1st Special ERG Call on Climate Change

Application to this call is now closed. Please see the list of open and upcoming calls here.

PEDL invites applications to the first of this special ERG call for research on firms and climate change. While “Social Compliance and the Environment” is one of four PEDL themes, we now have a dedicated fund for work specifically related to understanding the relationship between private sector development and the environment. Policymakers in lower-income countries face many challenges in supporting private firms. Climate change adds to those challenges. We seek proposals for research which will enable policymakers to make more informed decisions. 

The agenda on climate and private firms is not well established. This extension to the PEDL programme is intended to draw particular attention to these issues surrounding abatement and adaptation. While we are open to proposals on any topic related to the effect of climate on private sector development or the effect of firms, we highlight three areas: 

  • Climate and productivity: There is increasing evidence that pollution and higher temperatures lead to lower productivity (e.g., Graff Zivin and Neidell (2012)). There is less evidence on adaptation strategies that firms might take to ameliorate these negative effects (e.g. Adhvaryu et al. (2019)).
  • Building resilience: Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events. Our understanding of the effects of climate uncertainty at the firm and market level is limited, but one example is Balboni and Boehm’s ongoing PEDL-funded work examining adaptive decisions of firms in the aftermath of flood events to help limit exposure to future floods. 
  • Regulation and productivity: environmental regulation will, by its design, change how firms operate. This could have significant impacts on productivity. He et al. (2019) on the enforcement of tighter environmental standards on certain firms. Currently, knowledge in this area of research is primarily based on short-run outcomes. However, if firms can offset costs of environmental compliance through adaptation strategies, longer-run evaluation is needed. 

Examples of additional questions relevant to this theme are:

  • How does climate uncertainty affect firm-level decisions and market structure?
  • How can firms and markets adapt to the presence of increasingly frequent severe weather events?
  • How can environmental regulation be ensured even in countries with weak enforcement institutions?
  • How are preferences of consumers in destination countries transmitted to firms in lower-income countries?

The objective of PEDL is to fund cutting-edge, policy-oriented research that could be published in leading academic journals and be relevant to the policy dialogue in LICs. As per usual, we will promote research related to private enterprises of all sizes but, given the focus on climate change in this call, there is no emphasis on PEDL's four research themes. However, we still particularly encourage proposals that address one or more of PEDL’s three cross-cutting themes:

  • Fragile and conflict affected states
  • Gender
  • Unlocking data for understanding markets and firms

More information on PEDL's cross-cutting themes can be found in our Research Strategy.

ERGs are designed to allow researchers to explore new approaches to the study of firms in LICs and to develop new (or build on) existing sources of data on firms in LICs. ERGs are grants of between £10,000 and £40,000. These grants will fund research assistance, data collection and new surveys in LICs, and (if necessary) teaching buyouts for the principal investigator. Please note that cost effectiveness and value for money are important evaluation criteria and costs considered to be unreasonable may result in a lower proposal rating. Please refer to the ERG budget guidelines for further guidance on research stipends.


Grant Set-up:

ERG projects typically run for 12 months.

Please note that contracts should be signed within one month of the outcome notification, which is also the expected start date for the projects.

ERGs are designed to be contracted directly with individual researchers. The individual researcher will be responsible for receiving, spending and reporting on funds. There should be no institutional involvement. In exceptional circumstances and with significant justification contracts can be drafted with the individual's institution, but these are non-negotiable and the institution cannot take any overhead fees.

For further information on ERGs, please consult the FAQs.


Country Criteria:

Please note that an important criterion for funding of proposals is the relevance to policy in LICs and other eligible countries as defined by the PEDL Programme. See the list of LICs and DFID focus countries here. Proposals for projects outside the focus countries should make a clear case for the relevance of the research to policy in lower-income countries, and also justify why the research is feasible only in non-target countries. Note that we are currently unable to fund projects located in Myanmar and Palestine.



Given the current situation, PEDL is very unlikely to support projects that require face-to-face interaction. We encourage proposals that make use of existing administrative data or collect information through other means such as phone surveys so long as this is feasible and won’t diminish the quality of the data collected. If you have questions on this, please contact Ed Sellers at [email protected].


Applications should be submitted by 23:59 BST, 31 August 2020 (CLOSED). Those received after this time will be considered for the next regular ERG round.

More information on how to apply as well as access to the online application form are available here.



  • All applicants are required to use the templates listed below under "Resources"
  • Please note that at the beginning of your online application, you will need to select "I am applying to a special Exploratory Research Grant call"




Information Pre-Application:

Application Templates:

For PEDL Grant Holders: