YOUNG RESEARCHERS PROGRAM (YRP)
YRP is an intensive one-year policy research training and coaching fellowship program designed for recent Cambodian graduates and young professionals.
With a part-time six-month training program followed by six months of mentoring and conducting individual policy research, the YRP aims to empower Cambodian youth to become competent in policy research and analysis such that they can influence and contribute to shaping public policy discourse by serving in government, civil society, tertiary education, research institutions or through other means.
Future Forum convenes two cohorts each year: Cohort I to start their fellowship in January and Cohort II in July. Up to 25 YRFs per cohort are accepted into the program through a highly competitive, nationwide selection process.
Learning Overview (Training)
The young research fellows (YRFs) will be provided with a cycle of premium training and capacity development, organized in a hybrid format, on areas including public policy analysis, policy engagement, academic and creative writing, ideation, and research methods, both qualitative and quantitative.
This training will equip the YRFs with the fundamental skills to undertake in-depth research, think critically, and provide sound analysis.
Learn more about the courses:
Policy Research CourseThis course provides young research fellows with fundamental skills for interpreting and applying empirical policy research. The course begins with an introduction to the research process and the basics of social science, before moving on to question formulation, hypothesis generation, concept formation and operationalization, and causal inference. Fellows are also equipped with comprehensive knowledge and competencies in a wide array of research methodology techniques: both qualitative (e.g., interview, focus group discussion, case study, comparative method, and content analysis), and quantitative (e.g., experimental and quasi-experimental design, and statistical methods). Through practical case studies and demonstration with raw data (and with the assistance of NVivo and Stata software during the Research Seminars), Fellows develop a comprehensive understanding of the role of research in crafting public policy and analysis to obtain effective policy outcomes.
Policy Analysis CourseThis course is delivered collaboratively by Ou Virak, Founder and President of Future Forum as well as technical and subject matter experts to deliver key modules. The course is designed around policy focus conceptualization, analysis, and ideation. This will be bolstered within the three-day public policy retreat, a kick-off training to equip the YRFs with the ability and skills to discuss real-world policy issues through engagement in the field observation at the local markets, pagodas, schools, etc. around the community. It aims to foster critical and reflective thinking in regards to public policy formulation and analysis and its relation to social scientific research in order for participants to acquire the ability to view the policy in a holistic manner and employ research to provide evidence-based policy solutions to Cambodia’s issues. In addition, Future Forum regularly hosts expert speakers to lecture on a number of contemporary policy topics, such as the Cambodian energy market, human rights, transitional justice, and sustainable development goals.
Writing CourseAs all YRFs are expected to produce high-quality outputs, publishable in standard North American English, they are provided with a series of effective academic writing workshops covering the structure of academic writing and English grammar (including styles and syntax). In addition, commentary writing sessions will be conducted in order for the YRFs to produce quality commentary outputs and to publish in-house and a number of media outlets, such as the Phnom Penh Post, Diplomat, SEAGlobe, VOD, Khmer Times, and Asia Times, in a monthly manner after the six-month training cycle.
The Fellowship will kick off with an in-person three-day public policy retreat, after which YRFs are expected to actively participate in hybrid full-day training on Saturdays, as well as satisfactorily fulfill required reflection assignments on an individual basis and attend three group discussion sessions online during weekdays.
Following the conclusion of the six-month training cycle, Fellows will produce an individual policy research proposal for consideration under the Future Forum research grant allocation, with a view to publication in the Journal of Future Cambodia. As well they have the opportunity to publish independent work through a variety of Future Forum publication avenues.
Through the program, fellows learn:
By satisfying the requirements of this program (learning outcomes), fellows will be able to:
1. Demonstrate solid knowledge and skills of commonly used methodological tools in empirical research, particularly in the public policy arena (L1);
2. Appraise the strengths and weaknesses of existing methodological approaches and policy research papers including tools of measurement, empirics, and conditions under which causal inference can be drawn (L2);
3. Gain a mastery of the literature surrounding their topic of interest and how that issue is currently being addressed in contemporary Cambodia (L3);
4. Formulate appropriate research design, develop arguments, undertake data collection, and thus be able to conduct a publishable research project (L4); and
5. Produce high-quality written work related to their research, suitable for both expert audiences and the general public (L5).
This program has been funded by SIDA (Embassy of Sweden Section Office in Phnom Penh), OSF (Open Society Foundations), and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through The Asia Foundation's Ponlok Chomnes: Data and Dialogue for Development in Cambodia.