A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development



We gratefully acknowledge support from the following donors:

Carlo Schmid Programme, Germany
The Carlo Schmid Programme has been funding interns to work with the central Vi team in Geneva. 

Canadian International Development Agency(CIDA)
CIDA supported the launching of the Virtual Institute in June 2004, as well as the development of its website, building of the network, the first meeting of Vi university members in July 2005 and contributed to the translation of a teaching material on the economics of commodities production and trade into French.

Government of Finland
The government of Finland has been providing support to Vi capacity building activities in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and low-income Africa since 2006. It funded or co-funded inter-regional and regional professional development workshops for LDC and African academics (on commodities in 2006, trade and poverty in 2007, foreign direct investment in 2008, and trade and trade policy analysis in 2011), as well as 11 national workshops for African LDCs. Finland financially supported the development, translation and updates of several Vi teaching materials, as well as their local adaptations to the contexts of Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. It is also the sponsor of the Vi fellowship programme for academics from Vi member universities in LDCs and low-income African countries, and of North-South and South-South teaching cooperation projects for LDC Vi members. Finland funded the production of a study on academic capacity building in African LDCs and its contribution to the development of human resources and policy support, and is co-funding a Vi teaching and research project on trade and poverty. 

Government of Japan
The government of Japan provided funding for the development of teaching materials and the organization of professional development workshops for academics from Asian and African LDCs on economic and legal aspects of International Investment Agreements in 2005 and on the economics of commodity production and trade in 2006, respectively. It also funded a joint research project on climate change between Vi university members in India and Russia completed in 2011. 

Government of Norway
The government of Norway provided core funding for a regional professional development workshop for academics from LDCs in English-speaking Africa on trade and poverty in 2007. It also funded the development of two modules for the Vi teaching material on commodities (on oil/gas and economic development, and on mining and economic development), a regional professional development workshop on this topic, as well as follow-up mentored research projects for African LDC academics. 

Government of Spain
The government of Spain funded a 2.5-year project (2008-2010) consisting of the involvement of a Spanish university as a member of the Virtual Institute, an increase in Vi membership in Latin America, as well as four joint research projects for Latin America (on regional integration and cooperation; corporate social responsibility; MERCOSUR; and natural resources-based exports in Latin America); local adaptation of Vi teaching materials, Vi fellowships and national professional development workshops for Latin American academics. It also provided core funding for a regional professional development workshop on foreign direct investment for African LDCs academics in 2008, and co-funded 3 national workshops for African LDCs. At a global level, Spain funded the development of a teaching material on legal instruments of international economic relations and regional integration in 2010, delivery of an online course on this topic in 2011 and a creation of a virtual network of course alumni (International Economic Relations Network).

United Nations Development Account
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, through the UN Development Account, supported 2 Vi projects. The first project (2006-2009) aimed to strengthen teaching capacities on trade and development at developing and transition country universities, as well as cooperation among these universities. It consisted of the development of teaching materials on topical "trade and development" issues and their local adaptation to the contexts of Vi member countries, advisory services on curricular development, building of a global network of universities through network meetings and projects of South-South and North-South cooperation (joint research, development of teaching materials, professional development), and enhancement of the Vi website. The second project (2012-2013) aims at strengthening Vi member capacities for policy-oriented research, as well as the cooperation between academics and policymakers. It consists of the development and delivery of an online course on trade and poverty; drafting, by best graduates of the course, in cooperation with policymakers and with coaching from UNCTAD experts, of research papers on priority trade and poverty policy issues for their countries; and an international seminar to present the findings and launch a book containing the best papers.