The Transform Nutrition Research Consortium, a network which seeks to transform thinking and action on nutrition among research, operational, and policy communities in South Asia and eastern Africa, invites proposals for studies of up to 24 months duration which will add to the evidence base on nutrition-relevant policy and action in eastern Africa.
Nutrition is foundational to the achievement of major social and economic goals, including many international development goals. Undernutrition in early life is responsible for 45% of under-five child deaths, reduced cognitive attainment, increased likelihood of poverty and is associated with increased maternal morbidity and mortality.
Child stunting rates in eastern Africa are among the highest in the world. The four countries in this call (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania) are home to around 13 million stunted children, and among the highest burden countries in the world. Ensuring food and nutrition security in the region can only occur through a combination of targeted “nutrition-specific” interventions and wider “nutrition-sensitive” development interventions, backed up by enabling policy, political and institutional environments, and processes. Political commitment to address undernutrition is growing in the region (all four countries, for example, have signed up to the SUN Movement) and nutrition policies and action plans are being drawn up or revised.
While progress is being made, much more can be done. Scoping work within both Transform Nutrition and A4NH have clearly revealed major operational and policy-related knowledge gaps that broadly relate to the thematic focus of this call. This call for concept notes is thus intended to help fill these knowledge gaps, through locally-relevant research undertaken by research organizations from the region.
This call seeks to engender a wider sense of engagement in nutrition-relevant research among national and regional stakeholders in four countries of eastern Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. We seek high quality research proposals on at least one of the following research themes:
Theme 1: How can nutrition-specific interventions be appropriately prioritized, implemented, scaled up, and sustained in different settings?
Theme 2: How can agriculture and the wider agri-food systems become more nutrition-sensitive and have a greater impact on nutrition outcomes?
Theme 3: How can enabling (policy and institutional) environments for nutrition be cultivated and sustained?
Cross-cutting issues include: governance, inclusion (socio-economic and gender equity) and fragility. Gendered approaches are especially important for proposals under Theme 2.
Eligibility criteria and important considerations:
- Applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with work underway or completed by Transform and A4NH (accessible via websites above) to maximize “value added” and complementarity with ongoing work, and avoid duplication.
- Applicant organisations must be legally registered entities in one of the four focal countries, capable of receiving and managing funds.
- Joint applications by more than one organization are encouraged, but one local organization must be specified as the lead.
- An organisation may submit more than one application, and an individual may be involved in multiple proposals, but any individual may be the lead researcher on only one application.
- Partner organizations within Transform Nutrition or A4NH may collaborate in proposed studies, but they are exempt from leading the call, and funds for their participation will need to be separately sourced.
- Research studies may be of 6-24 months duration.
- The requested budget for each study should lie in the range: $50,000 - $150,000. Studies that are more expensive may be considered so long as there is guaranteed co-funding to meet requirements beyond this range.
- Each of the three themes has its own budget ceiling of $150,000.
- It is expected that 3-6 studies (in total) will be funded through this call, with at least one study from each theme.
- quality of the concept note and proposed research
- relevance and “value added” with regard to Transform and A4NH’s work
- value for money
- internal capacity (for high quality research and efficient project management)
- clearly specified policy relevance and potential for impact
Format of concept notes
Please submit a concept note of no more than 3 pages (single-spaced) that clearly states:
- problem statement (including which theme(s) the project responds to),
- context (including what is known already),
- objectives and research questions,
- study design and methods to be used,
- expected outputs, outcomes and impact,
- lead researcher, core research team and partners (CVs not required at this stage)
- indicative budget (with breakdowns of personnel, travel and other expenses.)
No additional material will be considered.
Review and selection process
The following process will be adopted:
- Applicant organizations are invited (through this call) to respond by 21 November 2014, and according to specified eligibility and evaluation criteria, and format, with a concept note.
- Concept notes will be screened against these criteria and quality filters by a review team comprising members of TN and A4NH, to select a shortlist.
- Shortlisted applicants will be invited to prepare detailed research proposals (by 15 January 2015)
- These proposals will again be reviewed by the review panel, using a standard scoring system before 30 January 2015.
- The winning research proposals will then be announced.
- Contracts will be agreed with lead organizations in February 2015.
- Studies will start no later than 1 March 2015.
Concept notes should be emailed to Sivan Yosef (IFPRI) at firstname.lastname@example.org
All queries concerning this call should be addressed to Catherine Gee at email@example.com
*Final deadline for concept notes is 21 November 2014, (23:59 GMT).