SOAS University of London

SOAS researchers awarded £6 million by DFID to research anti-corruption measures in developing countries

23 August 2016

A team led by Professor Mushtaq Khan, Professor of Economics at SOAS University of London, has been awarded a £6 million contract by the Department for International Development (DFID) to lead research on tackling corruption in developing countries. DFID’s Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme (ACE) has been created to tackle corruption and lead to more effective, evidence-based anti-corruption initiatives by DFID and its partners.

Professor Khan said: “Corruption is a critical issue in many developing countries, and a major factor in many of the problems that DFID is committed to addressing. Our research offers an innovative approach, with a research framework that will generate operationally-relevant and context-specific research for DFID as well as other donors and developing countries. The ACE research is explicitly about anti-corruption and will help to identify what to do about corruption, not just describe it.”

“We have put together a high-calibre team of experts, bringing together organisations with strong track records in research and operational experience. Not only will we be delivering high-quality research but we will also engage with practitioners and policy makers to ensure its uptake.”

The SOAS-led consortium will include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), which has internationally recognized expertise in governance in the health sector and Palladium, who are engaged in the delivery of development projects and operational research in developing countries. The consortium also includes three major developing country partners, the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) in Bangladesh, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Nigeria and Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) in Tanzania. Other partners include the University of Oxford, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), the James P. Grant School of Public Health in Bangladesh, Ifakara in Tanzania and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER).

The consortium’s research will focus on Bangladesh, Nigeria and Tanzania. It will identify instances of corruption that have a high negative impact on economic development, and explore the different inter-dependent drivers responsible for them. This will provide policy makers with an assessment of the feasibility of targeting particular areas of corruption, taking into account the ways in which policy implementation is affected by the political context in which corruption is found.

Professor Richard Black, SOAS Pro-Director for Research and Enterprise said: “Projects like this continue to demonstrate SOAS’ position as a leading research institution with expertise spanning multiple disciplines. Our work continues to be instrumental in tackling some of today’s most complex global issues. I also wish to congratulate Professor Khan and his team on receiving one of the largest research contracts in SOAS’ history.”

Professor Khan will lead the project as Consortium Executive Director. He will be supported by Dr Pallavi Roy, Lecturer in International Economics at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy and Dr Antonio Andreoni, Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics, both at SOAS, who will act as joint Research Directors. Professor Richard Fardon, Professor of West African Anthropology and Head of the Doctoral School at SOAS, will serve as Deputy Head. The research team will include a number of SOAS academics including Dr Deborah Johnston, Reader in Development Economics and Pro-Director (Learning and Teaching); Dr Emilia Onyema, Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Law, Dr Carlos Oya, Reader in Development Studies; and Colin Poulton, Reader in Development Policy and Academic Director of the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy. Craig Mathieson at Palladium will coordinate Palladium activities in the programme. The LSHTM team includes Dr Dina Balabanova, Dr Susannah Mayhew and Professor Martin McKee.

This 5 year programme will begin in August 2016 and will complement the other component of the wider DFID-funded ACE Research Programme on “What works to reduce corruption” led by the British Academy, which has already approved 8 research grants.