You are here

Major Research Grants

Current Open Calls:

There are currently one open BII Major Research Grant call on Development Finance.

Research Topics:

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. We welcome proposals in any area related to private sector development in low-income countries. We expect that many of the funded proposals will relate to one of PEDL’s four main research themes:

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

We are particularly interested in proposals addressing issues of climate resiliency and adaptation. More information on priority issues within the climate change and environment theme is available in the February 2022 Special ERG call on Climate Change, available here.

We also particularly encourage proposals that address one or more of PEDL’s three cross-cutting themes. Applicants will be particularly encouraged to consider these three issues in their projects, and proposals addressing these themes have an increased chance of receiving funding.

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

For a more comprehensive description of the new research agenda, please see our Research Strategy. You can view the descriptions of past major grant projects funded by the PEDL initiative here.

Optional Expressions of Interest:

Researchers are invited to submit a one or two-page description of their project in advance of the full proposal. When we have a call open, we will aim to provide feedback on the fit of the proposal with the PEDL program within a week of submission, but encourage researchers to submit this expression of interest well in advance of a full proposal submission deadline. The optional submission of an expression of interest is intended to reduce the initial effort required for those researchers who are unsure of their project’s alignment with PEDL’s themes. Expressions of interest should be submitted to [email protected].

Grant Set-Up:

Major Research Grants have an average grant size of £300,000. Note however that whilst there is a lower limit of £100,000 for each Major Grant, there is no upper limit. Cost effectiveness and value for money are important evaluation criteria. These grants will fund research assistance, data collection and new surveys in low-income countries, and (where necessary) teaching buyouts for the principal investigator.

MRGs typically run for between 24 and 36 months.

MRGs are designed to be contracted with institutions. While we try to remain as flexible as possible, the contracts were approved with FCDO and therefore are non-negotiable. Please look at our contract templates before applying. Please also note that due to local Indian regulations regarding the return of foreign funds, any contract with an Indian institution will be invoice based with no funds paid up front.

For further information on MRGs, 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 initiative. 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). 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.

COVID-19 Considerations:

Researchers whose proposals rely on face-to-face surveys or interventions should clearly discuss the implications for the project of potential delays, and the alternatives to face-to-face field work, in the event that the fieldwork is delayed by COVID-19 or similar pandemic event. This can be included in the methodology section of the proposal template. Any fieldwork will need to be cleared by the applicable university and, where possible, in-country IRBs. Decisions on fieldwork should follow the advice of governments. Finally, any proposal that includes face-to-face interaction should also 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 the PEDL Team at [email protected].

Deadline:

There is currently no open Major Research Grant call.

Resources and Templates:

Information Pre-Application:

Application Templates:

For PEDL Grant Holders: