Message from the Executive Director

Cambodianisation is now firmly taking root at CDRI. The new senior management team, with the unfailing support of the Board of Directors and the remarkable involvement of each individual staff member, has established a strong management mechanism to drive robust financial performance.

Many researchers trained abroad choose to come back and work at CDRI. Of the 30 fulltime researchers at CDRI, ten have a doctorate degree and seven are pursuing doctoral programs overseas. These numbers highlight the success of CDRI’s capacity building efforts. CDRI has become a space for Cambodian policy research scholars capable of undertaking in-depth and relevant research for the development of their own nation, reducing dramatically the dependence on temporary expatriate consultant services, thus assuring the sustainability of CDRI. The returnees bring back not only knowledge and expertise but their valuable regional and global networks of international scholars who can serve as collaborators or mentors for our researchers when needed.

Through iterative consultations with various stakeholders, CDRI has clearly defined its 2016–2021 Strategy for future research activities. Through a series of proactive action plans, CDRI was able to successfully mobilise substantial resources from traditional partners such as the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, while reaching out to new ones such as China’s Mekong-Lancang Cooperation.

At the national level CDRI continues to strengthen engagement with policymakers, influencers and development partners through policy consultations with key ministries and their partners. Policy research in governance, environment, economics, education, agriculture and health continues to be the priority. Building adequate human resources and capacity to respond to the needs of industrial development is a key guiding principle for CDRI research in education and professional technical training, keeping in mind the essential roles of science and technology education.

At the regional level, CDRI continues to engage with research institutions and thinktanks from the Mekong subregion, the ASEAN region and beyond, especially from China. CDRI has expanded its research cooperation with Chinese thinktanks within the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.

CDRI recognises the need to adjust its research strategy through expanding its international research cooperation to limit disruptions due to changes in the global geopolitical environment.

In order to succeed in these endeavours, CDRI is striving to enhance the quality of its scientific activities through internal and external mentoring for junior researchers. Updating the IT platform will enable CDRI to offer a better professional environment for its researchers. Most importantly, CDRI is committed to strengthening its responsiveness to the rapidly changing social, economic and political landscape in Cambodia and the region in order to open new directions for high quality, timely and relevant policy research that generates solid scientific evidence to inform new emerging policy.