysis of knowledge production and use. Starting in 2019, and over the next three years until October 2021, the project will examine a system-wide landscape of social sciences research. This examination will use the “Doing Research Assessment” approach, a flagship approach developed by the Global Development Network (GDN), a New Delhi-based international organization that supports social science research in developing countries. This approach mainly aims to understand, map, and assess structural barriers and opportunities to strengthen policy-relevant social research, based on the belief that stronger research plays a key role in supporting ownership, sustainability, and the integration of evidence in policy debates, much-needed in Myanmar’s nascent democratic transition.
In addition, the GDN approach will generate locally-produced system-level data to evaluate and strengthen local research systems by focusing on both demand and supply determinants of these systems and complementing current IDRC efforts in capacity building. In particular, the project will replicate and compare the first-ever 2018 Policy Community Survey for Myanmar by integrating a similar survey in the project by 2021.
The project will include two separate assessments (2019 and 2021) to be prepared by GDN, together with local high-level academics and researchers from local universities and a local think tank, the Centre for Economic and Social Development. The international and the Myanmar teams will jointly work on baseline data collection, analysis, validation, and dissemination while comparing and contrasting findings over this period of rapid transformation and gauging progress vis-à-vis other countries.