In January, 2013 CRRC-Azerbaijan launched the second round of the Junior Research Fellowship Program (JRFP). CRRC announced a call for fellows and conducted comprehensive outreach to potential program participants through a wide network of local contacts with Azerbaijani universities. As a result, the program managed to generate a high interest and attracted 155 applications from the prospective participants. 118 were chosen by the Fellowship Selection Committee Members and were provided a chance to join the program.
The JRFP program run in three stages: an online training program, followed by the face-to-face training sessions and finalized by the public policy paper competition. By the end of the each round, CRRC organizes a competition and only the best ones move on to the next stage. During the first stage that finalized in May, all participants were taking classes in public policy analysis and academic writing on the online Moodle platform. Weekly policy analysis sessions and regular quizzes covered the fundamentals of policy analysis, including diagnosing policy problems, collecting data, building evidence, and choosing between alternative policy options based on explicit evaluative criteria. In June 2013, CRRC Azerbaijan held an award ceremony for winners of the first stage of JFRP, and fifteen policy essays were reviewed and assessed by the selection committee. The best policy essay winners were Leyla Jafarova “Inequality in the Development between Baku and Districts of Azerbaijan”, Zeynab Dadashova ” Internet Usage in Rural Areas of Azerbaijan”, and Ayan Huseynova “The pollution of the Azerbaijani part of the Caspian Sea caused by the oil industry”. All finalists were admitted into the second stage of the Junior Research Fellowship Program consisting of an orientation and face-to-face training starting in September. For the second stage of the program the following face-to-face courses were offered to the participants:
- “Academic Writing”,Vitaly Ratsky
- “Introduction to Public Policy”, Mushfig Aliyev
- “Game Theory and Stakeholder Analysis”, Sadig Aliyev
- “Qualitative Research Methods”, Sascha Roth
- “Quantitative Research Methods”, Dr. Anar Veliyev
During the final stage of the program, students were working on their policy essays that should have demonstrated their ability to write a coherent, imaginative, and tightly written policy paper that meets all of the explicit and implicit rules that were presented through the course.
In February 2014 CRRC organized a conference to finalize the Junior Research Fellowship Program, and the participants presented their research papers for a prestigious audience of government, civil society, and community leaders. Ten fellows completed all assignments including quizzes and home assignments and submitted papers for the Best Policy Paper Competition. The Fellowship Selection Committee selected three of the best papers and awarded two additional papers with incentive prizes.
Gunay Balashova received BA in finance and credit in 2006-2010 from Azerbaijan State Economic University majoring , and MA in the same major from Qafqaz University in 2011-2013. Currently, she is working for Azerbaijan Scientific-Research & Design-Prospecting Power Engineering Institute at Estimation Department. Her academic interests include reaching sustainable economic and social development of the regions, developing high quality education, organizing efficient allocation of the resources. Gunay is the first place winner for her policy analysis on the topic “How to increase the productivity of the agrarian sector in Azerbaijan”.
Zeynab Dadashova is currently BA student of Special Talents Faculty at Azerbaijan State Economic University with major in International Economic Relations. Besides JRF program Zeynab has completed “Azerbaijan Foresight” Futures Studies Course 2011-2012 with Diploma in recognition for excellent completion performance. She was awarded first places in different essay competitions including first place in Essay Contest on Domestic and/or Gender-based Violence organized by Association of Former United Nations Interns (AFUNI) Azerbaijan and Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) Azerbaijan, the 5th National Essay Contest “Face to Face with Future Generation” initiated by the Azerbaijan Future Studies Society and Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan Republic.Her research entitled “The Internet usage in rural areas of Azerbaijan” addressed the gap in the Internet usage between rural and urban areas and included several policies that could improve the existing situation. Alternatives touched various aspects including raising public awareness, creating incentives for local and foreign companies to invest in these areas, affecting the demand for e-services and so on.
Leman Memmedli is a bachelor student majoring in International Relations of Economics and Administration at Qafqaz University. Due to her University Entrance Exam, she received Presidential Scholarship. She worked as an intern in International Organization for Migration for 3 months. Leman marked positively her participation as a JRFP Fellow. Her research on “How to improve the well-being and living conditions of orphans after age 18” suggests four main alternatives for maximizing benefits of underprivileged groups. She made a special stress on creating planning centers and educational programs in order to tackle the challenges that orphans face.
Ramil Kazimov graduated with a degree in International Relations from the Baku Slavic University in Azerbaijan. Since the mid of 2009, he has been an external communications officer at the Economic Research Center (ERC), where he was also a member of a research group on an organizational and advocacy capacity assessment of 35 civil society organizations in regions targeted by the socio-economic development activity in Azerbaijan (SEDA) project co-funded by USAID and the Government of Azerbaijan. Ramil has worked as a project coordinator assistant on a project focused on “Enhancing the effectiveness of government by strengthening the role of think tanks in the decision-making arena”, funded by the European Union at ERC between 2012 and 2013. He received an incentive prize for his paper “Why the Supervisory Board of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan Should Be Representative”.
Mahym Alekberova is a student at ADA University, pursuing Master of Arts in Public Policy. She has received her Bachelor of Arts from an American University in Bulgaria in 2012 with a degree in Business Administration and accounting concentration. Besides, working as a research assistant she is also working on organizing business project club and anti—littering club at ADA.Her research for Caucasus Research Resource Center was based on qualitative observation to start a campaign for anti-littering in Azerbaijan. Mahym was awarded an incentive prize for Anti-Littering Education in Azerbaijan”.