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Frequently asked questions — Call for proposals: Establishing research chairs on forced displacement in the Middle East and East Africa

Eligibility

Budgetary considerations

Proposal submission

Selection and feedback

Eligibility

What countries are eligible?

This call for proposals targets universities based in low- and middle-income countries in Eastern Africa and the Middle East. For the purpose of this call, eligible countries in Eastern Africa are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan. Eligible countries in the Middle East are Lebanon, Jordan, Palestinian Territories, Iraq, and Egypt.

Please note that IDRC funds research in many countries in the Global South, but the Centre is bound by Canadian law, which may restrict or prohibit funding for research and organizations in specific countries and/or regions. For example, if the law limits banking transactions by Canadian financial institutions in a particular country, IDRC will not undertake any form of programming in the country.  

The proponent organization’s legal corporate registration must show that the jurisdiction of registration is the eligible country. For IDRC to enter into an agreement with your organization, IDRC must be satisfied that the organization has independent legal status (or “legal personality”) and is capable of contracting in its own right and name.

Can an application be made on behalf of a consortium of two or more partners? (Including South-South or North-South collaborations)

The application must be made on behalf of one university based in one of the eligible countries. While the grant will only establish one research chair position per university, applicants are encouraged to detail in their application any planned partnerships or collaboration with other academic or non-academic institutions, including how these partnerships will factor into the activities of the Research Chair.

Are there any restrictions on the proposed thematic focus of the research chair?

The proposed research chair may focus on any number of topics related to forced displacement. Applications should make clear how the proposed thematic focus:

  • addresses critical gaps in regional knowledge and/or capacity relating to forced displacement
  • complements IDRC’s strategic objectives
  • promotes a multisectoral and interdisciplinary approach

Are there any disciplines excluded from this call?

No. This call encourages applicants to take a multidisciplinary approach to defining the focus of the research chair. The focus of the Research Chair should also complement IDRC’s strategic priorities. For more information, please consult the detailed call for proposal.

Will applications be considered from institutions that are unable to contribute in-kind or cash contributions amounting to between 20 and 30% of the value of the grant?

Contributions from the hosting university of between 20 and 30% are encouraged. To be considered, applicants need to demonstrate concrete plans for sustaining the research chair position beyond the four to five years of funding provided by the grant.

Who should apply to this call? Is it open to university staff?

For this call, applications must be made on behalf of university institutions rather than individual researchers/professors. The focus of this call is to establish the Research Chair within the applying university, rather than to select a researcher to occupy the research chair position. The applying institution must be based in an eligible country. Depending on the structure of the university, the application may be best submitted by a department head, a director of research, or similar university staff member. 

Will preference be given to existing IDRC partners?

No. This is an open and competitive call. All eligible applications will be considered

To be eligible, is the applying university required to have existing curriculum relating to the study of forced displacement?

While this is not a requirement, one element of the selection criteria is demonstrated expertise in research, teaching, and engagement on forced displacement. Please consult the selection criteria in the detailed call for proposal for more information.

Can a university use the grant to establish more than one Research Chair? Can the grant be used to establish co-Chairs?

No. The establishment of the Research Chair was conceived of as one position for one person in order to ensure sustainability of the chair over the long-term. While we will not consider proposals for co-chairs, we do welcome applications which include collaboration between different parts of the university system and with non-academic actors, as well as proposals that encourage multidisciplinary approaches. Any such collaborations should be detailed in the application.

 

Selection of the Research Chair

Who can apply to be the Research Chair? Should a Chair already be selected at the time of application?

At this first phase, applications should detail the process by which the Research Chair will be selected, including details on how this will be an open and competitive process. On that basis, IDRC will select up to four universities to receive funding to establish a Research Chair position. In a second phase of the process, successful universities will recruit the Research Chair, either internally or externally to the university, following the criteria and the process detailed in the application.

Can an internal candidate from the applying university be recruited to fill the research chair position?

Yes. The research chair can be recruited internally or externally.

Can a candidate from the diaspora be recruited to fill the research chair position? 

The selection of a research chair should reflect the aim of the call and IDRC’s mandate to support researchers in developing countries. The candidate selected to fill the research chair position should have deep knowledge of the region, political context, and relevant local language(s).

Does the Research Chair need to have the same nationality as the country in which the university is based?

No. If selected for funding, the university establishing the Research Chair can recruit the occupant of that position from the region in question or the diaspora, so long as the recruitment process is open and competitive and complies with the objectives of the call for proposals in terms of localizing research on forced displacement.

What is IDRC’s role in the selection of the candidate to fill the Research Chair position?

