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Who We Are

Development Analytics was founded in 2013 to provide decision-makers in the public and private sectors with evidence-based research on social programme and policy development. The research team has expanded to include experts from a broad range of social science disciplines including economics, political science, public health, social policy and international development. In addition to our core team, we draw on our international network of consultants, researchers, and collaborators to ensure that we have access to the specialist knowledge needed for the project at hand.

Meltem Aran, Ph.D. 
Executive Director

Meltem is a human development economist with research focusing on poverty, inequality, and overall distributional impact of social policies. Since 2004, she has been involved in various research projects and impact evaluations relating to poverty and human development with the World Bank in East Asia, ECA, and MENA regions.

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Amalee McCoy

Child Protection Expert

Amalee is a child protection specialist with over 15 years of experience in the fields of child protection, child and family welfare, and child rights. She was most recently a principal consultant in the development of a five-year strategy on parenting for violence prevention for UNICEF Thailand. 

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Aytuğ Şaşmaz, Ph.D. 
Research Associate

Aytug is a political scientist working on political parties, social policy, and democratic decline, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. He received his PhD in political science from Harvard University Government Department in July 2021. He holds degrees in political science from Bogazici University (BA), LSE (MSc), and Brown University (MA). Prior to his doctoral training, he worked as an education policy analyst at the Education Reform Initiative in Turkey, executing research and evaluation projects in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, UNICEF, and World Bank. 

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Burcu Yakut-Cakar, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Dr. Burcu Yakut-Cakar is a labour economist with extensive work and publications related to gender, youth employment, and social protection in Turkey.  She received her BA and MA degrees from the Department of Economics, Boğaziçi University. After being awarded a short-term visiting fellowship at Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex in the UK in 2007 for her Ph.D. project on tax-benefit microsimulation, she received her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Economics, Marmara University in 2010.

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Didem Pekkurnaz, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Didem is an applied microeconomist with primary interests in health and labour economics. She holds a BS degree in Statistics, an MS degree in Economics from Middle East Technical University, and a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Evrim Görmüş, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Evrim is a comparative political scientist with expertise in political economy in the Middle East. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and a doctoral degree in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her doctoral dissertation is focused on the state and Islamic business relations in Turkey and Egypt. 

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Gökçe Baykal, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Gökçe is a political scientist and her work focuses on the political and socio-economic impacts of poverty alleviation programs on poor people. Most recently she has been working on conditional cash transfers in Turkey and her work investigates whether transferring cash with conditions to the poor empower their social citizenship or produce/reproduce linkages, their obligations to reciprocate in terms of supporting the political party allocating them.

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Gökçe Uysal, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Gokce Uysal is currently an associate professor of economics at Bahcesehir University and the deputy director at Bahcesehir University Center for Economic and Social Research (Betam). She works on labour markets, economics of gender, economics of education, and household savings. Dr. Uysal holds a BA from Galatasaray University and a doctoral degree in Economics from University of Rochester.

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Güneş Aşık, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Güneş is a development economist with research interests in growth, regional development, and female labour force participation trends. She works as an assistant professor at TOBB Economics and Technology University in Ankara and is teaching econometrics, statistics, and mathematics. Her current research is on the estimation of income per capita series and constructing development indicators for the 26 regions of Turkey since the late 19th century using historical sources.

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Irem Guceri, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Irem’s research focuses on public policy and taxation, R&D, innovation, and firm-level productivity. She is currently a research fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation at Saïd Business School. Irem was previously a private sector development economist at the World Bank as part of the Europe and Central Asia region, Financial and Private Sector Development unit working on topics related to R&D and technology adoption, corporate taxation, small and medium-sized enterprises, state aid, exports, and financial sector development. 

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Kimberly Colopinto

Urban Planner

Kim is an urban planner with experience conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis. She specializes in spatial analytics and the visualization of data. Kim has worked with public, private, and non-profit organizations to conduct economic impact studies, affordable housing needs analysis, and market analysis, and policy research.

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Kristen Biehl, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Kristen is an anthropologist with a primary interest in studying migration, diversity, and urban change. Since 2006, she has worked both professionally and academically in the field of immigration and asylum policy and practice in Turkey and has taken part in different research projects funded by the British Council,  the European Union, Husnu M. Ozyegin Foundation, and  UNICEF.  

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Laetitia Lemaistre

Refugee and Education Specialist

Laetitia Lemaistre is an education specialist who focuses on refugee education, education in emergencies and conflict contexts, and humanitarian coordination. She is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Education at University College London and her research interests lie in urban refugee children’s access to formal education.

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Laura S. Friederichs
Health Specialist 

Laura is a performance-focused program manager with experience driving health initiatives through partnership and collaboration with major institutional donors and government agencies. She spent 10 years building and scaling international public health programs with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Geneva) and UNDP (New York). 

