This course is an interdisciplinary hands-on experience that enables you to reflect on and develop solutions to actual policy issues faced by researchers and their real-world clients. This experience will enhance your understanding of processes and practices related to policy issues in Emerging Economies through the lens of the policy-maker. This project presents the unique opportunity for you to interact with researchers at UNU-MERIT and, subsequently their clients, in real on-going research projects. The objective includes understanding policy in practice, how it is designed, implemented, and how it needs to take into account the views and interests of various stake-holders. Students will be organized into research teams that will work on a research problem or question related to actual on-going research projects at UNU-MERIT. The relevant projects and initial starting points will be posted on the student portal. The actual project ideas and project plans are further developed and refined by students and is part of the project itself. Thus as a team you will (1) identify and formulate the specific problem and question related to a relevant research project at UNU-MERIT, (2) analyse the problems and questions based on both desk research and literature study as well as field work, and (3) answer the research questions. Finally the research question, analysis and solution will be presented in a final report to share with the relevant research project. The final report will include a range of deliverables, and they can take various forms (think about a policy brief, or dissemination on social media).
Researchers and other stake holders will submit research questions that students can further elaborate on, and they will be invited to provide feedback on process reports and attending the final presentation. It is important that the research undertaken in this project is of value to someone in the real world, - and part of the experience is also to realize that research does not happen in isolation, context is important, and a tailored practical interdisciplinary approach necessary to successfully complete the project. The aim of the project is to identify a policy issue, gather the relevant resources (from empirical analysis and/or from a critical review of the literature) and develop a policy strategy to address it. Additionally, as part of the report, various other deliverables need to be delivered. The type of deliverables (e.g. policy brief, dissemination activities) will mirror those agreed upon with the client of the related project, or will be decided together with the tutor based on the project proposal. Finally, there will be a presentation of the results, where researchers from all relevant UNU-MERIT projects as well as interested people from the wider network will be invited to attend and provide feedback. This course adds to skills both related to complex issues relevant to actual stakeholders and policy makers of the chosen topic area and emerging markets, and with the hands-on approach it will help develop essential skills of leadership team work, professional communication and efficiency.