A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Professional development workshops


The Virtual Institute organizes professional development workshops for its members on trade and development issues covered by Vi teaching materials, or on issues specifically requested by the universities. These workshops are organized on an inter-regional or regional basis, or nationally in the interested countries.

Vi workshops equip academics with subject-matter knowledge, and help them identify policy-relevant research questions and methodologies.

During Vi inter-regional and regional workshops, participants not only acquire knowledge of a particular topic, but also strengthen research skills and learn how to communicate research results to non-specialists. Round-table dialogues between researchers and policymakers, which are part of these workshops, help build trust between the two groups as well as establish contacts and potential working relationships. The aim is for researchers to become more policy relevant and for policymakers to source research inputs in their own countries.

The Vi believes that the measure of success of its professional development activities lies in the extent to which the graduates apply the new knowledge in their work. Therefore, the Vi provides funding and mentoring to the learners so that they can use their new skills in the development of research aimed at informing national policies. This approach has allowed researchers from 16 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to produce national case studies dealing with foreign direct investment, extractive industries, and trade and poverty, among others.

In addition to enhancing the capacity of participating academics, professional development activities have attracted new members for the network, kick-started new academic offers at participants’ institutions, produced research projects and publications, and contributed to building a relationship between academia and government.

The possibility to hold professional development workshops depends on the availability of funds from donors or member universities.

Materials from recent Vi workshops are available in the Resources section of the website.