The World Bank Strategic Research Program (SRP), a multi-donor trust fund initially funded by Department for International Development  (DFID), was established in February 2014. It aims to carry out research programs and projects related to development economics; and to disseminate the knowledge and lessons learned from research findings to enable countries and stakeholders to have access to evidence-based research and to enhance research capacity in developing countries.

The World Bank Group (WBG) has committed itself to the twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity. To achieve these goals, the WBG has recognized the need for a results-based approach to development, which in turn requires a foundation of world-class development research. The SRP seeks to provide this foundation by supporting a program of research that spans the gamut of development policy, focusing on understanding both the diversity of development outcomes across the world and the elements needed to design policies and reform strategies that will deliver sustained high growth, shared prosperity, and reduced poverty across a range of countries. The expected output of the program is a reliable body of evidence on important policies compiled through rigorous research.


The second Call for Proposals, which began in January 2015, has seven thematic focus areas. Some of these themes aim to look at cross cutting issues such as data, science of delivery, risk management and vulnerability, shared prosperity and inclusion, and global public goods. This Call will not support work which falls outside of these thematic areas. The research questions and issues can be found in the links under the Themes section.

The SRP will fund research that generates new knowledge with significant potential to benefit the lives of poor people in developing countries in Africa, South Asia and Middle East and North Africa regions. It will also fund research in low income countries and countries with high levels of extreme poverty in other regions.


The SRP is restricted to staff of the World Bank Group and will fund two different types of research proposals: individual grants and program grants. Collaboration across the World Bank Group is cornerstone of the program.


These are for stand-alone proposals of up to USD 200k which will fund well-defined research projects addressing a specific question. The project duration is one year ideally, but a one-time, one-year extension request with strong justification may be considered. Total term is no more than two years.


A program grant provides a strategic orientation of research towards a larger and broader objective. These will be for larger proposals of about USD 1 million, defining programs of research rather than focusing on crafting tightly focused individual research projects. Maximum program duration is three years.