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WGAPE 2021 Small Research Grants Request for Proposals



The Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE), managed by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), brings together faculty and advanced graduate students in Economics and Political Science who combine field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. The group has met semi-annually to discuss the in-progress work of its core members and invited guests since 2002. It is co-led by Daniel Posner (UCLA), Edward Miguel (UC Berkeley), Amanda Lea Robinson (Ohio State University), and Amma Panin (University of Louvain).

With generous funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, WGAPE is pleased to announce a Small Grant Program for junior African researchers to explore a question of interest in African political economy. Successful applicants will receive around $9,000 in support, and will be matched with a senior researcher from the WGAPE organizers or executive committee, who will provide feedback and general guidance on the project. The lead investigator of each successful project will present their research design during the 2022 WGAPE Annual Meeting, held in July 2022, and will present their working paper at the 2023 WGAPE Annual Meeting.

The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm U.S. Pacific Time on Friday, December 17th, at 5 pm. Please read below for further details and submit your application here.

Grant Details


WGAPE has approximately $18,000 total to grant in this round, and expects to make awards that will support at least two researchers. Individual projects may apply for funding up to $18,000 if there is a demonstrated need, but we are significantly more likely to support projects with a lower budget that will allow us to meet the goal of supporting at least two researchers.  We expect that these are self-contained projects that can be completed and result in a working paper within one year from the disbursement of funds. Thus, while we would be pleased if these grants serve as a springboard for a larger or more long-term research project, funding is designed to support a research project rather than to provide seed funding for future grant applications.

Funding can be used to support the investigators’ time, research assistance, survey or other data collection costs, data purchase or storage, travel (as permissible by the COVID-19 pandemic), and other reasonable research expenses. Only up to 8% of Total Direct Costs can be claimed as Indirect Costs.  Each of these costs should be tied to a single, self-contained project that will result in a working paper within one year from the disbursement of funds.


Eligibility is restricted to junior African scholars, who are pre-PhD or within five years of receiving their PhD.  This refers to individuals who are (a) currently studying at a university or research institute in Africa, and/or b) currently teach at an African university or research institute.

  • Note: Junior African scholars collaborating with scholars based outside of Africa are eligible to apply for this grant; however, if awarded, funds will be transferred directly to the Africa-based applicant. Given that the objective of the program is to support junior African scholars, collaborations with non-African researchers will receive additional scrutiny.
  • Note: Unaffiliated researchers (i.e., those who do not study, teach, or conduct research at a university, international institution, center, or government department) are not eligible to apply.

Please contact with any questions regarding eligibility.

Research Topics

Proposed projects must be related to WGAPE’s broad research agenda on the political economy and development economics of Africa, including ethnic politics, civil conflict and violence, decentralization and democratization, corruption, local governance, public economics, and other related topics. Research that is purely theoretical or qualitative will not be funded under this RFP. Successful proposals will include a quantitative, empirical component.

Timing and Deliverables

The period of performance for this grant is from March 1st, 2022 to May 1st, 2023.

Awards notices will be sent by March 1st, 2022. Funded scholars should be ready to present a Pre Analysis Plan or Research Design at the WGAPE meeting in May 2022. They should present a working paper based on the data collection by the following meeting in May 2023. Please note that this means that the proposed research must be feasible to complete within a year.

To Apply

The application should be submitted via google form by December 17th, 2021. The form includes:

  • Name, email address, current affiliation(s), and eligibility criteria for primary investigator as well as other research team members.
  • Project title
  • Research proposal: This proposal narrative must not exceed three (3) pages in length and should be written in Times font, Size 11 and may be single-spaced. The proposal narrative should be saved as a separate file named LastName_WGAPE_Proposal. It should address the 6 items in Appendix 1.
  • Detailed budget:  A budget template can be found here. The budget should be saved as a separate file named LastName_WGAPE_Budget.
  • Potential mentors: All successful applicants will be matched with a project mentor, most likely from among the WGAPE organizers and executive committee (you can see their names here). Please list up to five of these scholars whom you would like to request as a mentor. Note that we cannot guarantee that you will be matched with these potential mentors, but your list will help guide the matching process.
  • Connection to WGAPE themes: Briefly describe how your research project advances the study of political economy in Africa, in line with WGAPE focus areas.

The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm U.S. Pacific Time on Friday, December 17th, at 5 pm.

Questions and concerns about the application can be submitted to



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