The ICRG | Research | Learning | Dissemination | Initiatives

Research Learning Dissemination Initiatives

The ICRG carries out an international cooperative research agenda

Policy-oriented outcomes and conducive environments
Practice-oriented focus including performance

Research Approach

The ICRG designs, directly undertakes and partners with academic and practitioner partners to carry out rigorous research that helps bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Current Interests Include

Business Performance

Adapting to and harnessing technology.

What do buyers want from cooperatives? Challenges to member equity. Challenges and opportunities for new equity mechanisms. Ethical business practices and cooperative values.

Enabling Environments

Evidence gathering re: the benefits of cooperatives and the cooperative business model. What costs and benefits come from serving the “last mile” of electricity and health? What are the characteristics of successful cooperative models?

Greater Support To Cooperatives

Deeper understanding of the penetration of cooperatives | enabling livelihoods. Effective strategies for engaging youth. Creation of greater agency for women. Donor policies supporting effective programming. Exit strategies that ensure sustainability.

The Research Group’s Working Hypothesis

Is that cooperative development, when done well is a powerful instrument for measurable enhancing the economic, social and community well-being of cooperative members.

Research done well has the following characteristics:

Applicability of results. Rigorous design and research methods. Research implementation in partnerships with member CDOs, partner/experts. Wide and diverse methods for dissemination of results to diverse constituencies. Tools and training materials based on research outcomes where appropriate. Research inquiry and results at the heart of the cooperative development learning community.

The Current Research Agenda

The Research Group is focused on an agenda approved by OCDC’s board of directors, which is updated annually.

Lessons derived from this research will be applied in the design of cooperative development programs by OCDC members, as well as shared widely within the international cooperative development community.

Key Themes In Our Broader Research Include:

The role of cooperatives in alleviating poverty. The role of cooperatives in increasing equity and reducing inequality. The elements necessary for enhancing cooperative capacity and economic sustainability. The illumination of the comparative advantages of co-ops and conditions necessary to sustain them.

Connections to Community

The ICRG works independently, as well as with partners. It works collaboratively with OCDC members on issues of common interest. In addition, it supports individual cooperative development organization (CDO) research through technical assistance and dissemination of results.

The ICRG also works with other organizations to design, co-fund and carry out specific research initiatives. Organizations interested in partnering with the Research Group to carry out research in partnership or to disseminate their own research may contact us at


One of the primary goals of OCDC is to create an environment for learning and sharing amongst CDOs as well as within a wider audience of key stakeholders. This learning platform, the Center of Excellence, builds a culture of sharing and learning that will improve activity design, implementation, and monitoring.

In addition to sharing and learning between implementors, the ICRG prioritizes learning from research by hosting webinars, workshops, and conferences on various cooperative development topics to increase knowledge about current cooperative development challenges, practices, and new research findings.

The ICRG also contributes to cooperative development learning through training design and implementation both for US based implementors and cooperatives in developing countries.


The ICRG disseminates research, developed by OCDC, member CDOs, and other institutions, through various outlets, to a wide audience. The ICRG publishes reports and policy briefs for OCDC platforms, writes papers for journal publication, presents at international conferences, and prepares easily digestible blogs and visuals for social media and blog dissemination. The ICRG disseminates research and tools to ensure that the work of the ICRG and others is widely shared and incorporated into cooperative development, policymaking, and further research.

Recent Posts


Recent Posts

Resource Library


Resource Library

Work With OCDC


The Research Group conducts research on topics related to Cooperative Development, the Cooperative Model, Cooperative Legal Environments, and more. The Research seeks to add knowledge to the Cooperative sector by systemically researching, collecting data, and presenting the results for various audiences including practitioners, donors, governments, and other research and academic institutions.
The Research Group uses multiple methods and researches in all regions where cooperatives are active. Research initiatives range from desk reviews on a particular cooperative sector or country to cross-sector, worldwide research. The Research Group engages cooperative expert researchers and partner institutions from around the world.
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