Call for Proposals: Advancing Local Leadership, Innovation and Network (ALL-IN) Research Grant


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

Anticipated 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, there will be offered a seed grant funding window.  Seed grants will provide modest funding ($5000) and other support to allow the development of a full proposal in time for submission in November 2020.

Application link and proposal requirements:


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)[1] 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.

Scope of Research and Geographic Focus

ALL-IN calls for researchers at African institutions to take the lead in defining priorities within the following thematic areas:

  • Resilient Escapes from Poverty: Bundled programs that can have a bigger and more lasting impact on persistent poverty than the sum of their parts.
  • Financial and Agronomic Innovations for Inclusive Growth and Resilience: Expanding the potential of insurance, stress-tolerant seeds and other tools to manage the risk of drought, flood or other disasters.
  • Resilient Systems for Broadly-based Agricultural Growth: Ensuring that markets and other social systems are competitive and do not bypass women and young people.

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).

Eligibility & Definition of African Research Institution

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 .

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.

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