An Update from Our Project Director


  • POSTED December 3, 2019
  • General Information

Sutherland Miller III, Project Director, RTAC


The Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) has had a busy last few months facilitating meetings and trainings on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Some highlights below:

RTAC conducts focus group and key informant interviews to support the transformation of the U.S. Global Development Lab.

In September 2019, RTAC conducted a “Lab Culture” Focus Group and associated Key Informant Interviews on behalf of the U.S. Global Development Lab.  The Focus Group, held in Washington, D.C., brought together recommended external Lab stakeholders with deep experience in collaborating on Lab projects.  The purpose of the Focus Group was to provide research and ground-truthing on the Lab’s own identification of the core “elements of the Lab culture.”  The timing of the Focus Group was meant to provide strategic guidance to Lab management in regard to an ongoing transformation that will merge the Lab into the proposed Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI).  As noted by USAID, “The proposed Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation will reorient Washington-based technical expertise to drive program decision-making toward the field, offering more consistent, coordinated and responsive technical support.  This new configuration would:

  • Increase coordination and accountability among Washington expertise in their service to missions
  • Consistently infuse the values of USAID and the American people into programming
  • Enable staff to experiment, test, and scale new practices and approaches
  • Increase learning to improve performance.”1

RTAC trains USAID staff on how digital techniques and strategies can advance the journey to self-reliance.

In October 2019 USAID’s Center for Digital Development with RTAC conducted a second training for USAID staff on “Applying Digital Tools to Support the Journey to Self-Reliance” in the Washington, D.C. area.  Led by a team of two Arizona State University faculty – Dr. Mary Jane C. Parmentier and Dr. Faheem Hussain – the training focused on how to integrate cutting-edge digital techniques and strategies into USAID’s approach to program planning to support beneficiary countries’ journey to self-reliance.  The 17 trainees came from some 12 countries as well as USAID/Washington.  The training cadre included Digital Development Advisors and Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnership Foreign Service National Fellows.  Two webinars based on the training content developed are planned for 2020.

RTAC facilitates staff retreat for the Center for Development Research team.

In November 2019, RTAC designed, facilitated, and managed a daylong staff retreat for the Center for Development Research (CDR) in the Washington, D.C. area.  The objective of the retreat was to strengthen CDR’s role as a champion for research and research utilization by providing CDR staff with an opportunity for internal discussion.  The retreat covered topics such as team building, building understanding of CDR objectives, and individual understanding of how each team member fits into CDR’s goals.  Twenty-three members of CDR’s staff participated.

Contact us to learn more about working with RTAC.