Exploratory Research Grant FAQs

Who can apply for an Exploratory Research Grant?

Only individuals can apply for an ERG. The grants will be issued through a contract between CEPR and the successful applicant directly. In exceptional circumstances, a contract with an institution can be issued, but the contract will be non-negotiable, and the institution cannot take any overheads. This also applies to doctoral students.

PEDL invites applications from researchers located anywhere in the world.


How can I apply for an Exploratory Research Grant?

Applications for an ERG should be submitted through the website here. Please first read How to apply for an Exploratory Research Grant.


Can I apply as a team?

Yes you may apply as a team, but only one researcher should submit the proposal as the representative of the team. That individual will be the named individual on the contract and will be responsible for the project implementation, should it be successful.


Is there a deadline for proposal submission?

Proposals can be submitted at any time. However, deadlines are usually placed once every quarter. This allows PEDL to evaluate proposals in groups. The deadlines for upcoming calls will be available via the PEDL website and newsletter.


When will applicants be notified of the call's results?

The aim is to notify applicants within three months of the proposal deadline.


Can a rejected proposal be resubmitted?

Only those who have been explicitly invited to do so may resubmit a previously unsuccessful proposal. The purpose of the 'by invitation' policy is to allow for amendments and/or improvements of proposals that the Evaluation Committee considers to have the potential to be funded.

There is no guarantee that a resubmitted proposal will be successful.

Proposals must be resubmitted through the PEDL online submission system, and must be accompanied by a letter stating and describing the revisions that have been applied. Applications must be identified as resubmissions by ticking the appropriate “resubmission” box.


Can I submit more than one proposal in a round?

No person can be the principal investigator (PI) on two different proposals within the same ERG proposal round. However, it is permitted for a person to be PI for one proposal while only being a co-investigator (Co-I) for another.  If not listed as a PI, an individual can be included as a Co-I in as many as two proposals in a given round of ERGs.

Further, it is possible to be the PI on two different but concurrent ERG proposal rounds.


Should PEDL research proposals be based on a purely economic and quantitative approach, or is there scope for applications involving other disciplines to be considered?

The programme is open to mixed / multi-disciplinary approaches. However, the core of the approach should be related to the literature in economics and grounded primarily in economic issues.


What can be included under equipment?

It is expected that researchers and institutions provide their own IT equipment such as tablets, mobile phones, laptops and computers for the duration of the project. In exceptional circumstances these can be included in the budget, but strong justification will be requirement, and a maximum of £500 for items of equipment will be applied.


Is the start date of the project negotiable? Is it possible to ask for a delayed start date?

Yes, with sufficient justification. However, consideration will be given to the extent of the delay, which may have a bearing on the decision.


What are the preferred outputs for Exploratory Research Grants? Would it be in the form of a paper/report, policy briefing or academic journal article?

Projects are expected to produce high-quality academic papers. However, a policy brief should also be produced, to highlight the policy-relevant results.


Are there specific affiliation requirements?

There are no particular affiliation requirements for individuals applying for ERGs. Please note, however, that these grants are intended to fund research rather than supporting programmes.


Does PEDL have criteria relating to in which countries research can take place?

A guide to PEDL's 2022 updated country criteria can be found here. PEDL's focus is on all LICs and any Tier 1 LMICs (i.e. LMICs in which FCDO has a bilateral programme).


Will PEDL fund any research in countries other than the low-income and lower-middle-income countries where FCDO has a programme?

PEDL will consider proposals for research in other LMICs but they should make a clear case for the relevance of the research to policy in LICs, and also justify why the research is only feasible in a non-focus country (e.g. because of exceptional data availability). Note that we are currently unable to fund projects located in Myanmar and Palestine.


Which countries are classified as 'fragile and conflict affected'?

There is no unanimous agreement on classification of countries by these criteria. Some guidance can be found on the following sites:


Can I apply for funding to work on a theory paper?

It is possible, but you will need to very carefully justify why the project is relevant to policy in LICs.


Can I include a payment for myself in the budget?

Yes, but proposals will be judged on a 'value for money' criteria, therefore any payment should be adequately justified. As per the ERG Budget Guidelines, research stipends are eligible costs under PEDL to the extent that PIs and Co-Is are directly involved in providing services to the project. Stipends for senior researchers working in upper-middle and high-income countries are not funded under the ERG programme. Stipends for PhD students are capped at £12,000 for students in programmes located in HICs and the PPP equivalent for students in programmes located in LICs and MICs. Stipends for up to nine months of time are allowed for PhD students and researchers in LICs if these allow them to reduce teaching/administrative duties and therefore free up time for research. All research stipend costs will be evaluated for their value for money, and may require further justification or amendments before being approved by CEPR.


What is the average contract length of an Exploratory Research Grant?

ERGs typically run for 12 months. Formal requests for extension can be submitted with sufficient justification.


What criteria should the project budget comply with?

Please refer to the ERG Budget Guidelines.