Special ERG Call on the Economic Impacts of Coronavirus

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

PEDL invites applications to this special Exploratory Research Grant call for projects addressing the economic impacts of coronavirus that relate to the PEDL and CDC Group initiatives. These impacts are already being severely felt across the world and for many developing regions the worst is still to come. PEDL, alongside its new partner CDC Group, is looking to fund research that can inform policymakers and other stakeholders on the economic impacts of coronavirus in developing countries so that the costs can be mitigated as much as possible.

Unlike usual calls for exploratory research grant (ERG) proposals, PEDL and CDC are following a different evaluation procedure for this particular call:

  • We are initially requesting expressions of interest to be sent to [email protected] with the subject line “Coronavirus EOI [PI Name]”. These should primarily cover discussion of the research question and the data sample to be used and should not exceed 500 words. Brief descriptions of methodology and links to academic literature can also be included.
  • These will be reviewed as soon as possible, and we will then ask those most aligned with the PEDL and CDC programmes to submit a formal proposal.
  • Formal evaluations of the proposals will take place on a rolling basis so as to commence research as soon as possible.

While PEDL and CDC’s research focuses overlap in several areas, listed below are several examples of topics of particular interest related to coronavirus for each organisation. For PEDL, these areas include:

  • Income transfers to labour and firms (of all sizes, both formal and informal)
  • Disruption to markets
  • Disruption to supply chains, especially those of critical sectors (e.g. food, export sectors with continued demand, etc.)

Areas of particular interest to CDC include:

  • The provision of finance to large firms and the effectiveness of current financing models to deal with the impacts of coronavirus
  • How firms will maintain employment relations and what are the most likely consequences for skilled and unskilled labour
  • Disruption to supply chains as outlined above

The topics listed here are not exhaustive and, through the expressions of interest, we are happy to consider other areas that you believe are relevant to PEDL and CDC's initiatives.

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 but this may vary depending on the research question.

Please note that contracts should be signed within one month of the outcome notification, which is also the expected start date for the projects. Given the current situation, however, we would like this to be shorter if possible.

ERGs are designed to be contracted directly with individual researchers. The individual researcher will be responsible for receiving, spending and reporting on funds. There is typically no institutional involvement unless required, for example, to support fieldwork. In exceptional circumstances and with significant justification, contracts can be drafted with the researcher's home institution, but terms for these contracts are non-negotiable and they cannot include any home institution 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 and CDC Programme. See the list of LICs and DFID- and CDC-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. For proposals of especial relevance to CDC, those in countries with higher investment from CDC are more likely to receive funding. 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].



Formal proposals should be submitted by 23:59 BST, 1 June 2020 (CLOSED). Those received after this time will be considered for the next regular ERG round.

For those who are still awaiting the outcome of their EOI post-deadline, if successful, sufficient time will be given to submit a full proposal. For those whose EOI has been accepted, more information on how to formally submit an application as well as access to the online application form are available here.


Notes for those formally applying post-EOI:

  • 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: