Grant Opportunities

PEDL’s Major Research Grant (MRG) Call on Development Finance

PEDL’s Major Research Grant (MRG) Call on Development Finance

Deadline: 21-Dec-20

The Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) initiative is glad to announce an expansion of its programme. PEDL will now be receiving applications for Major Research Grant (MRG) projects researching the role of development finance: investments in private sector development that are impact-led but commercially rigorous.

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CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are sponsoring this new research initiative aimed at understanding the impact of development finance on private sector development. Issues of interest include the effect of investment on private sector growth; the characteristics of high-growth firms and how they impact on their sectors and localities; supporting quality jobs, gender and climate finance; and production and distribution of broader inclusive products and services.

Researchers will ideally partner with specific CDC investments, or alternatively, work with other businesses sufficiently comparable to build an understanding of the importance of investment in private sector growth. PEDL is especially interested in expanding the role of data science to create new understanding and improve decision-making. Issues of particular relevance include:

What is the impact of larger-scale investment on private sector development in Africa and South Asia?
What types of firms create stable, inclusive, productive employment that allows workers to build human capital through working; when and why does this job creation happen? What do they know about displacement effects and the gig economy?
CDC invests in infrastructure, especially electricity, telecommunications and logistics (e.g. ports, warehouses). What is the impact of infrastructure investments on private sector productivity? What is the impact on citizens’ lives? See this evidence review for the impact framework and some open questions.
CDC invests in financial institutions. What types of financial services have the most impact for business productivity and individual wellbeing? See this evidence review for the impact framework and some open questions.
CDC has a growing climate finance portfolio. See its climate strategy; how can private sector investment support ‘Paris Alignment’: net-zero economies, Just Transition, and adaptation and resilience?
Funding Information

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MRGs are grants of £100,000 or more. There is no formal upper limit, but past MRGs have averaged around £300,000.
MRG projects typically run for up to 36 months.
Country Criteria

CDC Group’s current mandate is Africa and South Asia. Proposals for projects outside the focus countries should make a clear case for the relevance of the research to policy in lower-income countries, and also justify why the research is feasible only in non-target countries. Note that, at the moment, they are unable to fund projects located in Myanmar and Palestine.
How To Apply

In order to apply for a Major Research Grant, you must register and create an account.
You can create an account on the link given on their website.
If you already have an account, you can directly login.
Before you apply online, please review:
The Project Overview;
What to do before you go online;
What to do when you are online.
For more information, visit

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