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In our 12th episode, Katia Halabi and Raji Jayaraman explain and discuss research-practice partnerships (RPPs) and share their experiences. Katia is a practitioner and head of the TVET (technical and vocational education and training) component of a project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Rwanda with co-funding by the European Union. Raji is a researcher and professor of economics at ESMT Berlin as well as the co-director of the Forward Society Lab. We explore the characteristics of RPPs, and how such a partnership is implemented in an ongoing project in Rwanda. We delve into the role of quantitative data and rigorous evidence in policymaking and of course discuss how this is linked to financing impact with taxpayers’ money. 


Key takeaways

•    A research-practice partnership is a close collaboration between practice partners and researchers with different, albeit complementary, backgrounds and interests. The objective is to generate evidence to tackle societal problems. It includes cooperation to identify the problem, design the research process, the data collection, and the impact evaluation.

•    The research-practice partnership discussed in this episode involves a randomized control trial (RCT). The pedagogy and learning outcomes of teachers who have undergone digital skills training is compared to those of teachers who have not. This creates rigorous evidence because teachers who get to participate in the training are randomly selected. This way, differences in results between the two groups can be attributed to the training (instead of outside factors such as difference in motivation).

•    Ideally, research-practice partnerships go beyond descriptive evidence and inform policymaking. In doing so, RPPs have a role to play to ensure taxpayers’ money is used effectively to fund interventions that work.

About Financing Impact

Financing Impact is a podcast about funding and scaling societal impact. This podcast is brought to you by SciFi, the Societal Impact Financing Initiative at ESMT Berlin. SciFi is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

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