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World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University or (UNU-WIDER) is a development economics research institute, founded 1984 in Helsinkimarker, it was the first research and training centre of the United Nations University (UNU).

UNU-WIDER's mandate is: to undertake multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on structural changes affecting the living conditions of the world's poorest people; to provide a forum for professional interaction and the advocacy of policies leading to robust, equitable and environmentally sustainable growth; and to promote capacity strengthening and training for scholars and government officials in the field of economic and social policy making.

Institutional framework:UNU-WIDER is the first research and training centre established in 1984 in Helsinki by the United Nations University. UNU is an international academic organization that promotes the UN's aims of peace and progress by providing a framework to bring together leading scholars from around the world to tackle pressing global problems.

The Council of the UNU determines the overall principles and policies guiding the whole university. The Board of UNU-WIDER, comprising well-known economists, policy-makers, and social scientists from different regions of the world, is entrusted by the UNU Council to advise on the research and other activities of UNU-WIDER. The Director of UNU-WIDER has overall responsibility for the research and management of the Institute, and implements the research programme within the policies and guidelines set out by the Board and the Council.

UNU functions as a decentralized 'network of networks' with a truly interdiciplinary and global perspective. The UNU system comprises the UNU Centre in Tokyo and a world-wide network of Research and Training Centres and Programmes (RTC-Ps) assisted by numerous associated and cooperating institutions.

Board of UNU-WIDERMembers: Ernest Aryeetey, Anne Case, Roberto Frenkel, Martti Hetemäki, Ravi Kanbur, Vladimir Popov, Elisabeth Sadoulet, and Ex officio: Konrad Osterwalder.

OrganizationResearch is coordinated by Helsinki-based staff consisting of eight resident researchers and 14 support staff. An external network of about five external project directors, each located at their university or institute, contribute to our current projects, along with over 300 network participants around the world. This group includes research staff from the UNU, UN and Bretton Woods institutions including the World Bank, IMF, ECLAC, UNDP, FAO, ILO, UNCTAD and UNICEF.

Visiting scholars typically spend two to three months in Helsinki working on topics related to the current research programme. We also cooperate with a worldwide network of associated institutions whose interests overlap with those of UNU-WIDER.

The internship programme allows PhD students in economics or related social sciences to spend two to three months at WIDER. About eight scholars participate in the scheme each year, most of them coming from developing countries.

Several Nobel laureates have been associated with UNU-WIDER activities, most especiallyAmartya Sen, one of our founding fathers. Numerous contributions have come from other eminent scholars and policymakers throughout the developed and developing world.


Professor Finn Tarp is the Director of UN University-WIDER, Helsinki, Finland. Finn Tarp also holds the Chair of Professor of Development Economics at the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, where he completed his MSc and PhD in Economics. Professor Tarp has some 30 years of experience in academic and applied development economics research and teaching. His field experience covers numerous countries across Africa and the developing world more generally, including longer term assignments in Swaziland (two years), Mozambique (eight years) and Vietnam (three years). He is a leading international expert on issues of development strategy and foreign aid, with an interest in poverty, income distribution and growth, micro- and macroeconomic policy and modeling, agricultural sector policy and planning, household and enterprise development, and economic adjustment and reform. In addition to his university positions, Finn Tarp has held senior posts and advisory positions within government and with donor organizations, and he is member of a large number of international committees and advisory bodies. They include the European Union Development Network (EUDN) and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

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