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Pathways to Resilience in Semi-Arid Economies: Small Grants Programme First Call for Concept Notes

1. The PRISE Consortium

Pathways to Resilience In Semi-arid Economies (PRISE) is a new, five year research consortium funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the UK’s Department for International Development. PRISE is led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), with partners from the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, the University of Dar es Salaam, the London School of Economics, and IED Afrique. PRISE conducts research on inclusive, climate resilient development in African and Asian semi-arid lands in six core countries: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Pakistan, Senegal, Tajikistan and Tanzania).

PRISE is focused on the inclusive climate resilient development of semi-arid lands: development that both eliminates poverty and maximises people’s capacity to adapt to climate change. Our research focuses on mechanisms of economic growth and social development, including institutional and regulatory frameworks, markets, and bases of human and natural capital. Our work also considers how these factors affect vulnerability to, and are affected by, climate change, where they fail to meet the needs and aspirations of poor and marginalised people, and how to resolve the trade-offs between these different dimensions.

Our transdisciplinary research adopts a development-first rather than science-first approach, and will advise policymakers and decision makers contemplating uncertain interactions between climate change and economic development in fragile semi-arid lands. In PRISE we are engaging with business leaders, economic ministries, and regional economic communities to create new knowledge, and translate this knowledge into policies and investments which reduce poverty and strengthen adaptive capacity.

1.1 Objectives

PRISE is currently in its inception phase. The objectives of PRISE’s inception phase are to:

  • Develop baselines and assessments of current socio-economic and environmental contexts of semiarid lands and;
  • Assess drivers of change and vulnerability in semi-arid lands over the period to 2030.

PRISE is now inviting concept notes from early career researchers in application for a small grants programme to support research contributing to PRISE’s inception phase objectives and research priorities.

The project expects to award approximately 10 grants, each in the range of £3,000 - £5,000. Proposals offering exceptional value to PRISE might be eligible for additional funding.

PRISE particularly welcomes applications from researchers in developing countries, or associated with developing country research institutions.

2. The Small Grants Programme

2.1 What is it?

PRISE is now inviting concept notes from early career researchers in application for a small grants programme to support research contributing to PRISE’s inception phase objectives and research priorities.

The project expects to award approximately 10 grants, each in the range of £3,000 - £5,000. Proposals offering exceptional value to PRISE might be eligible for additional funding.

PRISE particularly welcomes applications from researchers in developing countries, or associated with developing country research institutions.

2.2 How does it work?

Applicants should complete and submit by email the attached PRISE Small Grants Programme Application Form by June 23rd 2014 to Helen Mountfort, the PRISE Consortium Coordinator (h.mountfort@odi.org.uk).

Applications will first be screened for eligibility (see criteria below). Ineligible applications will not be considered. Eligible applications evaluated against selection criteria (see below), and a shortlist presented to the PRISE consortium steering committee for approval.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Successful applications will lead to individual researchers being offered contracts for consultancy services by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

2.3 Eligibility criteria

  • The research focuses on either global semi-arid lands, or the semi-arid lands of one or more PRISE core countries (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Pakistan, Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania);
  • The research is based in empirical data (qualitative or quantitative) or modelling, not conceptual or theoretical analysis;
  • The research is original and has not been published elsewhere;
  • The research addresses at least one of the PRISE research priorities (see 2.5 below);
  • The research addresses at least one of the PRISE inception phase objectives (see 1.1 above);
  • The research will be completed by December 2014;
  • The applicant is either a PhD student or has completed their PhD within the last 3 years; and
  • The applicant is not currently enrolled as a student in, or employed by, the PRISE core consortium partners (ODI, LSE, University of Dar es Salaam, IED Afrique, SDPI). 

2.4 Research priorities

Research priorities in this call are:

  • The impacts of past climate-driven disasters, either in aggregate or by sector, or in terms of impacts on poverty reduction, and the efficacy of disaster risk reduction approaches and initiatives;
  • Strategic analysis of socio-economic development, drivers of growth, and poverty reduction;
  • Analyses of past infrastructure investments and current investment needs, and their relation to economic growth;
  • Analyses of key value chains, including issues of participation and barriers to participation, and the place of semi-arid lands in regional and international trade;
  • Strategic assessments of pastoralism and/or agricultural productivity in semi-arid areas, their economic value, and the potential impacts of climate change and increased climate variability;
  • Identification of critical natural resource dependencies;
  • Trends in poverty, governance, economic inclusion, marginalisation, service delivery, human capital, employment, and access to resources, and their implications for climate resilience in semi-arid areas;
  • Socio-economic drivers of change, including changes in demand, evolving trade patterns, policy trends (including drives to low carbon economies), and demographic and migration trends;
  • Environmental pressures, including issues related to scarcity in land, water and energy; and
  • Evaluations of adaptation policies and approaches in semi-arid areas, including the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to generating evidence based policy.

2.5 What we are looking for

PRISE is looking for applications that contribute new and original perspectives, are of high quality and address the consortium’s research priorities and inception phase objectives.

Successful applicants will be expected to produce an academic research paper that is open to being published as a PRISE Working Paper, and to make research data available to PRISE researchers.

2.6 Selection Criteria

Alignment with PRISE objectives and research priorities

 40%

Technical quality and innovation

 40%

Budget and value for money 

 20%

2.8 Milestones

Deadline for proposals                        June 23 2014

Successful applicants informed          July 18 2014

Final report                                          Before November 30 2014

2.9 Budgets

Up to £5,000 is available for grants to individuals or institutions to cover reasonable costs, which might include personnel fees, travel costs, field work expenses. Indirect costs and overheads will not be covered. There is the potential for projects that bring exceptional value to the programme to receive funding of up to £10,000.

 

Call document and Proposal Application Form