Tuesday, 22 April 2014

ESPA Grants to Deliver ‘Blue Skies’ Research Projects

The Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) research program is inviting applications for projects that will deliver “blue skies” research providing innovative, new approaches that enhance the understanding of the way in which ecosystem services contribute to the sustainable alleviation of poverty for poor people (especially those living in low-income countries). The Major objective of the grant is to enhance ESPA’s academic and development impact by changing the way that the world views the links between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation.

ESPA is a 7-year interdisciplinary research program that aims to deliver high-quality, cutting-edge research that will improve understanding of the way ecosystems function, the services they provide and their relationship with the political economy and sustainable growth.

The project grants range in between £50,000 and £150,000 GBP Full Economic Cost (FEC). Projects will be funded for a maximum duration of 12 months, with an expected start date between 1 December 2014 and 1 February 2015.

Types of Activities – (may be but not limited to)

    Synthesis and/or meta-analysis
    Transformative, forward-looking literature review(s) to identify gaps and opportunities
    Convening small groups of world experts for strategic reviews

UK organizations will receive 80% of the FEC of the project while non-UK organizations will receive 100% FEC for the direct costs.

Eligibility Criteria –

    Applying research organizations must be registered as users of the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submission system.
    Most UK higher education institutions and some other independent UK research organizations are already eligible to apply for, and hold, UK Research Council grants.
    Non-UK and other UK organizations can also apply for the grant.
    Applying organization must be a legal entity.
    Applying organization must be able to demonstrate an independent in-house capability to undertake and lead research and training in the field or discipline in which it wishes to be funded.
    Non-UK Principal Investigators and PIs from organizations not normally eligible for
    UK Research Council Funding, should-have at least three years of relevant post-doctoral experience, or an appropriate equivalent level of research experience be employed—at the time of application—by the Research Organization submitting the proposal (check the link for more information).
    The application must –
        Demonstrate the “blue skies” innovative, and, if appropriate, the “risky” nature of the proposed research. Proposals should explain how the successful completion of the project will change the way that the links between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation are viewed.
        Clearly demonstrate research excellence that has relevance to the needs of poor people living in low-income countries.
        Have clear hypotheses and/or conceptual frameworks that utilise ESPA’s Knowledge Strategy and Research Framework as a starting point and then seek to challenge and extend existing thinking.
        Include clear methodologies and rationale for the methods proposed.
        Address a range of ecosystems services, and link these to a multi-dimensional analysis of poverty and the ways that poor people can move out of poverty.
        Consider natural and social systems (socio-ecological systems) and processes (and the links between them).
        Include/consider multiple dimensions of poverty and human well-being.
        Demonstrate understanding of the ecosystem processes that underpin different services and benefits or dis-benefits in order to identify synergies and trade-offs between them.
        Document any relevant links and potential synergies with other ESPA research investments (both current and past).
        All applications must be submitted in English and budgeted in pounds sterling (£/GBP).
    The completed application must be submitted via Je-S by the deadline.
For more information, please visit Announcement of Opportunity.

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