Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC)

RTAC serves as a strategic resource to the United States Agency for International Development, leveraging academic researchers’ scientific expertise to provide research, specialized training, and short-term technical assistance.

Research Division of the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub in the USAID Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation

The Challenge

The data and evidence that decisionmakers and communities need to develop effective policies, programs, and practices are often not accessible or presented in usable formats. Through the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC), PRB supports research uptake by helping researchers communicate their work more effectively to diverse audiences and assisting in development of research-to-action plans.

Our Approach

Led by NORC at the University of Chicago and in collaboration with its partners, RTAC aims to accelerate the impact of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) development investments in a variety of sectors by 1) connecting USAID to a diverse, global network of academic researchers to promote new partnerships; 2) supporting USAID’s missions, bureaus, and independent offices to make evidence-based decisions; and 3) sharing newly generated research, tools, and trainings to foster collective learning and strengthen capacity.

As a key project partner, PRB provides leadership on strategic communications and research utilization. We work closely with USAID-funded researchers to develop tailored research-to-action plans to help ensure that their research answered the right questions, reached the right audiences, and informed decision-making. We package and share evidence in accessible and creative ways, always keeping in mind the needs and work of decisionmakers, donors, and program implementers. PRB also designs and delivers interactive trainings to strengthen the capacity of USAID staff and implementing partners so that they can use and communicate research effectively to improve global programming.


PRB provides technical assistance to researchers in more than 10 countries in fields ranging from medicine to biology to engineering, working with them to write and produce training manuals, policy briefs, fact sheets, and presentations. Our assistance helps research teams identify a broad range of stakeholders, gather information about how these stakeholders might use the results of their research, and identify how to best communicate with them. We have built researcher skills in engaging decisionmakers and, as a result, researchers have garnered government support to add their off-grid cooling innovation to operational guidelines written by one government department in India. In the Philippines, another group of researchers strengthened support within their own institution for their research dissemination activities after giving a presentation they developed with PRB’s assistance.

RTAC is a part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) 2.0 portfolio of programs, which is managed by the Research Division of the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub in the USAID Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation.


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