A Fund to Bridge the Scholar-Practitioner Divide

> Posted by Sonja E. Kelly
Perhaps it is my own perspective as a PhD candidate, but for me it is obvious that too often scholars and practitioners seem to talk past one another. Practitioners see scholars as too driven by their own research agenda. Scholars see practitioners as too wrapped up in their own operational questions, unable to see the big picture. While neither of these caricatures is accurate (and many people have played both roles at one time or another), the divide remains.
Recognizing this divide, I wanted to spotlight Innovations for Poverty Action and their new competitive fund. With support from the Citi Foundation, Innovations for Poverty Action’s Global Financial Inclusion Initiative has recently launched a competitive fund supporting rigorous research on financial capability. The fund is a response to a call for innovation and evidence to identify strategies that can be put in place by financial service providers to improve clients’ ability to manage their money.
This new Financial Capability Research Fund is a $3.4 million program that encourages scholars and practitioners to work together to incubate, develop, and rigorously study products and product-linked interventions to improve financial capability. The first Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) is now open for applications from around the world; check out their webpage for more information on the application and the fund’s research priorities.
Those interested in applying, but lacking a partner researcher or a practitioner, can apply for IPA’s matchmaking program, which encourages new collaborative opportunities. There is still time to submit ideas: the deadline is Friday July 6.
The matchmaking program will convene selected researchers and practitioners to participate in the Impact and Policy Conference on Evidence in Governance, Financial Inclusion & Entrepreneurship, scheduled for August 30 through September 1, 2012. For more information, and to fill out the one-page application, head over here.
What IPA is doing here is critical. It focuses research efforts in testing fresh and relevant questions contributing to the growing efforts to enhance financial capability of low and moderate income households. I look forward to seeing the creative projects that come out of this fund!
Image credit: libertycapitalfunds.com
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