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Digital Credit Observatory: Pilot Funding Opportunity


With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEGA has launched a “Digital Credit Observatory (DCO)” with the goal of generating a new body of evidence on the impacts of digital credit products and the effectiveness of related consumer protection measures in low-income countries (see CGAP's blog for the key attributes of digital credit). The DCO is led by CEGA affiliates Joshua Blumenstock and Jonathan Robinson.

We invite CEGA affiliates and their advisees (PhD students and Postdoctoral Scholars) to apply for small pilot grants to support early-stage research projects addressing one or more of the following questions: 

  1. What are the short- and long-run impacts (both positive and negative) of digital credit on consumers in emerging markets?
  2. How can digital credit products best reach consumers who are left out of the formal credit market?
  3. How can digital credit algorithms, regulations, and other consumer protection measures such as improved loan and consent terms, reminders and other behaviorally informed messagesbe designed to minimize default, over-indebtedness, leakage, fraud, and other risks to consumers (and providers)?

We expect to fund pilot projects of up to $20K each through this RFP. 

Use of funds: Funding may be used to support international travel, partnership development, preliminary field data collection, database work, and the development of full-scale proposals. Research may be carried out in any low-income country in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and/or Latin America, as long as a need for the research is clearly identified.  

Timing: All travel must be completed by October 1, 2017. 100-word progress updates will be due to CEGA each month in addition to a final report due within 30 days of completion of the pilot. 

Selection criteria: Successful proposals will be relevant, rigorous, novel, and have a vision for scaling up beyond the life of the pilot. Proposals will be blindly reviewed and funding decisions made by a committee of CEGA faculty, staff, and a representative from the Gates Foundation. 

To apply: Please read through the application (in side bar) and prepare a 3-page narrative and budget using the template provided. Once complete, please submit your application here

Closing Date

Mar 10, 2017 11:57 pm PST


Faculty within the CEGA affiliate network, as well as their advisees (PhD students and Postdoctoral Scholars), are eligible to apply. Projects should be in an early, exploratory stage of research. Please direct questions about eligibility or the application process to Natasha Beale, DCO Program Manager, at 

Selection Timeline

Application Opens: Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Application Closes: Friday, March 10th, 2017