Bridging the Gap – Designing Effective Cooperation between Academia and Practitioners for Better Results

Compared with other countries, in particular the US and UK there is limited active cooperation between researchers and development practitioners in most European countries. Development agencies and NGOs are separated from academia both personally and in how they approach the topics they are interested in. Academia and development agencies form part of the local elites. NGOs are comprised of active citizens. Both also differ in their approach to include the beneficiaries of their activities in design, implementation and evaluation. The current evaluation boom provides exceptional opportunities for greater integration of research and practice. While evaluation is necessary for accountability and responsibility, this session will concentrate on learning from successful examples.

This session will convene cases of outstanding cooperation between development economists and development practitioners. PEGNet will present the results from studies conducted in Germany on the research demand by development practitioners and the importance of policy relevance by researchers. Then case studies come from different fields and will be presented on the basis of evaluations or academic papers that resulted from the project. This is followed by a discussion that will focus on the lessons learnt from the projects presented.

The aim of the session is to use successful examples in order to better understand how to improve cooperation between academia and development practitioners in program design, implementation and evaluation.