IPA and J-PAL announce US$16 million grant from UK government to fund new research on solutions to challenges in governance, crime and conflict, and peace and recovery

Houses made from tarps and wooden poles on the outskirts of a city

New Haven, CT / Cambridge, MA – Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), two research centers working to support evidence-informed policymaking, were jointly awarded a grant of GBP£12 million (US$16 million) from the UK Department for International Development to generate new research on effective policies to promote peace and good governance, reduce crime, and support individuals and communities recovering from conflict.

The grant, approved in December 2016 and signed in August 2017, contributes to three research programs:

  • IPA’s new Peace and Recovery Initiative, which supports research on prevention, mitigation, responses to, and recovery strategies for social and political violence and humanitarian emergencies.
  • J-PAL’s new Crime and Violence Initiative, which funds randomized evaluations relating to crime and social and political violence; and
  • J-PAL’s Governance Initiative, which funds randomized evaluations to identify effective approaches to increasing citizen participation and political accountability, reducing corruption, and improving the capacity of governments to deliver social services.

The first projects to be funded under the grant were announced this week. These include studies evaluating the impacts of safety practices in garment factories in Bangladesh, police patrols near schools in Brazil, organized crime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, earthquake resettlement in Nepal, training on women’s rights in Pakistan, gender-based violence prevention in Peru, and incentives for teachers in Uganda, among other topics.

Chris Blattman, professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, chair of IPA’s Peace and Recovery Initiative, and co-chair of J-PAL’s Crime and Violence Initiative, said,

“This grant sends an important message that investing in rigorous research is critical to finding solutions to challenges of governance, crime, and conflict. Without such research, policymakers are only guessing what works. Now, we can generate high-quality evidence—and in doing so, help governments and civil society improve the effectiveness of their programs.” 

IPA Executive Director Annie Duflo greeted the announcement as timely.

“This DFID grant represents a significant investment in researchers seeking to make practical contributions to peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery. In a world where violence is widespread, solutions are urgently needed. This grant enables us to support innovative approaches that will lead to real change for countries and communities coping with and recovering from conflict,” said Ms. Duflo.

In addition to research, both IPA and J-PAL conduct extensive policy outreach to put research results into the hands of policymakers, NGOs, and citizens; and work with these partners to apply evidence from research to social policies and programs.

All projects funded under J-PAL’s Governance Initiative, also supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, can be found here. Projects funded under J-PAL’s Crime and Violence Initiative can be found here. IPA’s Peace and Recovery Initiative will announce funded projects in late 2017.

For more information about J-PAL, visit www.povertyactionlab.org. For more information about IPA, visit www.poverty-action.org.


Media contacts: Eliza Keller, J-PAL: 617-324-5991, [email protected]; Jeffrey Mosenkis, IPA, 203‐672‐9552, [email protected].