The Mekong Economic Research Network (MERN) covering three countries of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia is managed by the Centre for Analysis and Forecasting (CAF) of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) with financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. MERN has the following objectives:
To build research capacity for doing high quality research and to make research more policy relevant through an expanded network of researchers in the three participating countries of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia, and making a discernible contribution to the process of evidence-based policy making through improving research communication skills and greater interaction between researchers and policy makers at different levels on a specified set of critical policy issues for the three countries.
(i) To further improve analytical skills for participating researchers through applied research and on-the-job training towards the growth of a new generation of strong technical economists in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia;
(ii) To produce high quality research at a level closer to international standards, and to add to the understanding of issues of labour market, social protection, informality, and competition as important themes with a high degree of local and regional relevance;
(iii) To promote greater cooperation and interaction between researchers and policy makers, with a special focus on strengthening the presentation and communication skills;
(iv) To contribute to the improvements of the linkages between research and training at the university level
(v) To enhance evidence-based policy making in the three countries through wider dissemination of research findings and production of policy research on critical policy issues of local and regional concerns.
To achieve the overall and specific objectives, a number of activities in the areas of research, training, dissemination and policy dialogue will be carried out.
Research constitutes the core part of the network activities. To achieve the network’s main objective of capacity building in doing research that have both analytical rigor and policy relevance, it is important to properly identify research themes and priorities, and research modalities. The former will help to make research and training activities more focused, which is critical for making technical support to participating research teams more effective, and policy dialogue better targeted.
• Duration of the project: three years (2011-2014)
• Countries involved: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia