Exploratory Research Grants

PEDL will support approaches that promise to produce credible research results that will be useful for policy-making. It will promote research related to private enterprises of all sizes and will initially focus on four research themes:

  • Market frictions, management and organizations
  • Trade and macro models - agglomeration and spatial location of firms
  • High growth entrepreneurship
  • Social compliance and the environment

Proposals that address the following cross-cutting issues will be encouraged.

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

Exploratory Grants are research grants of between £10,000 and £40,000 that are designed to allow researchers to:

  • explore new approaches to the study of firms in low-income-countries (LICs); and
  • to develop new (or build on) existing sources of data on firms in LICs.

Grant set-up:

Exploratory Research Grant (ERG) projects will run for 12 months.

Please note that contracts will be signed 3 months after the application deadline, which is also the expected start date for the projects.

Contracts are generally signed with the researcher directly; we do not anticipate any institutional involvement.

For further information on ERGs, please consult the FAQs.


Please note that an important criteria for funding of proposals is the relevance to policy in Low-Income Countries and other eligible countries as defined by the PEDL Programme. See the list of LICs and DFID focus countries here. Note that, at the moment, we are unable to fund projects located in Myanmar and Palestine.

Please note that South Sudan is also an eligible LIC.


The deadline for the 27th ERG round is 11.59pm GMT on September 30, 2018. Applications received after this time will be considered for the next ERG round.


How to apply for an Exploratory Grant

Budget Guidelines - these guidelines are applicable for all applications made on or before the 30th June 2017

New Budget Guidelines - these guidelines are applicable for all applications made on or after the 1st July 2017

Application Templates:

For PEDL Grant Holders: