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Call for Proposal – Advancing Local Leadership, Innovation and Network (ALL-IN) Research Grant
The Advancing Local Leadership, Innovation and Networks (ALL-IN) program, a collaborative research grant program between The Feed the Future Market Risk and Resilience Innovation Lab (MRR) and the International Center for Evaluation and Development (ICED) and funded by USAID announces a call for research proposals from researchers at African institutions (defined below) to advance host country leadership in defining and implementing research projects.
Selected research projects will further the mission of the MRR Innovation Lab to generate and transfer into action innovations that will bolster resilience, keeping rural individuals, households, communities and markets in positions of economic viability from which they can sustain and accelerate a path of inclusive agricultural growth.
Effectively meeting the mission described above requires shifting the locus of research control to economists in African countries. ALL-IN is designed to provide the historically under-resourced African economic research community the resources it needs to fully engage and further develop and to fully utilize local institutions’ clear pathways to local policy impacts. African researchers will take the lead in defining priorities and will then draw on US university-based mentors for support as needed to enhance their capacity in implementation and management of large-scale research projects.
We invite researchers and institutions that have the skills, talents and ideas for impactful research, even if lacking in experience implementing and managing large-scale research projects. As part of this award, the ALL-IN collaborative team will provide, as needed and appropriate, support to researchers and their project managers in developing the capacity to manage and lead this award and others of a similar nature in the future. This award is intended to provide the opportunity to institutions – both researchers and staff – to learn by doing, in collaboration with mentors and peers at the ALL-IN management institutions.
All selected recipients of research funding under ALL-IN will be onboarded as an independent cohort and then become part of the MRR Innovation Lab’s virtual research consortium, which will meet annually for peer review and feedback on projects. These meetings, along with other ad-hoc meetings as appropriate, will provide the opportunity to further enhance capacity, create opportunities for future areas of inquiry and both broaden and deepen research networks for all participants.
Question and Answer Session #1 16 July, 4 p.m. EAT
Expressions of Interest Deadline: 1 August 2020
Question and Answer Session #2 20 August, 4 p.m. EAT
Proposal Deadline: 30 August 2020
We anticipate that 9-12 awards will be made under this request for proposals with a maximum award amount of $450,000.
In order to encourage researchers with ideas that are promising, but not yet fully developed, we will offer a seed grant funding window. Seed grants will provide modest funding (~$5000) and other support to allow development of a full proposal in time for submission in November 2020.
ALL-IN calls for researchers at African institutions to take the lead in defining priorities within the following thematic areas:
The grant selection committee will prioritize proposals that will allow contribute to local policy-relevant research questions in the thematic areas above. For examples of potential research topics, please see appendices 1 and 2. Across all our research priorities, we also encourage projects that include deliberate learning objectives related to gender, youth and nutrition either as a primary focus of the research or as a relevant cross-cutting issue(s).
Research proposals should ultimately be focused on achieving global and/or regional impacts. While some exceptions may be made, field-based research activities should take place in Feed the Future target, resilience focus countries or Feed the Future aligned as indicated by USAID (with top favorability to feed the future target countries, then resilience focus countries, then aligned as the least favored of the three categories).
This solicitation’s eligibility is limited to researchers from local African Institutions who are interested in advancing the research agenda of MRR and ALL-IN especially those in Feed the Future target, Feed the Future aligned or resilience-focus countries in Africa as indicated by USAID. Following USAID practice, we define a local African institution as 1) majority African owned and/or managed and 2) majority African board of directors composition. If you have questions about the eligibility of your institution, please contact ICED at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Each proposal must identify the lead-PI from the Africa-based research institution and have an identified mentor from a US-based university. If you have difficulty identifying a mentor or would like assistance getting in touch with a mentor you think may be appropriate, please contact the ALL-IN team through ICED and we will facilitate the contact.
The MRR Innovation Lab is funded in support of the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative and the related Global Food Security Act (GFSA) of 2016. The Global Food Security Research Strategy calls for a “pipeline of innovations, tools and approaches designed to improve agriculture, food security, resilience and nutrition priorities in the face of complex, dynamic challenges.” Because USAID and Feed the Future are the source of funding for these awards, projects are expected to contribute to the goals and objectives as outlined in the GFSA and the Global Food Security Research Strategy. Projects might also connect with non-Feed the Future USAID initiatives (such as PEPFAR).
Each USAID mission has its own set of strategic objectives, priority value chains and programming. We encourage you to explore your proposed country of study on the USAID website and the individual mission website to show how your activities relate to ongoing work at mission. A clear plan of outreach to and interaction with the mission throughout the life of the project is required.
