HCDI Request for Proposals


The HCDI Request for Proposals (RFP) solicits proposals from J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-docs, and invited researchers for pilot studies and full randomized evaluations that seek to evaluate approaches to make health care delivery more efficient and equitable.

Types of Proposals

  1. Full Research Projects: Full research projects are typically awarded between $150,000 and $250,000 with a maximum award size of $400,000.  Researchers must propose a clear and well-developed research question including detailed randomization design and power calculations according to relevant minimum detectable effect sizes. 
  2. Pilot Studies: Pilot studies are eligible for up to $50,000 in funding. However, if researchers apply to receive short-term research management (STReaM), pilot studies are eligible for funding of up to $75,000. Researchers should seek to answer a particular research question; however, the design and implementation require further testing and piloting. Random assignment does not necessarily need to occur during a pilot study. Proposals should explain how the pilot will lead to a randomized evaluation in the future.
  3. Travel/Proposal Development Grants: Travel/proposal development grants are eligible for funding up to $5,000. These grants are to be used for early stage activities with the goal of launching a randomized evaluation in North America.  Application materials can be found here: Travel/Proposal Development Grant Application.

In this RFP cycle, we will be offering the opportunity to receive short-term research management (STReaM). This is a program that provides approximately six months of research management support from J-PAL NA staff. This support can be used for either full studies or pilots, and may include but is not limited to: coordinating communication across stakeholders; refining randomization implementation design and consent procedures; pilot design and implementation; study process monitoring. In addition, we recognize that ongoing research projects are navigating new challenges in response to COVID-19, and many researchers are designing new evaluations to evaluate and support response efforts to the pandemic. Through STReaM, our team offers hands-on support to ongoing projects as they think through modifications to the project, such as impact to timelines, navigating conversations with research partners, and adapting to phone or virtual research methods. We encourage researchers whose North America-based projects have changed as a result of COVID-19, or who are designing new research related to the virus or response efforts to apply for STReaM. For more information about STReaM and to apply, please visit the STREAM webpage or email us at [email protected].

COVID Guidelines 

*Updated May 29, 2020,* Please note the following changes to our request for proposal processes in response to the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. All applications must follow J-PAL’s COVID-19 response guidelines in regard to in-person interactions with subjects.
  2. Per MIT guidance, sponsored travel is prohibited through August 31st, 2020. J-PAL North America will not accept proposals that include travel before September 1st, this date is subject to change as the situation evolves.
  3. If your proposed project will feature in-person interactions with subjects, please note that the evolving situation could result in changes to these guidelines at a future date. Therefore, please be sure to include the following in your application materials:
  • Budget Narrative: Include a discussion of what funds will and will not be spent in what timeframes if the proposed project is paused, modified, or dissolved because of COVID-19 related disruptions.
  • Proposal Narrative: Outline aspects of the proposed project that can be completed right away vs aspects dependent on the status of the COVID response more broadly. The proposal should also include plans for conducting fieldwork, and how this will evolve should COVID-19 prevent in-person contact.


May 29, 2020 - RFP is issued
August 28, 2020 - Proposal Submission Deadline
Week of October 26, 2020 - Awards Announced

Future funding rounds typically take place twice per year with deadlines in February and September. In rare instances, J-PAL North America will consider off-cycle proposals for projects, including pilots, facing time constraints due to factors outside of their control. Decisions on these applications are typically made in about two weeks. We accept travel/proposal development grants at any time of the year.

Who may apply?

For all proposals, the pool of eligible applicants includes J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-docs, and invited researchers. For travel/proposal development grants and pilots, the pool of eligible applicants is extended to include graduate students who have a J-PAL affiliate on their thesis committee, or who are supervised by an affiliate if a student is pre-thesis. All proposals may include collaborators outside of this network, but the principal investigator (PI) must be an eligible applicant.

Eligible applicants can submit a maximum of three proposals per twelve-month period, per initiative. Note: PI and co-PI status are counted towards this limit.

Who will review applications?

Each proposal will be peer reviewed by one member of the Review Board and two researchers and/or policy experts not on the Review Board. The Review Board will meet to agree on final funding decisions.

Who is on the Review Board?

J-PAL affiliates Marcella Alsan (Stanford), Joseph Doyle (MIT), and Amy Finkelstein (MIT).

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