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15-May-2018

Call for Policy Papers

PMC Research Center is launching a Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG) funded project entitled “Public Policy Discourse and Dialogue Platform – 2018” targeted at creating a platform to stimulate constructive and systematic policy debates and to establish cooperative practice among different political and social groups of Georgian society. Among other goals, the project aims to encourage young researchers in Georgia to develop valuable policy research papers on important policy issues.

As part of this project, PMC Research Center announces with some excitement a competition for researchers to elaborate policy research papers on the following topics:

1. Cluster Development Potential in Company Towns/Districts
Throughout the last few decades, the formation of clusters has become an important instrument for countries in the context of their development and in increasing their competitiveness. A cluster entails the bringing together of companies and related economic actors and institutions which are geographically close to each other to cooperate, and increase the companies’ and region’s level of competitiveness. Clusters can have the potential to become a driving force in Georgia’s economic development at the inter-regional and national levels.


Company towns can be defined as follows: (1) a town that has been developed around a single company’s plant; and (2) a town whose economy depends on a single company and where the majority of the population is employed by that company. The latter of the two definitions relates more closely to the Georgian reality. In Tbilisi, for example, instead of company towns, several company districts have been developed. When a town or district depends so heavily on one company, inevitably when the company struggles the effects on the local population can be devastating.

Researchers are thus invited to analyze the existing clusters in Georgia, the potential of past and existing company towns and/or districts to transform into clusters and the benefits associated with such transformation. Additionally, researchers are encouraged to focus on regional clusters. Based on a detailed examination, researchers will be responsible for producing a policy paper focusing on some or all of the following topics:

  • Key driving factors behind choosing specific locations in which to form clusters;
  • The types of clusters (e.g. export-oriented clusters, high-tech clusters, factor endowment clusters, low-cost manufacturing clusters, etc.) observed in different sectors in Georgia;
  • Possible effects of the development of clusters on existing economic actors;
  • Observations on foreign direct investment (FDI) tendencies in supporting cluster development in Georgia;
  • The potential of cluster development in dormant company districts of Tbilisi;
  • The use of clusters in the economic development planning process;
  • Possible policies and methods of implementation supporting the development of clusters.

 

2.Vocational Education and Training (VET) System in Georgia
Various reports1 by international organizations highlight the issue of a skills mismatch in the Georgian labor market. Numerous locally conducted studies2 attest to the existence of the following two key features of the skills mismatch in the labor market: (1) the demand for certain specialties in the market that do not require higher education degrees3; and (2) young professionals with degrees from higher education institutions who do not possess skills required by employers.

Recently, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia prepared a study4 on enterprise demand on skills, where unprecedented data was collected and, among other major findings, a low level of cooperation between enterprises and VET institutions was identified.

At the same time, the Georgian government recently approved a draft law on VET5, which will regulate and guarantee a better functioning system through redefining the following: different types of VET; management of the educational process; principles in funding the VET system; and procedures for establishing, operating, managing, reorganizing, and liquidating VET institutions.

Researchers are invited to prepare a policy paper either on the existing skills mismatch, the new VET law or a combination of the two subjects, focusing on the following topics:

  • International best practices on how to supply missing skills as part of VET programs;
  • International best practices on increasing the level of cooperation between enterprises and VET institutions (e.g. enterprises’ representatives’ participation in the governance of VET institutions);
  • Assessment of the new VET initiative, including the associate degree programs, the work-based system, the dual system, and popularization campaigns;
  • The compatibility of these programs with those offered at undergraduate level in Georgian universities.

 

3. Tourism Potential in Georgia
Tourism is one of the most dynamic sectors of Georgia. Tourism revenues and the number of international travelers, including tourists, in Georgia has been increasing steadily in recent years. In 2017, 7.6 million international travelers visited Georgia, a 168% increase compared to 2011 and a 19% increase compared to 2016.


Nonetheless, the average spending per visitor remains low. On average, international visitors spend US$364 in Georgia, which is lower than comparable countries6.

To increase per visitor spending, one potentially effective step could be to develop and promote high-spending tourism fields such as:

  • MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) tourism - the main purpose of MICE tourism is business and MICE travelers generally spend more money than leisure travelers;
  • Senior tourism – a specific age group of tourists who have retired from active employment and on average are estimated to spend more money compared to other age groups7;
  • Health tourism – traveling for the purpose of receiving medical treatment, such tourists are estimated to spend on average US$3800-6000 per visit8.


The researcher should analyze the existing situation in Georgia’s tourism sector, examine the Georgian government’s strategies related to tourism development, and assess the level of development and Georgia’s potential to further develop its high-spending tourism fields.

