Small Research Grants (SRGs) of between £10,000 and £25,000 are our primary research funding vehicle. Although we offer Larger Research Grants (LRGs), most researchers (including less established researchers) will make use of the SRGs to support their work.
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 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 must adhere to the SRG Budget Guidelines, available at the bottom of this page.
Research may focus on broad systemic patterns and processes of structural transformation and growth for low- and middle-income countries, in a comparative sense across time or space, or more narrowly defined topics related to one or more of our research themes. Other areas of interest may not fit cleanly into any of the themes but are centrally relevant to STEG and are also encouraged.
STEG is also focused around three cross-cutting issues that are simultaneously relevant to many areas of structural transformation, including the six research themes: gender, climate change and the environment, and inequality and inclusion. Research proposals speaking to these issues will receive particular consideration.
More information on research themes and cross-cutting issues can be found in upcoming Research Strategy, available at the bottom of this page.
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 calls from researchers all over the world. There are currently no restrictions based upon nationality or where researchers are employed.
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.
We welcome submissions from PhD students/candidates to our regular SRG calls. 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. If you have questions on this, please contact STEG at [email protected].
SRGs 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 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.
PhD Research Grants
While PhD students/candidates are eligible to apply to any SRG funding call, we periodically issue special calls exclusively for PhD students in order to encourage broader participation in the programme. PhD Research Grants are similar to SRGs except funding is only available up to £15,000.
Applicants must be currently enrolled in a PhD programme to be eligible for these calls. We require a letter of support from your PhD supervisor. Please ensure that we receive this letter from your supervisor no later than two weeks after the deadline. A PDF of the letter can be sent to the STEG Team at [email protected].
More detailed information on the structure of PhD Research Grants 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 programme, 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].