2nd Special ERG Call on Climate Change

Application to this call is now closed.

Lower-income countries face a dual crisis of climate and environment. South Asia and Sub-Saharan African countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Among all countries in the world, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India rank as the three countries with the worst air quality

These dual crises of climate change and environment will be solved with some combination of policy, behaviour and technology. The private sector is central to the solution to both the climate and environmental crises. PEDL invites proposals on projects related to climate and the environment. We particularly encourage proposals related to adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change, and projects on mitigating pollution and improving local environmental conditions. We also welcome proposals on climate change mitigation, particularly proposals that provide evidence on the costs and benefits of mitigation to firms in PEDL-focus countries. 

In the interest of clarity and to stimulate thinking, we list below several topics and examples of research topics. This list is not mean to be exhaustive and we invite proposals for research in in PEDL-priority countries in any area on the role of the private sector in addressing issues related to climate change and the environment.

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.

The required special proposal forms and budget guidelines are found at the bottom of this page. The deadline for proposals is 11:59pm GMT, 20 December.

Topic areas and sample research topics:


The private sector plays a role in developing a reliable electric grid necessary to meet growing demand of firms and households. There is an interaction between investment and regulatory policy, especially as the latter relates to long-term power purchase contracts.

  • How can renewables and storage support the development of reliable electricity grids?
  • What are the sources of regulatory and investment risk for private sector investment in renewables, and how can these be mitigated?


Adoption of electric vehicles is increasing in high-income countries, and investment in electric motorcycles and three-wheelers in increasing the Africa and South Asia. But electric mobility is only one aspect of transport. Mass transits systems and streamlining transport logistics are also very active areas in PEDL-focus countries. 

  • What are the challenges to and benefits from adoption of electric transport?
  • What is the role of the private sector in mass transit?
  • What are the constraints to increasing efficiency of transport of goods?  

Industrial Production

Energy use in industrial processes contributes around one-quarter of CO2 emission globally. From a development perspective, the effect of industrial production on air quality is at least as important. Brick kilns alone are estimated to be responsible for as much as 58% of PM2.5 in Dkaka in the dry season. 

  • What is the role of the innovation and technology adoption is reducing emissions of both PM 2.5 and GHGs?  
  • How can policy interact with the private sector to achieve results?
  • What determines the uptake of energy-saving innovations by private sector firms?


GHG emissions of producers of exported goods may be thought of as induced by the final consumers of those goods. Tariffs in both producing and consuming markets may skew prices of carbon-intensive and non-intensive goods. 

  • How do import policies impact production decisions and technology adoption?  
  • How are climate mitigation demands of consumers in higher-income countries transmitted through buyers to producers in lower-income countries?

Markets for risk

Insurance is an important factor in resilience at the level of the farmer or firm. Insurance may also be necessary to encourage investment in capital-intensive sectors like grid-scale renewables. 

  • How are the effects of climate change distributed across firms of different sizes, sectros and locations?  
  • What innovations are required in local insurance markets to mitigate the increased risks arising from climate change?  
  • In the absence of full insurance markets, what are the adaption strategies of firms in PEDL-focus countries?


Innovation will play a major role in the resolution of either of these crises. 

  • What are the constraints to adoption of climate friendly technologies, be they internal (e.g., management) or external (e.g., finance, market prices) to the firm?
  • Is green tech imported or produced domestically?

Further notes on topic areas from the PEDL workshop on firms and climate change, January 2021:


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 FCDO 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 ongoing and varied impacts of COVID-19, it is expected that proposals involving face-to-face interaction will clearly explain their planned safety measures and contingency plans in the proposal. 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 the PEDL team at [email protected].


Application Resources:

Information Pre-Application:

Application Templates:

For PEDL Grant Holders: