Research Technical Assistance Center
The impact of international development research is often undermined by the inability of researchers to get persuasive information to the right people at the most opportune time.
In recent years, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded its partnership with university-based researchers across the globe to generate rigorous, evidence-based findings. But the benefits of these findings often go unrealized because they are not always fully translated into actionable policy solutions. To address this, USAID envisioned a mechanism that would generate demand-driven research in response to USAID needs and translate that research into action directed at improving the lives and livelihoods of citizens and communities all over the world.
NORC created and maintains a diverse global network of university-affiliated researchers that provides timely evidence to inform policy and program design and adaptation.
NORC developed the Regional Technical Assistance Center (RTAC), which maintains a network of over 1,000 research scholars based in 76 countries and affiliated with 514 universities. The RTAC network is diverse and inclusive: 35% of all members identify as women; 23% of U.S. members are affiliated with a U.S. minority-serving institutions; and 55% of members are based in lower- and middle-income countries.
We leverage the scientific expertise of academic researchers to conduct short-term research on pressing development topics and provide a range of on-demand research-related technical assistance. Our main activity areas include:
- Conducting a diverse range of research projects , including large and complex field-based studies
- Organizing high-level convenings –expert panels, workshops, and strategic planning sessions – on a wide range of topics for international policy, academic, and practitioner audiences
- Working with USAID-funded research teams to amplify research findings through effective communications and strategies to translate research findings into actions
- Managing a project website and communications strategy to disseminate and amplify research findings
- Providing capacity building for and information to its global Research Network
- Developing tailored training courses for USAID personnel
RTAC’s Research Network and development partners are enhancing USAID’s global impact.
RTAC has partnered with over 25 universities and specialized development partners in the U.S. and abroad to implement more than 30 demand-driven research studies and technical assistance activities. Our research studies have varied widely, from globally focused topics such as “Resilience, Food, and Water Security Amidst Conflict and Violence” and “Long-Term Forecasting of COVID-Related Impacts on Food Security,” to country-specific research such as refugee integration in Kenya.
We have helped global research teams implement Research-to-Action (R2A) plans to promote and facilitate evidence use. Our R2A plans cover topics such as land management in the DRC and maternal health issues in Indonesia.
We have developed over 12 high-quality, targeted communications products in multiple languages. Topics include preserving forest health in Colombia, measuring power grid reliability in Ghana, and improving education for employability in Morocco.
Our panels and convenings have attracted the interest of approximately 1,000 participants from around the globe. These include convenings on:
- Digital Tools and the Future of International Development
- Using Research to Advance International Development: Women’s Empowerment as a Case Study
- Challenges and Best Practices for Research Translation in Southeast Asia
- Inclusive Digital Development Workshop
- How to Use USAID’s Research Translation Toolkit
Learn More About RTAC
For more information about the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC):
Departments, Centers & Programs
Sutherland Miller IIIPrincipal Research ScientistProject Director
Gabriela Alcaraz VelascoSenior Research DirectorResearch Director
Alexandre MonnardSenior Research ScientistTechnical Advisor