Skip to content

Funding local research to help end extreme poverty


The DEEP Bangladesh Challenge Fund is launching on 21 July. It will award small and medium grants to local researchers who are working on national poverty reduction in Bangladesh.

In recent years, Bangladesh has had one of the highest sustained economic growth rates in the South Asia region – if it continues along this growth trajectory, a promising economic outlook is envisioned for the future. The country’s remarkable economic performance has played a significant role in reducing poverty. According to a 2023 World Bank report, poor households today enjoy similar levels of physical capital as non-poor households did in 2010, particularly in terms of access to electricity and water, sanitation levels, and improved housing.

While Bangladesh’s declining poverty rates are encouraging, the World Bank report highlights that several challenges remain, including that the country faces widening urban inequality and that urban consumption growth is growing faster for better-off households than for poorer households, with a high urbanisation rate compounding this inequality gap.

Research has a crucial role to play in informing poverty reduction policies and programmes. Research can build a more comprehensive understanding of how poverty is affecting people’s lives and the factors that influence different trajectories. Using new tools and methods, data analysis has the potential to capture the nuanced and evolving aspects of poverty over time – including the impact of inequality and vulnerability to shocks – enabling policy makers to develop responsive poverty reduction strategies.

The Challenge Fund aims to encourage national researchers and analysts to develop and deliver research that will help to generate insights and evidence to improve national strategy, policy and programmes affecting poverty and vulnerability to poverty in Bangladesh.

To ensure that the commissioned research meets identified evidence gaps and supports ongoing initiatives to reduce extreme poverty, the research focus, aims and scope of the Challenge Fund will be shaped and defined by Bangladeshi policy makers, research communities and other key stakeholders.

A Steering Committee will provide ongoing support during grant awards and implementation and will support dissemination and policy impact opportunities using the research outputs.

The application process will begin on 21 July 2024, following an official launch workshop in Bangladesh. Grant allocation will be based on a competitive bidding process.

Launch workshop

An in-person DEEP Challenge Fund launch workshop will be held in Bangladesh on 21 July 2024 at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), Dhaka to outline the priority research themes, scope and guidelines – registration details will be added to this page soon. Presentations will be delivered by Steering Committee and DEEP representatives, OPM Bangladesh staff and relevant stakeholders. The technical and management aspects of the fund will be discussed, and there will be opportunities for potential applicants to ask questions. Presentations and workshop recordings will be available for researchers who cannot attend.

Register for the launch event.

If you cannot join us in person, register here to join us via Zoom.

Man carrying fruit in a boat on the river


Applications will open post 21 July, shortly after the launch workshop has taken place.