Postgraduates of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik start research weeks in Togo and Vietnam

Press release, 15 February 2016

As part of the training of young professionals in international development cooperation, the participants of the Postgraduate Training Programme of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn have now left for their research projects in Vietnam and Togo. The 18 participants will stay in these countries until the end of April and conduct research into development and economic issues. The young academics are part of the 51st class of the DIE’s postgraduate programme and have been preparing their stay abroad since September last year. Their fieldwork represents the core part of their nine month training at the German Development Institute.

„These research-oriented country projects, which develop specific policy recommendations, are the unique selling point of the training”, said Regine Mehl, Head of Postgraduate Programme. The young academics conduct their fieldwork with the guidance of experts from the DIE’s staff. However, this practical exercise does not only benefit the participants’ education: The aim is to showcase and study new and innovative aspects of development cooperation. “Innovation also means that we are cooperating on an equal footing with our local partners. This is how we come up with new and creative policy recommendations”, added Mehl on the programme’s approach. Together with one of DIE’s expert for digital media, Anita Breuer, the participants of the Togo country working group will analyze the implementation of a project on digital participation and good governance by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Programme member Manuel Schaedler said they were aiming to learn more about local structures with the help of their “participative interview method”.

Two separate groups in Vietnam will be focusing on different aspects: While the group led by DIE climate expert Sander Chan will be concentrating on climate change and the policy of the United Nations, a second team, led by trade experts Dominique Bruhn and Axel Berger will be looking into the consequences of trade liberalization in the emerging country. “At the moment the rise of free trade agreements – like the Trans-Pacific Partnership – and the fragmentation of the global supply chain are hotly debated subjects”, said country working groups member Felix Kullmann. In the coming weeks, he and his colleagues will be researching the local textile and electronics industry which is a key part of Vietnam’s export business.

The goal of the interdisciplinary programme is to prepare the participants for a career in the field of international development cooperation through empirical and service-oriented projects. The group works closely together with international and local partner organizations during their practical research in the host countries. The research results of the country groups will be published as studies at the German Development Institute and are freely available.

The postgraduation programme has been hosted by the DIE since 1964. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Each year the programme’s course starts on the 1st of September in Bonn. There, the participants train their expert and intercultural skills and prepare their stay abroad in detail. The application  for the 52nd postgraduate programme is currently open. Deadline is 31st of March. The course is aimed at postgraduates with EU passports as well as Swiss and Norwegian citizens. Since the programme is focused in German bilateral Development Cooperation, fluency in German (CEFR level C2) is obligatory for all applicants.