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Research Project: Coordinated Case Studies – Innovation for Productivity Growth in Low Income Countries

Innovation and growth

DFID Innovation and Growth

In 2013, the British Department for International Development (DFID) granted Tilburg University the 4-years research project ‘Enabling Innovation and Productivity Growth in Low Income Countries’ (EIP-LIC).

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EIP-LIC is to fill research gaps in the understanding of factors, institutions, and policies that can increase innovation and productivity in low-income countries in Africa and Asia. The project envisages data collecting enterprise surveys, randomized control trials and qualitative case studies leading to a series of research papers and articles published in top journal.

The project further involves active involvement of policy makers in Africa and Asia for articulating the research question and valorizing the research outcomes. Data, research articles and policy documents will be published open access.

dfid foto website

The policy implications of research are presented in a series of EIP-LIC policy briefs, targeted at a broad audience of policy makers within governments, business and development agencies with a view to valorize research outcomes and promote evidence-based policy making.

Tilburg University is the lead partner in this project, which further involves Radboud University Nijmegen and Africa Study Centre as well as African and Asian university partners in the 10 case countries Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Recent Working papers

Earlier working papers and reports are available under Publications and Reports.  


Logo's Radboud University Nijmegen

Theory of change

The underlying idea of the project is to help eradicate poverty in the world’s poorest regions. Its primary objective is to deliver against the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include reducing by half those living in extreme poverty and hunger.

Through the research project Innovation and Growth, DFID hopes to identify policies and institutions that use innovation to help promote economic growth in developing countries. As more and more empirical work is making clear, sustainable growth is the most effective way to alleviate poverty. And innovation is one of the main vehicles for achieving that. This applies especially in emerging and developing countries, where it is crucial in accelerating and maintaining growth.

The theory of change of this project considers the process by which research affects innovation policy in developing countries as having three main stages 

  • Exploration – identify the important issues in innovation policy in the selected developing countries;
  • Knowledge and evidence creation – doing the research necessary to answer the questions raised in the exploration phase, disseminate the results of this research to the academic community;
  • Research uptake and policy dissemination – presenting the results in ways that will maximize the chances of effective uptake to policy, encouraging policy makers and other stakeholders to apply the results of the research.

Capacity building is an important element of the research to policy chain, but we do not consider it as a separate stage in the process. In contrast, we view it as in integral part of ‘Knowledge creation’: researchers in developing countries will be trained in techniques for policy-relevant innovation research and will participate in the research process (data gathering and processing, setting up experiments, analysis and writing). The researchers from the developing countries will also be involved in the other stages of the project.

Logical framework

1. Expected output research:

High quality policy relevant research on productivity and innovation policy applicable to developing countries:

  • General country descriptions on innovation manifestations and institutional context.
  • Number of peer reviewed articles, reports and conference papers within the themes ‘Innovation Systems’ and ‘Finance for Productivity Growth’.
  • Synthesis reports on key thematic areas produced reflecting generalisable lessons.
  • Synthesis country case reports produced reflecting transferable lessons.

2. Expected output Policy development and dissemination:

Evidence base on productivity and innovation policy pro-actively disseminated to key policy makers and decision makers:

  • Number of project based or programme wide meetings/events with key policy and decision makers to review evidence and research findings (interaction, feedback, discussion);
  • Number of policy papers and policy briefs and research reports;
  • Dissemination of policy messages through coverage in local and international media.

3. Expected output capacity development:

Researchers in developing countries trained and involved in policy relevant innovation research:

  • Transfer of knowledge on qualitative and quantitative policy research;
  • Individual academic capacity development (PhD studies in counterpart organizations);
  • Proportion of research output in project produced in collaboration with Southern institutions/partners.

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