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Merve Uzunalioğlu

Research Associate

Merve is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Social Sciences at the UCL’s Institute of Education. Before starting her doctoral studies, she was a full-time team member at Development Analytics. Merve holds a master’s degree in Social Policy Analysis (IMPALLA) from KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium. 

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Naureen Karachiwalla, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Naureen’s work focuses on education, and specific topics include promotion incentives for teachers, and social distance and learning outcomes. She has previously conducted work for the World Bank, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Oxford Policy Management, and the Young Lives Project. Her work has included both research and policy. 

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Onur Altindag, Ph.D.

Research Associate

​Onur Altindag is an assistant professor of economics at Bentley University. His research interests lie primarily at the intersection of population and health economics. His early work focused on fertility preferences and their impact on maternal and infant health. In his dissertation

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Özgür Bozçağa

Research Associate

Ozgur is a Ph.D. student in the economics and public policy program jointly offered by The Fletcher School and the Department of Economics at Tufts University.  He received his BA in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University and completed his MA in Politics at New York University. He also completed doctoral coursework in quantitative social science at Boston University. 

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Özsel Beleli, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Özsel’s research and work span a range of topics at the intersection of early childhood development and education policy. She has provided research and analysis services as a consultant to international organizations, including UNICEF, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and Catholic Relief Services as well as working as a staff member at the European Commission, Istanbul Policy Center, Search for Common Ground, and the Regional Development Agency in Turkey.

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Rebecca Holmes

Research Associate

Rebecca Holmes has 15 years of experience providing policy-relevant research on social protection. She also has experience in assessing programmes for refugees. Rebecca has published widely and made numerous presentations to a range of audiences on social protection, gender, and the humanitarian-development nexus. 

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Safir Sumer

 Health Sector Expert

Safir Sumer is an international development specialist with extensive experience in health systems. She is a national of Turkey, with over 20 years of human development experience. She consulted for the World Bank, WHO, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Development in Turkey, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and the EU Commission on health sector-related projects. Her health sector experience includes results-based financing, health systems, and policy analysis, strategic planning, universal health coverage, public health, health budget and financing, people-centred health care, and integrated care.

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Şenay Özden

Research Associate

Şenay is a cultural anthropologist and researcher. Her research areas include international migration, refugees, the Turkish state’s refugee policies, politics of humanitarian aid.

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Stephen O'Connell, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Stephen D. O'Connell is a postdoctoral fellow in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He recently joined Emory University as an assistant professor of Economics. His research interests are in the empirical evaluation of government policies aimed at improving access to economic opportunity. 

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Tuğba Bozçağa, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Dr. Tuğba Bozçağa is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University's Middle East Initiative. Her research interests lie in political economy of development, with a substantive focus on local governance, social welfare, distributive politics, and migration. 

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Yasemin Kisbu, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Yasemin is a faculty member at Koç University and has worked on several country-wise evaluations and large-N surveys. She is a quantitative methodologist with expertise in the evaluation of social, educational, and health programs, experimental/quasi-experimental design, and models to optimize intervention effectiveness.

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Zeynep Balcıoğlu

Research Associate

Zeynep is currently a doctoral candidate at the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University. She passed doctoral exams in the fields of comparative politics, public policy, and research design and methodology. She studies forced migration, social policy, and welfare provision mostly in the Middle East and Balkans. 

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Zeynep Başer

Qualitative Social Policy Researcher

Zeynep Baser-Kubiena is a senior qualitative researcher specialized in program evaluation and qualitative methods. Zeynep has been working in the field of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) since 2012. Since then, she has worked both as an internal M&E officer within the organizations and as an external evaluator conducting independent program evaluations for international donor organizations.  

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Nazlı Aktakke

Senior Quantitative Research Analyst

Nazli is a senior quantitative researcher at Development Analytics with experience working on a wide range of topics including cash transfer programs, labour force participation of women, and health and education outcomes of children. 

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Hazal Çolak

Data Scientist for Social Policy

Hazal is a data scientist for social policy at Development Analytics with research interests related to poverty and inequality, social assistance reforms, cash transfer programmes and targeting approaches, and child welfare. She has received her master’s degree in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford, focusing on the comparative welfare system analysis and cross-national variations in major social policy areas.

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Yali Hajhassan
Arabic Speaking Qualitative Research Analyst

Yali works at Development Analytics as an Arabic-speaking qualitative research analyst on evaluation projects related to Syrian refugees in Turkey and the region. She holds a BA in Psychology from Cumhuriyet University and speaks Arabic, English, and Turkish fluently. 

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Mehveş Demirer
Project Officer and Qualitative Research Analyst

Mehveş works as a Project Officer and Qualitative Research Analyst at Development Analytics. She has an experience in grant counselling, funding, and tender searching, and project management. In her previous role, she was in charge of the Horizon Europe ecosystem within its every pillar. 

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