At this first phase, applications should detail the process by which the Research Chair will be selected, including details on how this will be an open and competitive process. On that basis, IDRC will select up to four universities to receive funding to establish a Research Chair position. In a second phase of the process, successful universities will recruit the Research Chair, either internally or externally to the university, following the criteria and the process detailed in the application. IDRC will be kept closely informed of this process.

Can the fund go towards an endowment?

No, the funds cannot go towards an endowment. The grant is meant to establish a new Research Chair position.

Is there any flexibility in the duration of the funding offered?

We consider four to five years as the minimum duration of funding for the research chair to ensure sustainability of the position over the long term. We welcome proposals between four and five years. Applicants may propose strategies to extend the duration of the chair beyond five years through supplementation or other means.

Budgetary considerations

In which currency should I submit the budget?  

Budgets must be submitted in the applicant’s working currency (the currency in which the books of accounts are maintained). However, as a Canadian Crown corporation, IDRC restricts all of its contractual obligations for grants and contributions to the approved Canadian dollar amount. See For more information about project currency and conversion, see section D of IDRC’s How to apply for and manage an IDRC research grant

Does the budget need to follow a set template?  

Applicants can submit their budget in the format of their choice. The budget should indicate planned expenses over the duration of the grant. Categories include personnel, consultants, evaluation, equipment, international travel, training, research expenses, and indirect costs. For guidance on eligible expenses, see section D of IDRC’s How to apply for and manage an IDRC research grant.

What is the total value of the grant? Does this amount include in-kind contributions from the applying institution? Can applicants count in-kind contributions of time from NGOs and community partners?

The total amount of each grant will be up to CAD 600,000 to cover the salary, research expenses, and operational expenses of the Research Chair position. For more detail, please consult the detailed call for proposal. In-kind contributions would be in addition to this amount. In-kind contributions of time from NGO or other partners external to the university are welcome, but the selection committee will also be looking  for evidence of sustainability of the position beyond the grant. For more information, please consult the selection criteria.

Is there any flexibility in the duration of the funding offered?

We consider four to five years as the minimum duration of funding for the research chair to ensure sustainability of the position over the long term. We welcome proposals between four and five years. Applicants may propose strategies to extend the duration of the chair beyond five years through supplementation or other means.

Proposal submission

Is there a template/specific structure that proposals should follow?

The full application for this call for proposals should be completed via the online application platform: https://idrc-crdi.smapply.io/prog/middle_east_and_east_africa_research_chairs/. Once you create an application, you will be prompted to answer a series of questions which will form the basis of your application/proposal. We encourage applicants to consult the selection criteria in the detailed call for proposal when completing these questions.

Should the call include letters of engagement (or interest) of NGOs and other stakeholders associated to the application?

We welcome letters of engagement with NGOs and other stakeholders, and these can be uploaded as supporting documents as part of the online application. These are not required.

When is the application due? 

The application must be submitted by 17:00 PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on August 3, 2021.

Which browser is best to use to open the online application platform? 

We recommend that you use one of the following browsers: Safari, Chrome, or Microsoft Edge. We do not recommend that you use Internet Explorer.  

Can an institution submit more than one application?  

No.

Can applications be submitted in French?  

Yes. 

Can our application provide electronic signatures where signatures are required? 

Yes, electronic signatures are permitted.

Can I submit my application by email?

We require applicants to apply using the SurveyMonkey Apply system and submit all required information and documents before the deadline. However, we do understand that some applicants may face technical difficulties in uploading the required information. If this is your case, please do the following:   

  • If you are having technical problems uploading the required documents, please write immediately to gj@idrc.ca and describe the problem. We will connect you with our IT system specialist who will work with you to solve the problem.  
  • If you continue to have a problem and our IT specialist is unable to solve the issue, please send an email to gj@idrc.ca requesting permission to submit the application via email. 
  • Once you have received permission from IDRC, you can then submit via email.  

Applications submitted directly by email WITHOUT HAVING OBTAINED PRIOR APPROVAL from IDRC WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  

Please note that, regardless of how you submit, applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.  

If I have questions on the call for proposal, where should I turn?  

The call documents and this FAQ page should address most relevant application questions and are updated regularly. However, if additional technical questions or difficulties arise, please contact gj@idrc.ca 

All enquiries should be received on or before 17:00 EDT on July 26, 2021 in order to receive a response prior to the deadline.   

Selection and feedback

When can applicants expect to receive a response to their proposal? 

We aim to provide notification of results (technical selection) by September 10, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. Following this, the applicant will receive correspondence from an IDRC program officer, who will communicate the continuing process and issues to be addressed (technical, timelines, milestones, budget, etc.) in the grant agreement.  

Will applicants receive feedback on their application? 

IDRC will share feedback on the selected proposals with successful applicants. Given that the volume of applications is not yet known, at this time IDRC is not planning to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications. If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a notification following the review.