Resources for research

Sixteenth Programme Report

In covering technical activities, this programme report spans the two budgetary biennia of 2000-2001 and 2002-2003. In 2000-2001, TDR’s governing body approved a budget of US$73 913 million. In the current biennium (2002-2003), TDR is operating with an approved Joint Coordinating Board (JCB) budget of US$95 218 million. Thus there has been a substantial increase in the approved budget

TDR operates through a trust funding mechanism. A policy approved by the JCB, as to the manner in which funds can be contributed, ensures that the Trust Fund operates in a manner best suited to the advancement of research and training in tropical diseases.

To ensure that the JCB and financial contributors are satisfied with the implementation of the programme, both scientifically and financially, a series of technical and financial reporting measures exists. One of the principal technical measures in place is the annual Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting which reviews scientific and technical matters. As to financial reporting, programme expenditures according to the approved budget and planned activities are presented annually for review and approval by the JCB.

TDR is co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. The budget level is approved by the JCB, but actual funding received depends on the individual contributors.

The impact on TDR is that its technical and scientific implementation has to be managed carefully as funds become available throughout the year. This is a particular challenge when the approved budget represents a significant shift in level of funding as compared to the previous biennium, as is the case for 2002-2003.

Although the three biennia prior to 2000-2001 showed continued slow reduction in total contributions, the biennium 2000-2001 showed the first signs of reversal in this trend.An income of US$57 million was received, and an income figure of US$66.8 million is forecast for the biennium 2002-2003 (see box 1).


Biennium 1994-1995 1996-1997 1998-1999 2000-2001 2002-2003
TDR contributions, US$ million 56.4 54.4 51.6 57 66.8 (forecast)

TDR has a three-way approach to arrive at a real growth in funds received: generating an increased level of undesignated contributions from the traditional donor base; seeking out more designated funding from existing donors; and diversifying the donor base. The trend which begun in 1999 and 2000, in new donors and increased donations of a designated nature, was maintained in 2001 and 2002.

In 2002, TDR witnessed not only the presence of new donors but also diversification of donor type including donors from the commercial and institutional sectors, while some donors with established track records showed that they are able to provide funds of a designated nature on top of their undesignated contributions.

Because TDR operates a trust fund, which is in essence an undesignated funding mechanism, donations that are designated are accepted only insofar as they complement the programme’s technical and scientific objectives and fully cover all direct and indirect costs associated with the products to which they are designated. Funds that do not fit this profile are not accepted.

While the overall increase in income to the Programme facilitates an increase in activities and eventually results, the continuing decline in undesignated resources, in absolute as well as relative terms, poses both scientific and administrative challenges.

The marked progression in designated funding seen over the last few biennia continues apace. In 1996, a sum of US$1.2 million was designated, in 1998 US$5.8 million, in 2000 US$9.0 million, and in 2002 the figure reached US$11.6 million.

Figure 1 Contributions by designation (2003 forecast)

The forecast for 2003 is for continued growth in designated contributions with the current estimate at US$17.9 million for 2003 alone, while undesignated income is estimated to remain at the US$18 million plateau. The new funding situation poses two principal challenges to TDR. On the one hand, the lower than previous level of undesignated funding (see figure 1) decreases the technical flexibility of the programme, reducing emphasis on the diseases which do not attract much interest from the donor community, and reducing activities in strategic research and capacity building.

It further reduces TDR’s ability to quickly seize new scientific opportunities as they arise. On the other hand, the increase in designated funds poses administrative challenges in terms of reporting and tracking using an administrative system built to deal with only one type of resource.

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