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BICF IFC Project Information Corner

Implemented by Economic Research Group and BMB Mott MacDonald

Academic Partnership Program (APP)

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Under APP, five leading private universities of Bangladesh has joined in a team to start an academic concentration (a minor) in their Business and Economics undergraduate programs.  These universities are: North South University, Independent University of Bangladesh, American International University of Bangladesh, East West University and BRAC University.

The universities are currently working on designing the curriculum and it is expected that they will start enrolling students under the concentration area by Spring 2010, subject to approval of the UGC.

Besides, establishing a minor on Investment Climate Issues, these five universities have also established Investment Climate Unit (ICU), a research cell which will be promoting research among the faculty members and the students in their universities.

An additional component of APP is to place students on paid internship program in research organs of leading Business Associations in Bangladesh.

Investment Climate Research Program -ICRP

After the successful completion of the Pilot Phase on Small Grants Program in 2008-09, ERG is currently responsible for promoting research in the areas of Investment Climate Issue,  Four separate competitive rounds of research are now planned between 2009-2010.

The objective is to help generate awareness of the program, and stimulate interest of think tanks, academics, civil society organizations, business associations, chambers of commerce and individuals who may be interested in conducting research under this program. ERG is responsible for addressing all questions arising from the advertisement, and receiving, gathering and collecting all submitted proposals.

In each round, 5-10 research grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to researchers/institutions.  See below for details about the topics and also about the evaluation method.

There are several steps to win the competitive research fund: Step 1: submission of proposal, Step 2: Short-listing of proposals, Step 3: review of proposals; Step 4: Presentation by top 10-15, Step 5: Final Selection (based on merit and availability of fund).  Proposals for research must be innovative, cost-effective and relevant. 

The Small Grants Program aims to a) support academics and individual researchers interested in undertaking research on investment climate issues across Bangladesh; b) enhance the knowledge base and increase awareness of investment climate issues; and c) provide inputs to policymaking.

Research Issues

With a view to help researchers identify their research issues we summarize in the following major research themes under with you can club your research proposals.  However, it should be noted that these do not limit a researcher to find other research ideas which can be supportive of the objective underlined above under Small grants component.  Researchers are also free to club several themes or include additional themes.

Major Research Themes are

1. Regulatory Regimes, economic governance including development of meaningful indicators for business environment.
2. Sector or product (or service) specific studies.
3. Spatial analysis of investment (local area development, economic zone, etc).
4. Role of government in markets to promote investment - role of governance, business environment including enforcement of contracts, labour laws, access to credits etc.)
5. Potential of improving investment climate through regional cooperation.
6. Studies on critical inputs - human resources, land, technology, power/energy, and physical infrastructure.
7. Problem of entrepreneurs like women entrepreneurs, graduation of microcredit to small entrepreneurs, etc.

8. Competition Policy, market structure and issues related to imperfect markets and investment.

Selection Criteria

1. Statement of research purpose (10)
2. Literature review (20)
3. Analytical works/jurisdiction leading to identification of research objectives/ key research questions (30)
4. Research Methods (20)
5. Revealed ability of the members of the research team (20)

Format of the Proposal

1. Title
2. Statement of research purpose
3. Brief review of literature
4. Key research questions
5. Research Methods
6. CV of the members of the research team
7. Institutional affiliation of the researcher

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