Learning for All Initiative Request for Proposals

Taking a two-track approach to informing education policy, the Learning for All Initiative (LAI) at J-PAL funds proposals to design, pilot, evaluate, and scale innovations to improve foundational learning and breadth of skills in low- and middle-income countries. The Initiative has two regular funding cycles per year. 

  • LAI research awards fund full randomized evaluations, pilot research projects, and travel/proposal development projects to identify potentially high-impact innovations and evaluate their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
  • LAI scaling awards fund technical assistance to governments and NGOs to adapt, pilot, and scale evidence-based education solutions with demonstrated impact.

Eligibility

All J-PAL affiliates, invited researchers from any J-PAL initiative or regional office, and J-PAL postdoctoral fellows are eligible to apply to any LAI research or scaling proposal type. PhD holders based at an African academic institution will be eligible to apply for project funding (learn more about our African Scholars program here). Graduate students who have a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher on their thesis committee are eligible to apply for up to $75k in research or scale funding. J-PAL and IPA offices are eligible to apply for scale funding in collaboration with governments, NGOs, and/or private sector actors, provided at least one J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher is involved as a collaborator or adviser. All proposals may include other collaborators outside of those mentioned as long as the principal investigator is eligible. Additional consideration will be given to proposals that involve locally-based researchers and partners, as well as those with interdisciplinary co-authors.

Any researcher can submit a maximum of three proposals, inclusive of all proposal types, within a 12-month period to LAI, either as a main PI or co-PI in the proposal. For example, if a researcher submitted two proposals in our Fall 2023 round, they can then only submit a
maximum of one proposal in our Spring 2024 round.

Applicants who are delinquent in their deliverables to any J-PAL initiative may submit proposals but will not be eligible to receive additional funding from any J-PAL initiative. You may submit applications to LAI, but your application will not be considered for funding until your
deliverables become current.

Projects can apply to receive different types of funding over their lifecycle and receive multiple grants over time. However, Applicants who are submitting a proposal for a project that has already received LAI funding must be up-to-date on the project’s deliverables and should be able
to provide outcomes for the previously funded stage of the project, including a summary of all findings to date.

Focus Areas

Working across low- and middle-income countries, LAI supports research and scaling projects across the following outcome areas:

  1. Foundational literacy and numeracy 

  2. Socio-emotional learning (SEL) and measurement of holistic skills

  3. Girls’ Education

  4. Potential intersections between climate & education

  5. Long-term economic & health impacts of education interventions

As a complement to our socio-emotional learning (SEL) and measurement of holistic skills thematic priority, J-PAL conducted a review of over 230 RCTs in the AEA registry. The "Measurement of Holistic Skills in RCTs: Review and Guidelines" (available below) explores the types of holistic skills measures and the approaches used to establish the reliability and validity of those measures. It serves as a resource for all submissions measuring holistic skills in children.

Please find the RFP Research Agenda below, which includes more details on the set of priority research questions. If you are unsure whether your proposed topic may be eligible for LAI funding, please reach out to our team at [email protected].

Regional Focus

Research and scale-focused projects based in low- and middle-income countries will be eligible to apply for funding from LAI. 

Application Timeline

LAI's second round of funding will open on October 10, 2023. Letters of Interest are due November 7, 2023, at 1:00 PM ET. Proposals are due December 13, 2023. Funding decisions will be announced in February 2024.

LAI will not regularly accept off-cycle proposal requests. If you are a researcher facing a particularly limited time window, please contact [email protected]

Application Instructions

Funding round 2: All applications are required to submit a Letter of interest (LOI) by November 7 at 1:00 PM ET.

J-PAL initiatives use an online portal for all proposal submissions, proposal reviews, invoice submissions, and grantee reporting. To apply to LAI’s RFP, you will need to log in via our online portal with your username and password. To submit an LOI, please log into the portal and click here to access LAI’s LOI.

To request either an applicant (“grantee”) or reviewer account for the J-PAL portal, please complete this form and specify which type of account you require. Account creation should not exceed two business days. For team members, please utilize your institutional email addresses when possible to reduce the potential for spoofing incidents. For further information and troubleshooting, please contact [email protected].

Proposals: The LAI team will notify you if you are eligible to begin your proposal via the portal once we have reviewed your LOI. In the interim, to facilitate your proposal development, below are reference application documents from our first funding round. You are welcome to begin drafting your proposal materials using these templates. Please know that questions are subject to change. Reference applications should NOT be submitted to LAI for consideration.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to apply to LAI?

You are eligible to apply for LAI if you are a J-PAL affiliate, a J-PAL postdoc, a J-PAL invited researcher, a PhD student who has a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher on their thesis committee, or a J-PAL or IPA office working in collaboration with a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher (some variation in funding amounts). African scholars will also be able to apply. Learn more about LAI's African Scholars program. 

I am a policymaker or implementing organization interested in evaluating an innovation. How can I connect with an eligible researcher in the J-PAL network?

Our team is glad to facilitate connections between potential partners and J-PAL’s network of researchers. We would be interested in hearing more about your organization and the program or policy you are interested in evaluating so we can identify if there are researchers in our network who may be available and interested. Please check out our matchmaking form for more information or contact our team at [email protected].

I am a PhD student with a J-PAL affiliate or invited research on my thesis committee. Are there restrictions on what costs can be covered by an LAI research grant?

LAI is able to fund research projects for PhD students advised by a J-PAL affiliated researcher of up to US$75,000, and we aim for the majority of this support to go directly to the research. This means that we are able to cover costs associated with travel for the project, but we cannot cover tuition or the cost of PhD students’ time with our grants.

What does LAI’s scaling fund entail, and who qualifies for it?

LAI’s scaling fund includes several flexible types of funding, such as data collection and early-stage work. Scaling funding will be available to support technical assistance to partners in government, NGOs, and the private sector to adapt, pilot, and scale policies and programs that have already been evaluated with an RCT, and found to be effective. If you are unsure whether your project qualifies to be considered for scaling funding, please contact [email protected], and the LAI team will be happy to discuss options.

Can I apply to LAI for more than one project at a time?

Yes. We limit LAI applications per researcher to a maximum of three in a 12-month period (PI or co-PI), which can be a combination of different project types (e.g. two pilots and one randomized evaluation).

Can LAI funding be used to cover the implementation costs of the intervention being evaluated?

As LAI is primarily a research and scaling fund, we are unable to cover any implementation costs with LAI funding. Implementing partners are expected to cover implementation costs, while LAI funding will focus on covering research costs, such as costs associated with data collection.

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