Kick-off meeting Joint SDG research programme

23 April 2019

In December 2018, NWO-WOTRO Schience for Global Development awarded eight project proposals in the second call for proposals of the Joint SDG research programme. This research programme aims to develop new, evidence-based knowledge that bridges the fundamental understanding and its use to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The knowledge should be of benefit to the most vulnerable people in Lower- and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). On Thursday 4 April 2019, representatives of the consortium member organisations of all funded projects attended a kick-off meeting.

Use-inspired research to tackle global challenges

Martijn Wienia from NWO-WOTRO welcomed the participants with a few opening remarks. He stressed that this is a unique research programme where NWO-WOTRO has joined forces with several Dutch research organisations to make funding available for use-inspired research tackling global challenges and contribute to meeting the SDGs in an innovative way and with a global focus.

After the opening, Nadine Herold presented the objectives of the Joint SDG research programme and its second call on ‘Tackling Global Challenges trough Use-inspired Research’. The relevance for development of the expected outcomes was mentioned: new knowledge and tangible outputs of the project should contribute in achieving the development goals and addressing social, economic and environmental challenges, while at the same time reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for people living in the targeted countries. The tangible outputs can be tools, services, marketable products or evidence-based policy advices that are accessible, affordable and applicable for practitioners in LMICs. The awarded four-year-projects, commencing between April 2019 and June 2019, should follow a use-inspired research approach bridging the gap between basic and applied research.


After welcoming words and the introduction presentation, each project team gave a short presentation on its project including problem statement, research focus, innovativeness of the project, tangible output to be achieved, co-creation and take home message. An overview of the SDG projects with consortium partners of both calls can be found in the programme book. The projects of the second round are focused on nine SDGs, targeting eight different countries. All research projects take into account win-wins and trade-offs between the SDGs and targets and most of the project include knowledge on and tangible solutions for upscaling their research outputs.

The participants were inspired by each other projects and explored the possibilities of collaboration. After the presentations, participants exchanged thoughts about synergies and cross-cutting and learning issues. Are there opportunities for collaboration and exchange? How can project results shared further with broader communities at programme level? How can WOTRO facilitate knowledge sharing and research uptake at the programme level?

Highlights of the discussion

  • It has been very helpful to get to know each other and to hear about the topics that other consortia are working on. The projects target very different SDGs, but nevertheless, projects team seemed to be very interested to further explore areas to work together and exchange knowledge on concepts, methods, approaches or contacts;
  • Knowledge sharing and research uptake form an integral part of the programme. During a workshop on strengthening knowledge sharing and research uptake - organised by NWO-WOTRO in June - project teams will gain more knowledge on the Theory of Change, Impact Pathway and research uptake approach. In a specific session tools for knowledge sharing and communication will be shared in order to enhance impact of knowledge and envisaged tangible output.
  • It is important to share experiences on lessons learned between the projects, for example at the mid-term evaluation meeting. Projects are logistically quite difficult, a lot of different stakeholders are involved in each research project. Participants stressed that they value sharing each other’s lessons learned: what worked and what didn’t, to not to fall in the same traps;
  • It is a challenge to bring research with a global scope and connections to the global SDG agenda into a specific centre of attention i.a. within the Dutch ministries. It is important not to only synthesise research results, but also to demonstrate the relevance of such research projects and programmes to the Netherlands: why the Netherlands can learn and gain, and how Dutch institutions and the Dutch society as a whole can benefit;
  • Story mapping and sharing via different media channels can be supportive in displaying the relevance of research.

Source: NWO