Exploratory Research Grant FAQs

Who can apply for a PEDL Grant?

Only individuals can apply for a PEDL Exploratory Grant. PEDL Exploratory 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 applies also to Doctoral students.


How can I apply for a Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) Grant?

Applications for a PEDL Exploratory Research Grant should be submitted through the website here.


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.


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

The aim is to notify applicants within 3 months from the proposal deadline.


Is there a deadline for the proposals submission?

Proposals can be submitted at any time. However, deadlines are usually placed once every quarter. This allows PEDL to evaluate proposals in groups.


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?

No person can be the Principal Investigator on two different proposals within the same ERG proposal round. However, it is permitted for a person to be Principle Investigator for one proposal while only being a team member for another.

Further, it is possible to be the Principal Investigator 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 the 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 PEDL Exploratory Research Grants. Please note, however, that these grants are intended to fund research rather than supporting programs.


Which countries qualify as low-income countries (LICs)?

Countries that are listed in the most recent version of the World Bank's Country Classification. As of May 2018, there are 34 Low-Income Countries:

Afghanistan, Benin,Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Dem Rep. of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.


Are there other groups of countries which are given special consideration?

The PEDL priority countries are those classified as low-income and those lower-middle income countries with a DFID bilateral programme. We will consider proposals from other lower-middle income countries, but only if a compelling case can be made that the research is relevant for policy in the priority countries and that there are reasons the research cannot be carried out in a priority country (e.g., because of exceptional data availability).This case must include concrete steps in the Policy Impact Plan to reach policymakers in LICs. The middle-income countries in which DFID currently has a programme are:

Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan), Myanmar, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Yemen and Zambia.

Tier 2: Republic of Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Honduras, Lesotho, Mauritania and Papua New Guinea.


Will PEDL fund any research in countries other than LICs and the MICs where DFID has a program?

Yes, but a strong case must be made that the research is relevant for policy in LICs. This case must include concrete steps in the Policy Impact Plan to reach policymakers in LICs. In the case of MICs where DFID is not active, or higher-income countries, the case for relevance to LIC policy must be very strong.

Table of Low-Income Countries and DFID programme countries

Table of DFID bilateral programme countries


Does the research have to use data from a low-income country on the list?

No, but the research needs to be relevant to private enterprise development in low-income countries. If your project relates to another country, then you will need to justify why what we will learn is relevant for low income countries.


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 low-income countries.


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 PEDL ERG Budget Guidelines, Research Stipends are eligible costs under PEDL to the extent that PIs and Co-PIs 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 program. Stipends for PhD students are capped at £12,000 for students in programs located in high-income countries. Stipends for up to 9 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.


How do I apply for an Exploratory Grant?

Please read How do I apply for an Exploratory Grant?


What criteria should the project budget comply with?

Please refer to the New Budget Guidelines.