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Each year the Office of Research - Innocenti invites the global UNICEF network to share recently completed research for the Best of UNICEF Research competition. The aim is to bring attention to a vital part of UNICEF’s work that contributes to shifting policy agendas and/or has a high potential for impact on policies and programmes that benefit children. The results are disseminated in annual Innocenti catalogue publications. The Best of UNICEF Research is an excellent opportunity to scan the latest (non Innocenti) research initiatives in the organization and share emerging knowledge with the development community.

Best of UNICEF Research 2017


The Best of UNICEF Research (BOUR) initiative celebrates its fifth year. Once again, it showcases some of the best and most innovative pieces of research coming out of UNICEF. It reveals diversity in geography, themes and methodologies. The topics demonstrate the added value of UNICEF staff in the field identifying issues that are of relevance at national and local levels but which also have widespread application and the potential to shape the agendas of academic and policy communities. The studies demonstrate the particular capacity of UNICEF to facilitate research across multiple countries within a region, and even cross-regionally.

A number of studies in this volume focus on child protection issues – a welcome addition to research in a field for which evidence is often limited or fragmented, and where the work of UNICEF has potential to drive a research and evidence agenda with global impact. Other studies focus on children in conditions of extreme vulnerability and exploitation – where issues of appropriate methods and ethical safeguards become paramount. The situation of children with disabilities is another welcome addition to the themes covered by BOUR – highlighting its growing importance on the agenda of governments and of UNICEF.

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2017 Finalists List



Is fortifying rice the best way to counter nutritional deficiencies in Cambodia?


To what extent are countries offering alternatives to detention for children in conflict with the law?


What is the experience of unaccompanied children in France’s migrant camps?


How can we best assess the impact of the hotel industry on child rights?


Why do some Namibian schools perform better than others?


How effective are ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ practices in reducing stillbirths and newborn deaths?


How can people be motivated to prevent the spread of Ebola?


Why are children with birth defects and developmental delays not getting the help they need?


How much should a government spend on protecting children?


What barriers do Palestinian children with disabilities face and how can these be overcome?


How can school dropout in Serbia be reduced?


Why are some children missing out on South Africa’s Child Support Grant?


Best of UNICEF Research 2016


2016     29 Jul 2016
The Best of UNICEF competition identifies a number of studies that are assessed to be of particular merit on a number of criteria: in terms of the relevance and interest of the topic and findings; the rigour of their methodology; and the potential for impact, including lessons that could inform programmes elsewhere, or the capacity for replication or scaling up. Issues covered include health, education, WASH, child protection and social inclusion. There was also a strong emphasis on qualitative and mixed methods research, demonstrating the value of rigorous qualitative studies. A number of studies selected as of special merit in 2016 involved research directly with children and there is an increasing recognition that children’s perspectives are of primary importance. There was also a welcome attention to gender in some of the studies, including research with both adolescent boys and girls.

In 2013 the Office of Research-Innocenti initiated a competition to discover and highlight the outstanding research undertaken by UNICEF offices. This publication reports on a number of projects submitted to the 2015 Best of UNICEF Research competition which illustrate the range of research being undertaken by UNICEF staff in country and regional offices, at headquarters, and in collaboration with academic and government partners.

In order to showcase the best UNICEF research from around the world, the Office of Research-Innocenti undertakes an annual selection process carried out across the organization: in country and regional offices, at headquarters divisions and National Committees. Following a rigorous review and selection process, a very strong group of twelve studies were short-listed from the submissions.

This volume represents the first systematic attempt to showcase the breadth and depth of UNICEF's research work. At the end of 2012, the Office of Research invited UNICEF's country and regional offices, national committees and headquarters to submit recent examples of research for children.