In late 2019, we—the SMERU management and staff—finalized the SMERU Strategic Plan 2020–2024. The strategic plan aims to increase SMERU’s relevance and improve the institute’s financial sustainability. With our focus still on quality research to contribute to the formulation of pro-poor socioeconomic policies, SMERU intends to expand its reach to regional governments and nongovernmental stakeholders— especially the private sector. The strategic plan also contains work plans to (i) improve the understanding of various parties about the importance of research as the foundation for formulating policies (research literacy), (ii) acquire new sources of funding, and (iii) strengthen administrative, information technology, and knowledge management support.
During the first-year implementation of the strategic plan, we faced a tremendous challenge in the form of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In support of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we have (i) implemented the work-from-home mechanism, (ii) temporarily suspended face-to-face data collection activities, (iii) designed and implemented new methods for conducting online research and data collection, and (iv) applied health protocols for face-to-face activities that are unavoidable. We have also redirected our available resources to initiate rapid assessments on the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results are published in the form of short reports and policy briefs, which we then share with the relevant stakeholders. At the same time, we keep our commitments with various parties. Throughout 2020, we carried out 50 research and nonresearch projects, 17 of which were completed before the end of December 2020. We also publishedfive journal articles, eight policy briefs, and dozens of reports and articles.
All those achievements were made possible by the support from various parties and the hard work of all the staff. We would like to extend our gratitude to all donor agencies, government institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies for their support and cooperation throughout 2020. Our special thanks go to Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) and the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) program for their long-term support. We would like to thank all SMERU staff for theirdedication and hard work to ensure that SMERU continues to strive to realize its vision and mission, despite the difficult time everyone is facing due to the pandemic. We would also like to thank the boards of trustees, supervisors, and managers of The SMERU Foundation for their unwavering support for the institute’s activities. May we be granted with the strength andperseverance to continue with the hard work in the years to come.