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Practitioner Research & Learning Grants

News | July 1, 2015

***UPDATE March 2016 *** The granting period for practitioner research and learning grants has now ended

Are you involved in a process, project, initiative or practice that tries to strengthen citizens’ voice to get governments to respond and be accountable to them?

Are you someone who reflects on your experience and learns from your own practice and others?

Then Making All Voices Count is offering grants you might be interested in.


Making All Voices Count invites you to apply for a Practitioner Research and Learning Grant to help you to reflect and learn from what you are doing in your work and adapt your initiatives as you learn. In addition to financial support, Making All Voices Count can provide research mentoring to support you to develop your skills and engage in processes of critical enquiry and learning, to help you to improve your practice.

Background

Making All Voices Count is a citizen engagement and accountable governance programme. It aims to harness the transformative potential of unusual partnerships and innovative applications of communication technologies to contribute to fundamental change in the relationship citizens have with the state. It focuses the majority of its work in six priority countries – Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania.

Additional to funding creative and cutting edge solutions to these challenges, the programme offers an opportunity to build a unique base of evidence on what works in using technology for citizen voice, transparency and accountability, and on how and why it works.

Research, Evidence & Learning

The Research, Evidence and Learning (REL) component of Making All Voices Count, managed by the Institute of Development Studies, has two main purposes:

  • To contribute to improving performance and practice in the field of citizen voice, transparency and accountability, government responsiveness and accountability, and Tech4T&A. We call this ‘programme learning’.
  • To build an evidence-base and theory in the fields of voice and accountability, and specifically in the emerging fields of Tech4T&A and Open Government. We call this ‘evidence- and theory-building’.

The programme offers various kinds of grants.  Among them are ‘Practitioner Research & Learning Grants’, which enable governance practitioners and tech innovators to engage in self-critical, reflective enquiry into their own practice and working context within governance or tech innovation projects.

By “practitioners”, we mean people in government, non-governmental, civil society, and private sector organisations working on citizen engagement and social accountability, and tech innovators working on applications of technology for transparency and accountability (Tech4T&A) related purposes. The lessons and evidence arising from this enquiry will help people like you to learn from and improve your practice and the impact of your work, as well as contributing to the broader field of citizen voice and government responsiveness.

Call for Proposals

We are interested in supporting research by and for practitioners on processes, projects, initiatives or aspects of practice that they are involved in, that try to strengthen citizens’ voice to get governments to respond to them and be accountable to them. Organisations and individuals are eligible for applying for Practitioner Research & Learning Grants.  We invite proposals of a cost up to £25,000 for research and learning projects, of a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 12 months.

There is a two stage application process for Practitioner Research & Learning Grants, the development of the budget will form part of the 2nd stage where a mentor will work with you to develop full proposal including budget and project plan. We would encourage applicants to budget for what is required rather than applying for the maximum.

Making All Voices Count is planning to fund up to eight practitioner research & learning grants through this call for proposals. However, we reserve the right to award fewer if we do not receive sufficient applications that meet the standard required.

Applicants should complete the Making All Voices Count Practitioner Research and Learning Grant Application Form and submit via email to practice-research@makingallvoicescount.org.

Research Themes and Approaches

We are particularly interested in helping practitioners find out how they are doing or how they could do better in one or more of the following areas:

  • Getting government actors to hear and respond to citizens’ demands
  • Reaching out to people who would not normally be reached by initiatives like yours
  • Putting into practice the lessons from past experience (yours or other people’s) about how to get citizens’ voices heard by governments and get governments to respond and be accountable to citizens
  • Understanding how technology affects processes of citizen voice in gaining greater government accountability
  • Scaling up a particular experience or replicating it in a different context to have a greater impact, or an impact of a different kind, or for different people.

The research can be carried out by project practitioners themselves or by a third-party researcher.

We are particularly interested in the following kinds of research and methodological approaches:

  • Case studies based on researcher-practitioner action research partnerships
  • Case studies based on practitioners researching their own processes through systematic learning, reflection, documentation and lesson-sharing with peer practitioners
  • Applied research on case studies of practice (real-time or retrospective), led by researchers with access to practice situations
  • Experimental research testing propositions and hypotheses

Countries of Interest

Preferably the research will be grounded in, or including, or highly relevant to, Making All Voices Count’s priority countries: Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania. We can support research and learning that takes place in other countries if it has clear relevance to practice in one or more of our priority countries.

Mentoring Support

We recognise that many practitioners may not currently have all the skills, experience or confidence to conduct or engage in a process of critical enquiry such as action research. Therefore, in addition to financial support, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), which has many years of experience in supporting practitioners to conduct research, will be providing each successful applicant with research mentoring support to develop, conduct, analyse and learn from engaging in the Making All Voices Count Practitioner Research process.

Practitioner Research & Learning Outputs

A successful applicant should expect to produce:

  • Two page practice note summarising key aspects of the project/initiative/practice, methodology used and lessons learned/knowledge gap filled.
  • A blog post providing background your research summarising interesting and important reflections on your research project.

We would strongly recommend applicants to read the Making All Voices Count Research and Evidence Strategy in advance of writing and submitting a proposal in response to this call.

Application Process and Timetable

There is a two-step process to applying for Practitioner Research & Learning Grants. Applicants should complete the Making All Voices Count Practitioner Research & Learning Grant Application Form (one page, 500 words), which can be downloaded from this page, and submit via email to practice-research@makingallvoicescount.org.

  • The closing date for submissions is 10:00am (BST) on 14 August 2015
  • Shortlisted applicants will be notified by email by 17:00 BST on 21 August 2015.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be paired with a Making All Voices Count research mentor by 17:00 BST on 28 August 2015 to help refine the research questions and issue and support the preparation of a full written Practitioner Research & Learning proposal (3-4 pages) and a budget and project plan.
  • Shortlisted applicants full written proposal submitted by 10:00am BST on 25 September 2015
  • Successful applicants to this call for research & learning proposals will be notified by email by 17:00 BST on 2 October 2015.

Key Documents:

  1. Practitioner Research & Learning Application form.
  2. Research & Evidence Strategy.
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