The College of William & Mary announced a $1 million grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation today for AidData. AidData, a public website and search engine tracking development finance flows, is coordinated by William & Mary's Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations in collaboration with Brigham Young University and Development Gateway.
"Gifts like Hewlett's help fuel the research university that thrives inside William & Mary. AidData is a splendid example of our commitment to engaged learning that makes a difference in the world" said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley.
The Hewlett grant will help fund Phase II of the AidData collaboration, a five-year growth campaign. Over the coming years, AidData researchers hope to build out the AidData portal by expanding the database to include previously unpublished data from both traditional and new donors, adding project documents and geo-location codes to aid projects, and to continue cutting edge research on aid allocation and aid effectiveness.
AidData was created in Dec. 2009 when Project-Level Aid (PLAID) and Development Gateway's Accessible Information on Development Activities (AiDA) database merged, combining their efforts to track development finance and cooperation.
The partnership provides development practitioners, researchers, government officials, and individuals interested in development finance with access to more comprehensive and high-quality information on aid activities worldwide. The AidData project nearly doubles the amount of money in development finance tracked by a single source, from $2.3 trillion since 1945 to $4.2 trillion - making available nearly one million individual foreign aid transactions.
AidData's web portal serves as an easily accessible and independent repository of aid activities. A beta version of AidData was launched to the public in March. Researchers involved hope to increase the effectiveness and transparency of foreign aid programs by providing easy access to aid information through this shared online source.
"We have been extremely fortunate that the Hewlett Foundation has seen fit to support this project so generously," said Michael Tierney, director of William & Mary's Institute for Theory and Practice of International Relations. "This grant will not only help to make development finance more transparent and effective, it will also enable internationally oriented student-faculty research on a range of policy relevant issues."
Since 2006, AidData has received a total of $4.65 million from two private foundations - Hewlett ($1.75 million) and the Gates Foundation ($2.9 million) - and $250,000 from the National Science Foundation. Development Gateway's AiDA has been primarily funded through grants from the World Bank and the governments of Australia and Germany.
The AidData team is led by two members of the College of William & Mary faculty- Tierney and Robert Hicks, as well as Brad Parks and Timmons Roberts, research fellows at William & Mary's Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. A parallel team of lead investigators are faculty at Brigham Young University, and includes Daniel Nielson, Darren Hawkins and Sven Wilson.
The Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations at the College of William & Mary was established in 2008 to facilitate student and faculty research on policy relevant topics in international relations. Brigham Young University's Political Economy and Development Lab supports research in international relations and international development. Development Gateway is an international non-profit organization that provides technological solutions to make aid and development efforts more effective around the world.
For additional information about AidData and to search the database, visit their website.