The WTO Chairs Programme was originally launched in 2010 as a capacity-building project. It aims to enhance the understanding of the multilateral trading system among academics and policy makers in developing countries through teaching, research and outreach activities in academic institutions. The programme targets academic institutions established in developing and least-developed countries which are members or observers of the WTO.

The Chairs Programme is implemented through partnership agreements between the WTO Secretariat and selected institutions. The WTO provides financial, scientific and technical support to its partners in three interdependent pillars: research, curriculum development and outreach activities. In the first phase of the programme (2010-13), the WTO provided financial support to 14 institutions in developing countries. Information on the outcomes of that first phase is available on the WTO website (www.wto.org/chairprogramme). Through this second call for tenders, the WTO wishes to extend the network by an additional seven chairs. The second phase of the programme benefits from financial support of the Netherlands.

The Chairs Programme streamlines the academic cooperation activities of the WTO by providing dedicated support to beneficiary institutions in their specific priority areas in the field of trade policy, international trade, international relations and international economic law. The programme will provide financial support of up to CHF 50,000 per annum per institution for a period of up to four years to selected Chair holders.

Chair holders will be chosen through a competitive selection process. In making their selection, the WTO Secretariat supported by the programme's Advisory Board will take into account a number of criteria, including:

  • potential for developing capacities at the host institution
  • relevance of research topics in relation to trade policy and WTO-related issues
  • quality of research proposals
  • expected results with respect to the offering of new and updated courses
  • potential for interaction with policy-making institutions (such as government departments)
  • expected results with respect to networking with other academic institutions
  • strategy for future human and financial sustainability
  • potential for maintaining a team of critical mass in the host institution to collaborate in Chair holder activities. 

More information is contained in the Call for Tender 2013. Academic institutions established in developing countries that are members or observers of the WTO are invited to submit their proposals using the Application Form. The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2013. Selected chairs will be notified in early 2014.

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