Expression of Interest Deadline: 1 August 2020
These expressions of interest (EOIs) are used for the purposes of identifying the appropriate number of external reviewers with appropriate expertise. EOIs will not be screened, and every team that submits an EOI is eligible to submit a full proposal as described below. You MUST submit an EOI as a condition for submitting a full proposal.
Expressions of interest must include the following:
Expressions of interest must be submitted at the following link: https://mrr.piestar-rfx.com/opportunities/all/rfp/100
Submission Deadline for Full Proposals: 30 August 2020 (requirements described below)
Grant Duration: Up to 3 years
ICED is an international and independent think-tank, specializing in innovation and research in Monitoring and Evaluation for development. Managed and governed by highly experienced, renowned and passionate experts knowledgeable of current trends and issues in evaluation, research and development, ICED can operate effectively at the nexus between evaluation, knowledge translation and development.
This Africa based and African led organization is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards to support development in Africa in a manner that is consistent with our guiding principles. This commitment is evident in the work that we do and shared by our sponsors, partners, associates and other stakeholders.
Headquartered in Nairobi Kenya, ICED is registered in the United States, Ghana and Kenya as an international not-for-profit organization supporting evaluation research and innovation for development in Africa.
ICED’s core business seek to:
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience (MRR) at UC Davis develops and tests financial and market innovations that take the most promising agricultural tools for families in developing economies from the lab to the field. Our mission is to generate and transfer knowledge and innovations that promote resilience and empower rural families, communities and markets to share in inclusive agricultural growth. The MRR Innovation Lab focuses the most advanced tools in development economics and related fields on three core themes:
In addition to funding research and building the capacity of local institutions, we translate our work into accessible policy documents and sponsor outreach events that integrate our findings into a coherent and effective voice about priorities and options for governments, NGOs and others working to reduce poverty and increase prosperity worldwide.
The MRR Innovation Lab was established at UC Davis in 2019 by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (cooperative agreement no. 7200AA19LE00004).
Enabling Resilient Escapes from Poverty
We have learned that enhancing material assets, social assets, psychological well-being or risk management can alter poverty dynamics. The next step is to learn how to exploit the synergies between these interventions in order to cost-effectively address deep-rooted rural poverty at the individual and community scales, especially in the wake of violence and civil conflict. Illustrative examples include but are not limited to:
Financial and Agronomic Innovations for Inclusive Growth and Resilience:
Research bringing forward a series of index insurance innovations that can promote Resilience-Plus. We have also learned that insurance is no magic bullet, and we need a next generation of innovations to make index insurance more effective, and to open the door to a broader set of tools that allow individuals to flexibly blend financial (savings, credit and insurance) and agronomic instruments to manage the risks that threaten their resilience. Illustrative examples include but are not limited to:
Resilient Systems for Broadly-based Agricultural Growth
Prior research makes clear the power of relaxing system-level constraints, and yet we also know that market and other social systems can bypass men and women in vulnerable phases of their life cycle. Finding ways to supersede these tradeoffs and create systems that are competitive and inclusive is warranted. Illustrative examples include but are not limited to:
Across all our research priorities, we also encourage projects that include deliberate learning objectives related to gender, youth and nutrition either as a primary focus of the research or as a relevant cross-cutting issue(s).
Glenn Harrison, Georgia State University
John Hoddinott, Cornell University
Sarah Janzen, Kansas State University
Supreet Kaur, University of California Berkeley
Michael Kremer, Harvard University
Travis Lybbert, University of California Davis
Maria Porter, Michigan State University
Jonathan Robinson, University of California Santa Cruz
Elisabeth Sadoulet, University of California Berkeley
Ashish Shenoy, University of California Davis
Dean Yang, University of Michigan
 For brief descriptions of both the MRR Innovation Lab and ICED, please refer to the end of this RFP and the information provided on the websites found via the hyperlinks.
 The Question and Answer Sessions will both be held on Twitter via Twitter Chats. Follow @ICED_THINKTANK and @MRRInnovLab to stay engaged and join the chat. For those not able to join the chat, the questions and answers will all be posted on the ALL-IN Solicitation website after the chat.
 Feed the Future target countries in Africa include: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda.
 Resilience countries include: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
 “Aligned countries” are those in which the U.S. Government supports ongoing agricultural development programs but are not designated as target countries. This can be determined through a review of the relevant USAID mission strategy.