Competitive Research Grants: Learning from Krishi Gobeshona Foundation, Bangladesh

The creation of Competitive Research Grants (CRGs) is globally recognized as an institutional innovation for improving the effectiveness of agricultural research. Unlike block grants for research, CRGs are expected to bring in many top-quality proposals from a wide range of actors, selecting the best out of them and thus getting more value for money. The Government of Bangladesh established the Krishi Gobeshona Foundation (KGF) in 2007 as an agency to administer and promote competitive research grants in agriculture. Beyond this, KGF was also tasked with building partnerships and strengthening research capacities. Over the last 15 years, KGF has funded 10 basic research proposals and 260 Competitive Grant Proposals (CGPs). It has also supported several short-term projects/studies. KGF, over the years, has also promoted pluralism in agricultural research and multi-institutional research functioning. Along the way, it also made several changes in its governance, and rules related to grant making as well as management processes. In this Good Practice Note, Dr Wais Kabir, reflects on the performance of KGF over the years, its success and challenges and he draws several lessons for all those who are trying to initiate and promote CRGs in agriculture.