Governance Initiative Request for Proposals


J-PAL’s Governance Initiative (GI) funds randomized evaluations of strategies to improve governance in low- and middle-income countries.

J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-docs, and invited researchers are eligible to apply for funding for full-scale evaluations (for a maximum of $400,000; typically up to $250,000) pilot studies (up to $75,000), and travel/proposal development grants (up to $10,000).

PhD students, with support from an adviser who is a J-PAL affiliate or GI-invited researcher, are also eligible to apply for travel/proposal development grants and up to $50,000 for a pilot or full-scale study.

By providing targeted funding for rigorous evaluations of the most promising programs to improve governance, GI aims to offer guidance for implementing organizations, governments, and donors, so that policies can be guided by scientific evidence to improve development outcomes.

GI will announce its Fall 2021 RFP, including new instructions on how to apply, around mid-October. J-PAL initiatives, including GI, are transitioning to using an online portal for all letters of interest, proposal submissions, proposal reviews, invoice submission, and grantee reporting. To apply to GI's Fall 2021 RFP, you will need to register via this new online portal. Registrations will open around mid-October. 

For general guidance on the content of a GI application and details on eligibility and proposal types, please refer to the the RFP Overview document under Application Documents below. Please note the RFP Overview document and other application documents are currently being updated ahead of GI's Fall 2021 RFP. 

Proposal Timeline

GI has two regular funding cycles per year for full research projects, pilot studies, and travel/proposal development grants that address open questions outlined in the Governance Initiative Review Paper. Our tentative Fall 2021 timeline is as follows: 

  • Friday, October 15: RFP announcement 
  • Monday, November 15: Letters of Interest (LOIs) due. This is a new step required by GI as part of our transition to a new online application portal.
  • Monday, December 6: Proposals due - Only for applicants whose eligibility has been confirmed in the LOI stage. 
  • Friday, January 14: Peer reviews due 
  • Week of January 24: Review Board meeting
  • Week of January 31: Results announced 

Each proposal is reviewed by three referees: an academic reviewer, a policy expert, and a member of the GI Review Board. The Review Board makes final funding decisions. 

Off-cycle proposals

GI also offers funding for randomized evaluations outside of the regular RFPs. These grants are intended for research projects that face a significant time constraint and need to receive funding before the end of a regular funding round to make use of an unanticipated opportunity (e.g. a newly announced policy change that will go into effect soon, creating an opportunity for a randomized evaluation). Proposals must clearly justify the need to receive a decision on an expedited schedule. The maximum amount awarded to off-cycle proposals is $50,000. 

Reporting Templates for Awardees

GI Full and Pilot Study Grantee Report Template

GI Full and Pilot Study Financial Report Template

GI Preliminary Results Report Template

GI Full and Pilot 3 Month Start Up Report Template

Basic J-PAL Costing Template

GI Travel Grant Progress Report Template

GI Travel Grant Expense Form

GI No-Cost Extension Request Form