BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University is a centre of policy research and academic excellence. It was established in June 2013 through the merger of the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) and the BRAC Development Institute (BDI). As a post graduate resource centre, BIGD is devoted to specialised research on a range of governance and development concerns, as well as the nexus between the two intertwined areas.
BIGD is a resource centre for promoting high quality research, academics, skills training and capacity building as well as for advocating policychange in the areas of governance, urbanisation, gender empowerment and economic growth.
BIGD’s goal is to contribute to improved governance through all areas of its work, leading to positive changes in the lives of people at large. In other words, BIGD would contribute to advancing social justice and greater prosperity for all by conducting high quality research on issues of governance and development, develop and pursue independent and neutral research agenda to best address local needs. By creating and disseminating knowledge based on its research and academic programmes, building human capacity and adding value, by engaging in public debate and informing public policy BIGD would serve its mission and achieve its vision.
Pursue rigorous, evidence-based research and knowledge to inform and influence public policies aimed attending the most inequitable forms of human deprivation beyond borders.
A just and prosperous society
BIGD’s research is aimed at supporting its academic and training programs. It does not limit knowledge creation to being an end in itself but rather to advance the pursuit of a just and prosperous society. Hence, it also plays an advocacy role to give voice to contemporary governance, political and economic issues. One of BIGD’s key strengths lies in the truly interdisciplinary character of its work. These are best reflected in its two annual flagship publications: The State of Governance and the State of Cities.
BIGD program division also provides technical and research support to various government and non government entities. The Institute has good track record of working with SDC funded Local Governance Program SHARIQUE, Public Procurement Reform Project with Bangladesh Government (Central Procurement Technical Unit), Community of Practice in Performance Management System with GoB and World Bank, Ant-Corruption Commission, Programs of Carter Centre, DFID, UNDP, UNICEF, Asian Development Bank, IDRC, ILO, RAND Corporation, LSE, Ministry of Finance, UNOPS and several foreign universities.
BIGD’s research mandate is spread over four broad clusters
Economic Growth (EG)
EG cluster is working broadly on growth, poverty, development and economic governance issues relevant to Bangladesh and the region. The cluster primarily aims to conduct academic as well as policy relevant research using rigorous empirical approach and explores economic policy studies
Governance and Politics (GP)
GP cluster primarily explores the links and relationships between politics, institutions and collective action and how these shape democratic and policy outcomes. The research conducted by the cluster has a strong empirical and policy focus, exploring how government reforms, policy and institutional changes
Urban, Climate Change and Environment (UCCE)
UCCE cluster focuses on urban economics and urban governance and development related issues. It tries to understand the economic and social potential of Bangladeshi cities as well as the challenges that the country face in managing its urban transition.
Gender Studies (GS)
GS cluster investigates the factors that economically, politically and socially empower women and the diverse pathways for transforming gender power structures and attaining social justice. It also established a specialised centre in 2012— The Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST).
Master Degree Programs
BIGD annually conducts research on the state of governance in Bangladesh, to provide a critical and analytical investigation of the governance situation of Bangladesh. This analytical work allows BIGD to compare, assess and document changes over time. This research specifically aims to study important policy decisions, public instutions and public issues from governance perspective. The results of this on-going research are articulated mainly in the form of annual reports named ‘The State of Governance in Bangladesh’ which is one of the flagship publications of the BIGD.
BIGD’s another flagship research program ‘the State of Cities’ aims to provide a diagnostic of the country’s urban governance. As the world is increasingly shifting population from rural to urban areas, urbanization and associated concerns have become an important issue in developing countries. In the context of current development literature, important factors such as reevaluation of the economic importance of the cities and reaffirmation of the importance of local institution building for development require significant consideration in light of such enormous shift. In this backdrop of rapid urbanization, urban governance has become an important approach to evaluating cities’ growth, development and performance. The first SoC report was published in 2012. Since then, BIGD has been continuing this flagship programme by way of preparing SoC publications every year focusing on country’s growing urban challenges.
BIGD hosts IGC in Bangladesh
The Institute also hosts the International Growth Centre (IGC) of London School of Economics and University of Oxford. This affiliation provides the opportunity for the institute to collaborate on research projects and open itself to a wider research community regionally and internationally.
The Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST)
BIGD houses a specialized centre—The Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST), established in 2012, that undertakes research and advocacy work on women’s empowerment and how positive changes in everyday lives and larger social transformation in gender roles take place. Many of the research projects and advocacy programmes of the Gender Studies cluster are undertaken by this Center.
Research Communication & Advocacy
Successful research communication and advocacy requires mobilization of evidence-based research outputs in the form of transformed effective messages for target audiences. In line with its communications strategy, BIGD disseminates research outputs and messages through diverse range of communication channels and tools such as target-specific advocacy events, stakeholder’s consultations, publications, op-eds and articles, social media posts, e-alerts, newsletters and website. It also organizes roundtables, seminars, public lectures, conferences, talks and different meetings to enable effective and updated exchange of views and draws expert recommendations from diverse range of stakeholders i.e. policymakers, politicians, government officials, civil society members, media professionals, academics, researchers, development partners and representatives from relevant interest groups.
BIGD’s staff are drawn from the social science disciplines with excellent credentials. As an institute of BRAC University, BIGD works closely with the university and has the unique advantage of being associated with BRAC, the world’s largest NGO through its work and carrying its ‘brand.’ It is inspired by BRAC’s values in shaping its own institutional work, professional standards and product.