Small Research Grants
Small Research Grants (SRGs) of between £10,000 and £25,000 are our primary funding vehicle.
SRGs can fund research assistance, data collection and/or purchase, and potentially research stipends/teaching buyouts (if sufficiently justified). Grants 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 policymakers) 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 must adhere to the SRG Budget Guidelines, available at the bottom of this page.
Find our open and upcoming SRG funding calls here.
PhD Research Grants
While PhD students are eligible to apply to our Small Research Grant calls, we also issue special calls exclusively for PhD students in order to encourage broader participation in the programme. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a PhD programme to be eligible for these calls and will require a letter of support from their PhD supervisor sent no later than two weeks after the deadline to the STEG Team at [email protected].
PhD Research Grants (PhD RGs) of up to £15,000 can fund research assistance, data collection and/or purchase, and stipends. Stipends should only be requested if they allow the researcher(s) to reduce teaching/administrative duties and therefore free up time for research. Stipends are capped at £12,000 for PhD students in programmes located in high-income countries and the PPP equivalent for PhD students in programmes located in low- and middle-income countries. 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 policymakers) 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, available at the bottom of this document or this webpage.
The application process for PhD funding calls is the same as the process for SRG funding calls and uses the same proposal and budget templates. Find our open and upcoming PhD funding calls here.
Country and Policy Relevance
Please note that an important criterion for funding of proposals is the relevance to policy in low-income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Proposals focused on middle- and/or high-income countries need to make a clear case for the relevance of the research to policy in specific low-income countries. Proposals are also evaluated on the extent to which the research findings (including those from comparative work or from studies in other geographies) might be relevant to policy in specific sub-Saharan countries.
All funded projects, regardless of location, will have to discuss within their final report and research note (see SRG Applicant Guide, available at the bottom of this page) the potential lessons for policymakers in low-income and sub-Saharan countries.
We welcome applications to our SRG and PhD calls from researchers all over the world, and encourage applications that propose collaboration between researchers from lower- and higher-income countries.
In view of the current political situation and the imposition of economic sanctions on various Russian entities by Western governments, we are not currently able to accept proposals for projects that include researchers or members of the research team who are based at Russian institutions.
Principal investigators applying to SRG calls should currently have a PhD or be enrolled in a PhD programme. In exceptional circumstances, we will consider applications submitted by principal investigators who do not fit these criteria, however, they must be able to demonstrate a history of high-quality academic and/or policy-relevant research. Although there are no formal qualification requirements for co-investigators, co-investigators on STEG-funded projects usually have a PhD or are enrolled in a PhD programme. The knowledge, expertise, and qualifications of the entire research team will be taken into account when evaluating the proposal.
PhD Letters of Support
For all PhD students acting as principal investigators, we require a letter of support from your PhD supervisor no later than two weeks after the deadline. A PDF of the letter can be sent to the STEG Team at [email protected].
For the advisor: Please discuss the feasibility of the research proposal, the intellectual support which the student will receive from advisors and others, an assessment of the student’s ability to carry out the research, and of the student’s longer-term potential as a researcher.
Researchers whose proposals rely on face-to-face surveys or interactions should clearly discuss the implications for the project of potential delays, and the alternatives to face-to-face fieldwork, in the event that the fieldwork is delayed by COVID-19. This can be included in the methodology section of the proposal template. Any fieldwork will need to be cleared by the researcher’s 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.
SRGs and PhD RGs are designed to be contracted directly with individual researchers. The individual researcher is responsible for receiving, spending, and reporting on funds. However, where this raises significant complications, we can consider alternative mechanisms. These contracts are non-negotiable, and no overhead fees can be taken. Please look at our individual contract template, available at the bottom of this webpage, before applying.
Call and Grant Timeline
We aim to issue funding decisions within three months of the deadline for receipt of proposals. Successful proposals are then announced on the STEG website, together with a description of the work supported, no later than one month after contract signature.
An SRG or PhD RG is intended to be completed within 12 months. Please note that contracts should be signed within one month of the return of the final decision, which is also the expected project start date.
More detailed information on the call and grant timeline can be found in the SRG Applicant Guide, available at the bottom of this page.
Evaluation and Selection
Evaluation and selection are based on the following criteria:
- Quality of the proposed research
- Relevance to policy
- Feasibility and credibility of the proposal
- Value for money
- Contributions to expanding the field
More detailed information on the weighting of these categories and the evaluation and selection process can be found in the SRG Applicant Guide, available at the bottom of this page.
If you wish to read more about the structure of our SRG and PhD programmes, please consult our SRG Applicant Guide, SRG Budget Guidelines and SRG FAQs through the links below, or alternatively, contact the STEG Team at [email protected].