4. Procurement System Assessment
Approximately a third of Georgia’s state budget is spent on the procurement of various assets and services by government entities. The number of conducted tenders, as well as registered suppliers, increases every year and in 2016 amounted to around 38,000 and 30,000 respectively9.  


While implementation of the state procurement system helps to save both time and money, and boosts transparency and accountability, there are still some challenges such as risks of corruption and bias. Moreover, there are additional challenges presented by the EU-Georgia Association Agreement which envisions the harmonization of the Georgian public procurement system with EU directives10.

A key actor here is LEPL State Procurement Agency11 (SPA), which, since 2011, has carried out a range of activities to develop this system and to eliminate any of its flaws. However, according to recent reports12, some important challenges remain in the system.

PMC Research Center invites researchers to develop a policy research paper identifying the current challenges facing the public procurement system, analyzing the possible effects of the latest amendments in the relevant legislation on SPA’s operations, and offering recommendations based on international best practices.

The research paper may cover the following issues:

  • Preparatory measures and procedures for tenders
  • Failed tenders
  • Simplified procurement
  • Two-stage electronic tenders
  • Meeting obligations as per the EU-Georgia Association Agreemen13


5. Extend Existing Policy Papers
PMC Research Center has successfully implemented several editions of the Public Policy Discourse and Dialogue Platform project since 2014. Given the timeframe and the format of the project, a number of policy papers developed in this framework have identified topics requiring further research and investigation.


Researchers are invited to submit proposals to further develop the following policy papers:

 

Submission
Interested candidates, as well as a group of maximum two researchers, should present:

  1. A 2-page extended research abstract indicating a clear outline of the issue and their view on it (in English).
  2. A detailed CV, including a list of past publications.

These documents should be submitted by email to Mr. Andro Tvaliashvili at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by June 4, 2018.

Selection Timeframe
The evaluation process will entail the following steps:

  • 4 Jun 2018: Deadline to submit abstracts.
  • 15 Jun 2018: Steering Committee makes final decision on which research to approve.
  • 18 Jun 2018: Start of approved research.


The abstracts are evaluated by an international and independent Steering Committee. Selected candidates will be assigned to elaborate a policy research paper compliant with the format defined by the project organizers. The researcher will then present the outcomes of their research at a public forum attended by experts from the academic and political sectors.

Following various stages of peer review, the final drafts of the policy papers are expected by the end of November 2018.

The preparation and presentation of each approved policy research paper will be compensated with an honorarium of GEL 3,750 (gross amount).

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andro Tvaliashvili
PMC Research Center
61 Aghmashenebeli Ave, 4th floor
Tbilisi 0102, Georgia
Tel: (+99532) 2 921 171 (Ext. 103), 2 921 181 (Ext. 103)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

1 World Bank, Georgia: Skills Mismatch and Unemployment – Labor Market Challenges, 2013; Lezhava, D., & Amashukeli, M. (2015).

2 For more details see: Bologna Process Assessment in Georgia: Main Achievements and Challenges. Tbilisi, Center for Social Sciences; Amashukeli, M., Lezhava, D., Gugushvili, N. (2017). Education Return, Labor Market and Job Satisfaction in Georgia. Tbilisi, Center for Social Sciences.

3 As the OECD Recommendations for Georgia’s SME Development Strategy 2016-2020 concludes, the Georgian workforce today is overeducated (http://www.oecd.org/eurasia/competitiveness-programmeme/eastern-partners/Recommendations_for_Georgia_SME_strategy.pdf).

4 http://www.lmis.gov.ge/Lmis/Lmis.Portal.Web/Handlers/GetFile.ashx?Type=Content&ID=23618107-f3c9-44d3-b3df-d4ded7caa250 (Available in Georgian)

5 http://www.mes.gov.ge/uploads/VETLAW-1.pdf

6 Georgia’s Tourism Sector, GALT & TAGGART-“Tourism at Full Speed”

7 http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Tourism_statistics_-_expenditure

8 https://www.statista.com/statistics/546595/global-medical-tourism-market-size-and-spending-per-visit/

9 IDFI, Implementation Assessment of the Georgian Public Procurement Legislation.

10 EU AA: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22014A0830(02) Chapter 8 (articles 141-149), Annex XVI.

11 Titled ‘Competition and State Procurement Agency’ from 27 December 2011 to 15 April 2014.

12 http://www.transparency.ge/en/post/how-state-spends-our-money

13 EU AA: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22014A0830(02) Chapter 8 (articles 141-149), Annex XVI.