The Research Programme is reformulated every two years by the Director in consultation with the UNU-WIDER Board following extensive discussions with UNU-WIDER research staff, leading economists in the UN and elsewhere, and donor government representatives. Research projects are led by scholars (Research Fellows and External Project Directors) who elaborate the proposals before the projects are launched. Each project typically invites selected authors to write original research papers which are later presented and discussed at project workshops and conferences. In some cases, a more general 'call for papers' may be announced on the website.
Typically, development conferences are organized, each of which bring together around 100 individuals to present papers and to discuss current problems on development issues. Participants are usually researchers and policy makers from the academic, government, and development communities. Special attempts are made to encourage researchers from developing countries and to achieve a gender balance at these events.
The research studies are published as WIDER working papers and made available in pdf format on this website. Ultimately, each project and conference is expected to produce one or more volumes or special issues of a journal. The outcome also often includes a policy brief and an article in the monthly e-newsletter of the Institute WIDERAngle.
The research programme is financed in part from the UNU endowment fund, with additional support provided by external sources, including governments and foundations. The current programme receives contributions from the governments of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
In its work programme since 2010, UNU-WIDER presents what is perhaps its most ambitious programme to date—in the proposed research projects (which will require us to bring together different disciplines to address the concrete development issues we have identified as priorities), in new twinning relationships with institutions in the South, and in new training activities. But for a programme that starts in the Institute's 25th anniversary year, and in a world faced with massive challenges and no easy solutions, it is fitting that UNU-WIDER, as an institute of the United Nations University, seeks to make a distinctive contribution: one that aims, with partners from the South and North, to find solutions to the most critical policy problems on the basis of rigorous and insightful social science research.