Social Protection Initiative Request for Proposals


The Social Protection Initiative (SPI) funds randomized evaluations of social protection programs in low- and middle-income countries. SPI has one regular funding cycle per year. During SPI’s first RFP in 2022, competitive research funding was available for pilot studies and travel/proposal development grants. Please email [email protected] with any questions. 


Short expressions of interest (EOIs) were due by 5:00pm ET on March 4, 2022 and full proposals were due by 5:00pm ET on March 18, 2022. Funding decisions were announced in May 2022.

Priority Themes 

SPI focuses on developing research around three broad themes:

  1. Reaching who we want to reach: Identifying beneficiaries for targeted programs in low- and middle-income countries
  2. Program design and impacts: Designing social protection programs for the low- and middle-income country context 
  3. Responding to shocks: Insuring beneficiaries against shocks (e.g., economic, health, climatic) in low- and middle-income countries

For further details on SPI’s priorities, please refer to the RFP Overview document under Application Materials below.

Regional Focus 

Projects will be prioritized if they are in the following countries: 

  • Southeast and East Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Vietnam
  • South and West Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka
  • Pacific: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

SPI will also consider projects in Asian countries not listed above, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa, though funding for these geographies is more limited.


During SPI’s first RFP in 2022, J-PAL affiliates, EPoD faculty affiliates, J-PAL postdocs, and SPI invited researchers were eligible to apply for pilot studies of up to $75,000 and travel/proposal development grants of up to $10,000. 

PhD students, with support from an advisor who is a J-PAL affiliate, EPoD faculty affiliate, or SPI invited researcher, were also eligible to apply for travel/proposal development grants and up to $50,000 for a pilot study.

Application Instructions 

J-PAL initiatives, including SPI, have transitioned to using an online portal for all proposal submissions, proposal reviews, invoice submissions, and grantee reporting. To apply to SPI’s RFP, you will first need to register via our online portal. For further information and troubleshooting, please contact [email protected]. Once you are logged into the portal, please click here to access SPI's expression of interest form.

Expression of interest: All applicants were required to submit an expression of interest (EOI) by March 4, 2022 at 5:00 PM ET.

Full proposals: Full proposals were due on March 18, 2022 at 5:00 PM ET.

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