The Vice-Chancellor Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Dr Nadeem ul Haque on Sunday stressed the need for following the ‘Research for Social Transformation and Advancement’ (RASTA) programme to promote local thinking and policy-making. The PIDE has launched RASTA, a multi-year competitive grants program for policy-oriented research in Pakistan last October with an aim to develop local thought communities and establish a research network of academia and think tanks across Pakistan producing high-quality, evidence-based policy research to inform Pakistan’s public policy process. Talking to a group of journalists, the PIDE VC said that the RASTA program was to put the Pakistani researcher to serious work on the economy and key public policy issues to accelerate economic growth and development, improve society, and achieve the promise of Pakistan. He said it was high time to conduct some meaningful research and help formulate indigenous policies instead of relying on external advice. RASTA provides the opportunity to reduce the research-policy gap by providing answers and evidence that can contribute to improving the policy and policy-making process in Pakistan, he added. He said, in RASTA, the applicants are desired to conduct policy-oriented research that should not only find solutions to policy problems but also help to improve better practices and interventions by informing organizations, policymakers, and decision-makers with pragmatic, action-oriented recommendations. In this context, the applicants are required to focus on real policy issues and questions, build their research argument keeping in view pressing challenges facing Pakistan, and use analyses as well as data to inform the people and policymakers of Pakistan. “We would encourage applicants to study complex socio-economic dynamics, examine development interventions, explore the interplay of actors involved in managing policy decisions, and review institutional development and governance issues,” he added. RASTA is becoming the largest economic and social research network in Pakistan. It invites proposals on economics and social research themes twice a year.