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Exploratory Research Grants

The Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) programme pursues a research agenda that aims to better understand what determines the strength of market forces driving efficiency in low-income countries (LICs). Existing research suggests that the private sector in LICs faces a multitude of constraints that act upon each other. What is needed is research that allows us to understand how these constraints interact.

The objective of PEDL is to fund cutting-edge, policy-oriented research that could be published in leading academic journals and be relevant to the policy dialogue in LICs. It will promote research related to private enterprises of all sizes and invites applications in any aspect of private sector development, with a particular emphasis on PEDL’s four priority research areas:

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

We also particularly encourage proposals that address one or more of PEDL’s three cross-cutting themes:

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

More information on PEDL's research and cross-cutting themes can be found in our Research Strategy.

ERGs are designed to allow researchers to:

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

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.

 

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 DFID 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.

 

COVID-19:

At present we are not able to support face-to-face research, but given decision lags, it is possible that the situation will have changed by the time decisions are made. Researchers whose proposals rely on face-to-face surveys or interventions should be aware that the timing of their research may be affected by conditions at the time decisions are made. Any decision will consider the advice of governments, among others, and so it is possible that the viability of this type of research will differ by country. Any proposal that includes face-to-face interaction should briefly make clear how the researchers intend to ensure the safety of researchers and any participants involved in the study. If you have questions on this, please contact Ed Sellers at [email protected].

 

Deadline:

There is currently no open ERG call. Please see the list of open and upcoming calls here.

More information on how to apply as well as access to the online application form are available here.

 

Notes:

  • 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 regular Exploratory Research Grant call"

 

Resources:

Information Pre-Application:

Application Templates:

For PEDL Grant Holders: