linksCDR was established in 1989 as a Central American branch of the Free University of Amsterdam (VU). Despite its official independence from the VU in 2006, the challenge for CDR remains to find a balance between consultancy assignments and academia research. The framework for the consultancy work is based on intensive applied research, which combines studies on a micro level with sector and macroeconomic analyses.

The Foundation also remains closely linked with various research institutions, including: