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Enhancing the Relevance, Quality, and Impact of Knowledge Products through Transparency and Competition


To ensure that projects of highest quality and design receive financial support, KCP follows a transparent method for reviewing and funding proposals through a competitive process. Several rounds of rigorous screening and reviewing processes are in place, including a blind peer review process supported by internal or external experts who have substantial expertise and experience in the specific topic area.

Over the years, KCP has formulated a set of rigorous and competitive procedures, to ensure that high quality proposals receive KCP funding. Such a competitive process has been a signature design of KCP and a unique strength in ensuring high-quality products.

Each full proposal will first be reviewed and cleared by DEC task team leader’s line manager and director, and then be peer reviewed by internal or external experts who have substantial expertise and experience in the specific topic area. Reviewers rate each proposal’s design, with emphasis on research quality and potential policy impact. The ratings, comments, and recommendations from the external reviewers will be shared with the Internal Management Committee (IMC) for consideration. Based on the external reviews, the research’s operational relevance, and World Bank and DEC strategic priorities, the IMC will discuss and make funding decisions.

Project Selection Criteria

The selection criteria for funding allocation emphasize research and analytical rigor (the “Knowledge” part of KCP) as well as policy impact inside the World Bank and beyond (the “Change” part of KCP).

a. Quality. Successful research proposals need to be assessed as being of high quality, meaning that the proposed activity will use a rigorous analytical approach to yield valid results and reliable evidence that represent the creation of new knowledge for development.

b. Relevance and policy impact. Successful proposals need to demonstrate policy relevance and value added, relative to academic literature as well as other work being done in the World Bank, and alignment with KCP themes. This includes research on current policy priorities as well as forward-looking research on emerging policy issues that arise in a rapidly changing economic environment.

c. Management and communication. To ensure the success of the research project, the proposal should provide a project management plan and configuration of the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team. In addition, proposals should include plans for communication and internal and external knowledge dissemination activities.

d. Country participation. Where relevant, proposals should document plans for country participation, involvement of local researchers or institutions from developing countries, and steps to ensure that the program strengthens local capacity.