Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) an autonomous research organisation which conducts policy-oriented research on development. The institute undertakes and promotes research and disseminates knowledge in the field of development economics, demography, and other social sciences concerning national policy planning for development and mass social welfare. It collects information, generates data, conducts investigations and undertakes research projects for formulation and planning of policies and of implementation of plans and programmes. It provides facilities and training in economics, development related issues, demography and other social sciences.

BIDS started its operations in June 1957 in Karachi as the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). It was shifted to dhaka in December 1971 and was renamed as the Bangladesh Institute of Development Economics. In February 1974, it was renamed once more as the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies to highlight its multidisciplinary approach to development research. It was incorporated as an autonomous body governed by a Board of Trustees under the chairmanship of the Minister of Planning. Two other establishments, the Population Study Centre and the National Foundation for Research on Human Resources Development, both of which had research objectives similar to those of BIDS, were merged with the institute in 1982 and 1983 respectively.

Initially, the Institute was financed by regular budgetary support. In 1983, the government created an endowment fund to ensure a source of recurring revenue for running the Institute and consequently, it started to enjoy broader functional autonomy. The institute receives some external funds from some donor agencies and foundations.

BIDS has a director general as its chief executive. He is assisted by a secretary, who also officiates as secretary to the Board of Trustees. The administration system of the institute includes three statutory committees for decentralising administration and sharing responsibilities within BIDS. In addition, there is an advisory committee of senior fellows, which provides guidance in designing and implementing the institute's professional programmes. The senior fellows are selected from amongst eminent professionals, are nominated by the Policy Coordination Committee, and are appointed by the Board of Trustees for a term of three years.

There are five research divisions in BIDS, each headed by a chief selected from the division and appointed by the Policy Coordination Committee for a period of one year. The five divisions are Agriculture and Rural Development, General Economics, Human Resources Development, Industries and Physical Infrastructure, and Population Studies. However, as the academic interests and the expertise of the researchers are cross-sectoral, membership of a division does not prevent a researcher from participating in research activities and endeavors under other divisions. Out of 76 research positions sanctioned by the Board of Trustees, only 53 are currently filled in. The researchers are assisted by more than one hundred non-research staff in the various sections such as Administration, Accounts, Library, Publication, and Computer units. A Special Research and Development Fund (SRDF) was created out of the net savings derived from BIDS research projects. The objective of the fund is to provide support for research activities initiated by individual members of BIDS. Subject to fund availability, SRDF also provides support to the library and infrastructural needs of the institute. The BIDS library specialises in social sciences. It has a collection of 120,000 books, documents, journals and microfiche. It provides a wide range of services to the user community, including general awareness, reproduction, inter-library lending and reading facilities. It operates exchange programme with 400 national and international organisations and receives a large number of documents and journals from them in exchange for its own publications.

BIDS publishes a quarterly journal, The Bangladesh Development Studies, containing research articles, notes, and book reviews by BIDS researchers as well as scholars of home and abroad. It also publishes an annual vernacular journal, the Bangladesh Unnayan Samikkhya. BIDS research monographs are published in book form and they focus on particular areas of study undertaken by the institute. Research reports and mimeographed papers are part of larger studies and in many cases, they lead to new research projects. [Sharmin Naaz]