The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is a Canadian Crown corporation established to help developing countries find solutions to their problems. IDRC’s mandate is “to initiate, encourage, support and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions.” To achieve this mandate IDRC encourages and supports researchers and innovators in those countries to find practical, long-term solutions to the social, economic, and environmental problems their societies face. Many of these initiatives create opportunities for researchers from Canada and the developing world to collaborate on research of common interest. In this work, the IDRC helps the developing world to build up the research capabilities, the innovative skills, and the institutions required to solve their problems. The goal of the IDRC is to find ways to reduce poverty, improve health, support innovation, and safeguard the environment.
Private sector development (PSD) policy and strategy
Reinvigorating economic growth and steering it in directions of greater equity and sustainability remain arguably the greatest short to medium-term development challenges. IDRC states that attention must be devoted to the institutional frameworks for investment, trade, and entrepreneurial activity at the national and international levels. Its work in this field will build on current support to research on competition policy and law. Growth will not rapidly reduce poverty, however, unless its benefits are widely shared. Regional IDRC consultations have directed attention to the demographic factors at work, notably issues of youth unemployment, ageing, and migration. Developing countries must also grapple with the transition to lower-carbon growth strategies. Complementing the Centre’s ongoing work on adaptation to climate change, research is needed to understand the development of carbon markets, the role of fiscal policy in shifting investment toward greater environmental sustainability, and other institutional innovations to promote the uptake of cleaner products and processes.
Transparency, effectiveness and results in PSD
Evaluation is integral to IDRC’s work. It forms an important part of the evidence base for understanding how research contributes to solving development problems. IDRC strives to be an accountable learning organization by conducting formal evaluation studies and integrating a culture of “evaluative thinking” into its activities. IDRC has developed a robust and decentralized evaluation system that meets the multifaceted needs of its mandate, structure, and programming model.