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One of the most powerful investments the development community could make is not in today's problems, but in research that will address tomorrow's challenges. A dollar spent on research and development has been shown consistently to deliver some of the highest social benefits of any form of policy intervention. Every dollar spent on research would generate a return of $34 .The results are relevant not only for the U.K., which since 1995 has spent just 0.9 percent of its aid on R&D, but for every donor country as well.We worked with 32 top global academics and subject experts to identify nearly 100 research ideas that would fast-track the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, and 40 projects for which a first-order estimate of potential benefits and costs could be calculated. One idea is research into cleaner cooking stoves. The benefits would be worth 250-500 times the cost.Spending just about $10 million each year would generate benefits worth more than 20 times the costs.Past research by the Copenhagen Consensus, at both the global and national level, has conclusively shown that R&D can be an extraordinarily good investment for aid donors.
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