Bank & DFID Partnership Framework


Recognizing that the World Bank (or the Bank) continues to be the first point of call for research, data and policy advice for developing countries on issues associated with growth, poverty and economic development, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) entered into a strategic research partnership with the Bank in February 2014.  The partnership builds on the Bank’s comparative advantage which lies on three areas:

  • The coverage and depth of its country operations make it the first point of call for policy advice for many developing countries and, in particular, in low income countries.  The Bank is well placed to respond to demands and feed research into policy discussions.
  • The Bank’s research, due to the proximity of its researchers to development practice and policy making, focuses resolutely on applied and policy oriented questions.  As a result, Bank research is of direct practical relevance for policy compared to other academic research produced elsewhere.
  • The Bank has access to a wide array of country data and information not necessarily available to other institutions.  The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) of the Bank is also a large source of new data – with large scale data collection activities underway, complemented by in-depth research on methods of improved data collection.  Country coverage and position make the Bank well placed to develop and roll out appropriate methodologies and to collect and house global public data.  The Bank has played a key role in studying the prospects of developing and emerging economies.

Working together on research and data, the Bank-DFID Partnership aims to pursue a number of objectives:

  • Enhanced Impact – improve the strategic and programmatic research within the Bank, both within DEC as well as within operational units.
  • Close collaboration in promoting research and data collection on core programmatic themes (please see Themes).
  • A tightened focus on underlying quality and relevance of research via increased competition for research resources – initially within the Bank and, eventually, with external researchers.

DFID has a number of broader reform objectives that set a framework for its engagement with the Bank:

  • Programmatic proposals as a means to more closely focus research on key strategic Bank objectives
  • Mutual benefits through sharing knowledge and research for greater impact
  • Consolidation of trust funds

The Bank-DFID Partnership is built on the following principles:

  • An overarching trust fund which funds both pre-defined core themes as well as provide flexible funding to support additional, yet to be determined programmatic proposals. 
  • DFID continues to support the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP), a multi-donor program which it co-founded.  Funds to the KCP comes from the overarching trust fund.
  • Agreed milestones and deliverables form the basis for the partnership and program monitoring and reporting.
  • DEC takes on overall responsibility for processing submissions, arranging for reviews, and monitoring progress.  Research teams’ track records at submission will carry significant weight in the assessment process.  In addition, to be eligible for funding all research proposals should go through an extensive consultation process, ensuring that the proposed work combines the highest research standards with the greatest possible policy relevance and practical impact.
  • A selection committee (through the Bank’s Research Management Committee), with participation from operations as well as external researchers, will make funding allocation decisions.  All proposals to be subject to peer review (including external reviewers) before presentation to the selection committee.  Successful proposals must pass quality standard and policy relevance as set out within the themes.