First Call for Small Research Grant Proposals



First Call for Small Research Grant Proposals 


DEADLINE: 1 June 2021 - NOW OPEN

STEG invites applications for the first round of Small Research Grants.

The objective of STEG is to fund cutting-edge, policy-oriented research that could be published in leading academic journals while simultaneously being relevant to the policy dialogue in low- and middle-income countries. The research agenda will evolve as STEG is implemented, but initially STEG will welcome grant applications that address the broad area of structural transformation and economic growth in low- and middle-income countries. 

Any comparison of low-income countries and developed economies immediately points to striking differences in their structural features. Relative to the advanced economies, the least developed are disproportionately rural and agrarian, more reliant on self-employment and small-scale subsistence production, and less integrated into local, national, and international markets. Economic growth is critical for sustained poverty reduction in low-income economies, but it will surely involve dramatic shifts in the structure of economic activity. A research programme which can inform policies for structural transformation must address a variety of issues and incorporate a variety of approaches.

STEG will therefore pursue a range of approaches that promise to produce credible research results that will be useful for policymaking and to support research related to different aspects of structural transformation.

Research may focus on:

  1. Broad systemic patterns and processes of structural transformation and growth for low- and middle-income countries, in a comparative sense across time or space.
  2. More narrowly defined topics related to one or more of the following related research themes: 
    • Data, measurement, and conceptual framing;
    • Firms, frictions and spillovers, and industrial policy;
    • Labour, home production, and structural transformation at the level of households;
    • Agricultural productivity and sectoral gaps;
    • Trade and spatial frictions;
    • Political economy and public investment.
  1. We note that these are not exclusive lists of themes and topics. Other issues of strong relevance to structural transformation and growth will also be welcome; for example, the effects of demographic change, the role of skills and human capital, the growing relevance of the digital economy, public finance and its relation to long-term growth, and the importance of infrastructure investments and management.

We also encourage all proposals additionally to consider addressing one or more of the cross-cutting issues that are central to STEG’s research objectives. Research speaking to these issues will receive particular consideration:

  • Gender;
  • Climate change and the environment;
  • Inequality and inclusion.

More information on STEG's research themes and cross-cutting issues will be available in our upcoming Research Strategy.

Small Research Grants (SRGs) of between £10,000 and £25,000 are our primary research funding vehicle. Although we expect to offer a few larger research grants (LRGs), we expect that most researchers (including less established researchers) will make use of the SRGs to support their work.

These grants will fund research assistance, data collection and/or purchase, and potentially teaching buyouts (if necessary).  Grants will also support travel to field sites, even when secondary data is utilised. We view this kind of travel (with the possibilities for field visits and conversations with policy makers) as particularly important for researchers who lack prior experience in the countries that they intend to study. Please note that cost effectiveness and value for money are important evaluation criteria and submitted budgets will have to adhere to the STEG Budget Guidelines.

A STEG SRG is intended to be completed within a 12-month period. Please note that contracts should be signed within one month of the outcome notification, which is also the expected start date for the projects.
23:59 GMT+1, 1 June 2021. Applications received after this time will be considered for the next regular SRG round.

We recommend that applicants consult the SRG Applicant Guide before applying. More information on country criteria, eligibility, grant set-up, and how to apply as well as access to the online application form is available on the STEG website


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STEG is a research initiative that aims to provide a better understanding of structural change, productivity and growth in low- and middle-income countries that is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
The programme is led by CEPR in co-operation with Oxford University, the University of Notre Dame, the African Center for Economic Transformation, the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale, and Groningen Growth and Development Centre of the University of Groningen.