BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), Brac University, is a Bangladesh-based social science research and academic institute, dedicated to generating and sharing knowledge through education, research, and public and policy engagement in equitable partnerships with national and global actors.

Message From the Executive Director

The year 2022 happens to be a significant year in my professional life—fortunately, perfectly aligned with my ethos and philosophical orientation, something that is inextricable from my identity. This year, I completed my fourth year at BIGD, and as I start my next four years’ journey here, I desire to take BIGD, with my colleagues and our partners, to a new height of relevance and excellence, truly creating knowledge for a better world. This year, BRAC, which changed the course of my life, turned 50, and the Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) program turned 20, with which I started my career at BRAC.

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We conduct rigorous, multi-method social science research, grounded in developing country operations, on a range of social and economic issues to promote practical, time-sensitive innovations for tackling governance and development challenges. Our research spans innovations taking place in government, non-profit, and private sectors for improving lives.

We lead the research on the socioeconomic empowerment programs of BRAC—the global leader among NGOs focusing on poor and marginal people—including their ultra-poor graduation, integrated development, skills development, migration, microfinance, gender justice and diversity, community empowerment, climate change, humanitarian, and urban development programs.

We deeply value knowledge that is solution-driven and rooted in local context so that we can contribute to the Southern-led process of charting our unique pathways to shared prosperity and sustainable development, our vision of knowledge for a better world.



Impact evaluations using experimental methods, e.g., randomized control trials (RCTs), is one of our key strengths. We have a strong track record in experimental research in poverty reduction and skills development. We are expanding our experimental research in other topics, e.g., women’s empowerment, climate change adaptation, and digitization. We also do large-scale surveys, often with nationally representative samples, to help policymakers and practitioners better understand important issues.


BIGD has an unmatched track record of qualitative research in Bangladesh. The State of Governance, a flagship yearly publication of BIGD, primarily utilizes qualitative research techniques to provide thorough analyses of critical governance issues in Bangladesh. Realizing the potential of qualitative methods for a nuanced inquiry of complex development challenges, we established a small yet ambitious Qualitative Research Team in 2020.

Action and Participatory

BIGD collaborates with stakeholders to conceptualize models, then pilot and scale them through continuous research and adaptation. For example, we have been working with the government for years to develop and incorporate a citizen engagement model in government procurement through the Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project (DIMAPPP).

We also conduct participatory research to actively involve participants themselves in the research process, capturing their unfiltered perspectives and experiences. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we frequently employed peer researchers in slums to document lived experiences and community responses.

Mixed Method

We frequently follow a mixed method in our research because development challenges are complex and can only be understood and solved using multiple lenses. Our gender research team regularly combines large-scale surveys with advanced qualitative methods to understand, for example, how pervasive cultural and religious norms and values affect women’s empowerment in countries like Bangladesh.

Our Research Priority Areas


Focuses on poverty, skills and jobs, international migration, access to finance, and small and medium enterprises, with an aim to promote equitable, The overarching objective of our economic research is to contribute to equitable, shared, and sustainable economic prosperity, encompassing a wide range of themes including extreme poverty and livelihoods, skills and jobs, migration, human capital, behavioural and psycho-social development, and financial inclusion.

Gender and Social Transformation

We study the factors that disempower women and those that enable them to exercise their agency. We also investigate the diverse pathways for transforming power structures and attaining gender justice. Our areas of interest include women’s work, social and gender norms, violence against women, and their collective movements.

Governance and Politics

We study broader issues of politics and democratic governance to generate policyrelevant knowledge to improve governance performance within the existing political, legislative, and policy environment. Themes include citizenship and democracy, labour rights, local governance, social accountability through citizen engagement, and last-mile public service delivery.

Environment and Climate Change

We examine the impact of environment and climate change on livelihoods and how human and institutional responses to these changes affect different population segments, using a ground-up approach that considers the socioeconomic and environmental realities of the affected population. Themes include livelihood adaptation, climate migration and urbanization, and green transition.

Cross-cutting and Emerging Themes

BIGD is expanding research on critical emerging questions—how to use digital technology for inclusive development and how to ensure that all children get equal opportunity to high-quality education.


BIGD’s Master’s programmes are designed to provide a practical and globally relevant education. Our approach revolves around adult learning and student-centric teaching. We prioritize hands-on experience through extensive practicums and field exposure, fostering a deep understanding of real-world challenges. Our faculty members, comprising globally recognized experts and accomplished practitioners, bring diverse perspectives to the classroom, enriching the learning experience. Our global yet grounded approach to education prepares our graduates to navigate the challenges of the interconnected, complex world with the perspectives, skills, and knowledge required to advance their professional missions.
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Academic Programmes

Master of Development Studies (MDS), a pioneering development-focused programme in Bangladesh, with alumni spread across Asia and Africa.

Master of Arts in Governance and Development (MAGD), for building a new generation of impactful actors in the development-focused public policy space.

Masters in Procurement and Supply Management (MPSM), one of its kind in Bangladesh, building capacities to improve transparency and efficiency in public, development, and private sector procurement.

Specialized Training

Post Graduate Diploma in Knitwear Industry Management (PGD-KIM), specifically designed to impart the capabilities required to take on managerial and leadership roles in the ready-made garments (RMG) industry, particularly within the knitwear sector.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), an internationally recognized, 30-month certification programme for procurement and supply chain professionals.

Evidence to Action

For long-term and focused engagement with the government and for finding and nurturing suitable entry points, we established a dedicated Government Engagement Team (GET), consisting of experts with deep knowledge in this field.

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