Young Scholars Matchmaking Workshop

Call for Ideas Deadline: January 31, 2022, 23:59 GMT

February 25, 2022 (online)
March 21 to 25, 2022 (in person at New York University Abu Dhabi*)

Workshop Information

To strengthen the links between young scholars in high- and low-income countries working in the rapidly growing field of entrepreneurship and private markets research, the Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) programme and The Development Laboratory for Research Methods in Economic Development (DevLab) at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) are organising a matchmaking and project development workshop.

This workshop aims to bring together pre-dissertation PhD students (from year two onwards) from institutions in high-income countries with PhD students and young scholars from institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Young scholars should be no more than three years out of their PhD.

Over the course of four weeks, we will combine online and in-person meetings with the aim of fostering new ideas and developing projects, grant proposals, and, importantly, collaborations across these groups for research on the frontier of private enterprise development in Africa and South Asia. The workshop will begin with a virtual keynote highlighting open questions and opportunities for possible contributions. Participants will then come together for a virtual Ideas Fair, where they will pitch research interests and ideas that are open to collaboration. Based on this initial virtual meeting, participants will be grouped according to their interests. Over the following weeks, groups will collaborate virtually to explore and develop project ideas before coming together for an in-person, intensive Capstone week in Abu Dhabi. Workshop facilitators will help the matched groups to identify, develop and present joint projects that may lead to fundable grant proposals. We expect that small seed grants will be available from PEDL to continue collaboration and develop proposals after the workshop.

*We very much hope that we can welcome participants in Abu Dhabi for a safe, productive, and fun collaborative project development workshop. The organisers are continuously monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and will update prospective participants about the prospects of gathering in person. Should the situation require it, the in-person component of the workshop may be moved to a later date and/or converted to a virtual event.

Organising Institutions

This workshop is co-organised by the PEDL initiative and the DevLab at NYUAD. PEDL is a joint research initiative of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). PEDL pursues a research agenda focusing on private-sector development in low-income countries (LICs). The Initiative is motivated by the need to better understand what determines the strength of market forces driving efficiency in these countries. More information about the Initiative can be found on the PEDL website. The DevLab is an interdisciplinary laboratory at NYUAD, serving as a focal point in the creation of knowledge and training opportunities for scholars pursuing research in development economics. More information about DevLab can be found on the DevLab website.

Application Instructions - Applications will open 23 December 2021 and close 31 January 2022.

Those interested in participating should download and complete the application form available here and prepare a brief letter of motivation and an up-to-date version of their CV. The application form will ask candidates to clearly state the research question(s), potential methods to answer the question, and the geographic focus of the project. The ideas that you present in the application form should be ones which you are open to collaborating on with other workshop participants.

In addition to these written application components, in order to facilitate tentative match-quality assessments, we ask all applicants to record a short video presentation (about 5 minutes). These videos will also be made available to other workshop participants upon finalising participant lists ahead of the initial virtual Ideas Fair. In the video, please explicitly address the following five questions:

1.    Introduce yourself: Your name, your institution, your current location and where you are from
2.    What brought you to conducting research in economics?
3.    What are your career goals in having pursued a PhD in economics?
4.    What are you most hoping to get out of this workshop?
5.    What research questions excite you the most right now and why?
PhD candidates should also arrange to have a letter of support from a member of their PhD faculty sent to [email protected].

To submit your application, please compile the following three documents into one PDF document: the completed application form, a letter of motivation and an up-to-date version of your CV. Please upload this PDF to the CEPR Portal here by January 31, 2022 23:59 GMT. In addition, please send either the video or a link to the video to [email protected] by the deadline.

Applicants who are CEPR affiliated or already have a CEPR profile can upload their submission by:
1) Going to and log in to the CEPR portal
2) Click on "Step 1: Apply" and complete the requested information and click "Register"

Applicants who do not have a CEPR profile can upload their submission by:
1) Creating a new profile here  
2) Go to and log in to the CEPR portal
3) Click on "Step 1: Apply" and complete the requested information and click "Register"

We aim to inform accepted applicants by mid-February 2022. Any queries about the event or application process can be sent to [email protected]. Letters of support should also be sent directly to [email protected].

Applicants that are selected to participate in the Young Scholars Workshop 2022 are also invited to attend the Devlab conference “Economic Policy and Research in the UAE and Beyond” (call for papers).