New Office, New Staff, New Vision

©UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1549/Guiara - Child’s View- Laughing children run out of their classroom at recess in a primary school in Bangui, the capital. The photograph was taken by Tatiana Guiara, 10, one of 15 children who participated in a UNICEF-organized photography workshop for children who currently live, or previously lived, on the streets.


UNICEF has decided to bring together the different parts of its research structure into one global Office of Research, based in Florence. The mandate of the new Office of Research is to make research work for all children. It will lead, support and guide UNICEF in generating, capturing, analysing and disseminating new knowledge in support of UNICEF's programmes and policies.

The Office of Research will show leadership in research activities, specifically:

* executing, stimulating and co-financing studies on children and broader topics relevant to the well-being of the world's most vulnerable children
* being a cradle for the development of new ideas in theories, applied research and policymaking
* contributing to building research capacity in the South
* supporting UNICEF's dedicated research hub, the Innocenti Research Centre.
UNICEF's Office of Research will collaborate with UNICEF country and regional programmes in their research and knowledge needs, as well as foster partnerships with universities and academic centres and host research training activities for colleagues and for the global research community.

Gordon Alexander has been appointed Director of the new Office of Research, which will include UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre (IRC). Gordon brings to the position more than 25 years of development experience in South and East Asia, the Middle East and across Europe.

"One the primary purposes of the Office of Research is to make research relevant to the thousands of UNICEF staff who work on 'the front line' serving the world's most vulnerable children" says Mr. Alexander. "Through them, and with a wide array of development, research and political partners, we will seek to ensure that knowledge works for all children." The structure of UNICEF's new Office of Research is now in place, . Research to inform the equity agenda takes a front seat along with policy research on IRC's traditional core areas of work on child well-being, child protection, implementation of child rights, and social and economic policy. It is an agenda that, in the next two years, will expand to a wider range of issues affecting children's lives, in what is a rapidly changing world. It is an agenda that the Office of Research will shape and accomplish with the support of multiple partners in research and development.

"Success will require concerted action across UNICEF and our many partners in development," says Mr Alexander. "With this in mind we would be very interested to learn what are the key issues that have been strenuous or stimulating in your country or region.
We are also eager to hear from those in research institutes and think tanks, universities and academies, agencies and NGOs - what do you think are the critical areas of research on children?" Do contact us at florence@unicef.org.

"Robust research takes time. Development workers and policymakers need a solid evidence base upon which to build. We therefore ask that you watch this space, and examine and participate in our progress for children."