What we work on
The IGC’s research focuses on sustainable growth policies in developing countries. Sustainable growth refers to countries developing their potential in an inclusive way that improves social, environmental, and economic well-being for all, including for future generations.
It is increasingly clear that creating jobs, raising incomes and reducing poverty must go hand in hand with efforts to increase resilience to climate shocks and to accelerate the decarbonisation of energy supply and production to ensure the well-being of current and future generations.
We are interested in pilots, exploratory research, and full projects that address key growth challenges connected to one of our four themes, with a particular interest in those related to building resilience and promoting sustainable growth.
- Firms, trade, and productivity – Increasing productivity through structural changes in firms’ capabilities, the functioning of markets, and how firms interact with world markets. See here for our research priorities under this theme.
- State effectiveness – Improving the capabilities and effectiveness of states, including those affected by fragility, to deliver higher rates of sustainable growth. See here for our research priorities.
- Cities – Making cities more productive, sustainable, and inclusive while addressing the downsides of density. See here for our research priorities.
- Energy and environment – Improving access to reliable energy and developing strategies to mitigate and adapt to global and local externalities from energy consumption. See here for our research priorities.
Please see the latest policy memos on climate priorities from IGC countries here.
An updated research strategy is forthcoming, and will be published on the website prior to the call opening. Please refer to the updated strategy as you prepare your application.
Where we work
We have resident teams in 10 partner countries throughout Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Country offices allow the IGC to sustain long-term policy engagement, and help to ensure our work is demand-led.
Researchers are strongly encouraged to conduct their research in IGC partner countries, and to reach out to IGC country offices during the design and implementation phases of their research projects. Conducting research in countries where we have a country office comes with advantages – access to local research partners, datasets, and established, well-connected country teams. IGC staff provides dedicated support for policy engagement, facilitating meetings with policymakers and key stakeholders, and providing feedback on proposals and project outputs.
We also accept exceptional proposals for research in any other developing country that have the capability to influence global debates on sustainable growth, demonstrate a potential to significantly push the frontier of knowledge on a particular issue, and provide clear policy recommendations that are also relevant for IGC countries. These proposals will receive a higher level of scrutiny, and we expect them to be subject to a much higher level of competition.
For more information on our model, please visit our about section.
Types of awards
Full research grants
These grants are for research projects or proposals at a mature level of development. Not only must the research question be clear, but applicants must also demonstrate a commitment from implementing partners (if applicable), well-defined instruments, and a clearly defined research design. Proposals can be for any type of research, and we encourage the use of a variety of approaches, including using secondary or administrative data. Proposals can also be submitted for funding the continuation of research projects that have already started. The expectation is that these projects will result in a paper publishable in a top Economics journal, as well as generate significant policy impact. There is no limit on the amount that can be awarded. However, our average project budget is GBP 60,000, and we rarely fund projects over GBP 125,000.
Small research grants
These grants are for pilot studies and exploratory research only. Researchers applying for grants that meet ‘full research grant’ criteria but are lower than GBP 30,000 should only apply for full research grants.
Pilot grants will be awarded to projects with a reasonably well-developed research question, but for which the design and implementation requires further testing and pilot data before scale-up into a larger research study. New evidence from the pilot can also sometimes lead to an adjustment or reformulation of the research question. There is also an expectation that grant awardees engage with relevant policy stakeholders, implementation partners, and IGC country team for feedback during the pilot, to further shape their interventions and research design for scale-up.
Exploratory work relates to preliminary research ideas, such as conducting background research, developing partnerships, visiting field sites, and collecting preliminary data. The expectation is that these funds will be used to support costs related to the researcher’s travel and IGC country team and policymaker engagement to develop a proposal for a pilot or full-scale study during subsequent call for proposals. We do not expect to award more than GBP 20,000 for purely exploratory work that does not involve a pilot component. We encourage any researcher to apply for these, but in particular PhD students and early-career researchers.
Evaluation of proposals
Proposals are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Alignment with research strategy
- Quality of research design
- Policy impact
- Academic impact
- Engagement with local institutions, including IGC country teams
- Value for money