SUMERNET’s “proposal development workshop” provides mentoring for researchers

The SUMERNET workshop was a collaborative exercise that aimed to help researchers in the Mekong region refine their ideas towards shaping and submitting a “full proposal” for research funding.

Held from 2-4 July 2014 in Bangkok, the workshop was attended by about 50 participants from 10 teams who were shortlisted from an earlier call for concept notes on 31 March 2014.

The main aims of the 2-day workshop were to:

  • get to know the SUMERNET and shortlisted research teams;
  • have a better understanding on the requirements of full proposal development with specific focus on aspects related to research design, policy impact, knowledge products, and communications;
  • help researchers obtain face-to-face initial feedback on their draft proposals from the SUMERNET Steering Committees (SC), Secretariat and research advisors for proposal improvement.

The “proposal development workshop” was part of the inception of research activities in phase 3 (2014-2017). The shortlisted proposals related to the three SUMERNET research themes in phase 3: climate-compatible development; sustainable regional economic integration; ecosystem services for local development.

The workshop’s resource persons mentored and assisted the teams to produce a final draft proposal including a workplan and budget for follow-up activities.

The various sessions of the workshop that were organised as both plenary and small working groups included:

  • Getting to know  research projects by “speed talk” in working groups (brief presentation by each of the project teams)
  • Research design, methods
  • How to strengthen policy engagement process?
  • Policy-science interface
  • Producing project products (such as journal articles, policy briefings, and chapters in books)
  • How to integrate gender aspects
  • Key tips for improving communications of research findings especially for policy

The workshop also included a reception and “book launch” of the SUMERNET book titled “Climate Risks, Regional Integration, and Sustainability in the Mekong Region” that was published in June 2014.