USI Main Goals
1. Research: Spur innovative projects that can address the challenge of delivering urban public services, and use randomized evaluations (REs) to test the effectiveness of those innovations in the field. The overarching question will be: “Why has the quality of public services remained critically deficient in urban areas of developing countries, and what are the most promising, cost-effective ways of overcoming those deficiencies?”
2. Capacity Building: Form strong research teams including multidisciplinary teams, and increase capacity for some researchers based in developing countries to design and conduct REs which test the effectiveness of their proposed solutions rigorously. Enhance their ability to think about the multi-disciplinary nature of the challenge so that any behavioral, institutional, and technological aspects of the problem are addressed simultaneously.
3. Policy Outreach: Disseminate knowledge gained to policymakers and donors at local, national, and international levels, so that effective solutions are promoted and spread. Develop capacity for local institutions and researchers to carry this agenda forward beyond the life of USI.
These objectives will be achieved through a set of activities:
- Conducting regular calls for proposals (2-3 every year) for invited researchers, both for full projects and seed grants.
- Organizing matchmaking conferences to identify projects and opportunities.
- Identifying, training, and supporting local researchers to engage in USI’s work.
- Identifying potential partners, scientists, and researchers in complementary fields in order to support a multidisciplinary approach to research.
- Sharing results with local governments and NGOs through an array of dissemination activities such as policy documents, and an evidence workshop.
USI co-chairs are Professors Esther Duflo (MIT), Sebastian Galiani (University of Maryland), and A. Mushfiq Mobarak (Yale University). USI is funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more details, please email the USI Initiative Manager, Jasmine Shah, at email@example.com.