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Call for Proposals for STEG Ideas for Transformation – ACET

World NewsCall for Proposals for STEG Ideas for Transformation – ACET


Structural Transformation and Economic Growth (STEG) is a research initiative funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office that aims to provide a better understanding of structural change, productivity and growth in low- and middle-income countries. STEG is implemented by a consortium led by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and including ACET.

STEG invites applications for the second call for proposals for Ideas for Transformation (I4Ts).

Application to this call is now open.

I4Ts are brief and largely non-technical essays (about 15 pages, double-spaced) utilizing country-specific expertise to identify a specific policy distortion, market failure, or other similar opportunity to promote inclusive growth and development in a particular country or context.

The goal is to identify potential case studies that warrant further research. These might be specific and well-documented examples of a market failure or a policy problem – but ideally the cases should have broad relevance. For instance, an example of a local problem or issue will be more compelling if it can be taken as typical of some broader set of cases. Successful applicants to the I4T call will receive funding of £1,000.

We are interested in I4T studies that:

  • Use simple methods (suggestive empirics or narratives) to demonstrate the existence, relevance, and importance of a policy issue involving structural transformation.
  • Suggest interesting issues for high-level economic analysis or modeling using the tools of macro development. We want these essays to inspire additional research (possibly collaborative, linking the authors of I4T submissions with other researchers or teams) that could assist in building the case for the proposed policy response.
  • Propose policies that have a measure of specificity (e.g., not merely “trade liberalization” or “improved education”), although sizable enough to have importance to structural transformation (e.g., not small-scale bureaucratic changes). While the suggested policy need not be at a large scale, the proposal should explain how the proposed topic might be contribute to effects at the macro level.

For instance, an essay might describe and quantify the impact of poor transport connections on a particular rural area of an African country. Perhaps transport problems lead farmers to produce low-value non-perishable crops rather than higher value crops that are highly perishable. This might be a problem that affects other rural areas, and so this is an example of a case study that might be interesting to understand in detail. By contrast, we are less interested in case studies that show positive effects from an intervention that benefits specific recipients but might have a zero-sum (or near-zero-sum) aggregate impact. Thus, a training program that benefits some entrepreneurs might not make a good I4T case study, unless it appears to be operating at a sufficient scale to change the overall productivity of an entire sector.

  • Relate to one or more STEG research themes. However, we also welcome and encourage proposals that focus on other areas of structural transformation and economic growth in low-income countries. Policies that positively address our cross-cutting issues of gender, climate change and the environment, or inequality and inclusion are of particular interest.

How to Apply for an I4T

Applicants are asked to submit their proposal and CV(s) in English to the STEG Team at steg@cepr.org. Applicants should use the following reference in the email subject: “I4T Application_full name.” The proposal should be completed using the proposal template available at the bottom of this page.

The proposal should describe a specific opportunity for a policy (defined broadly, as an action taken by some set of actors, not necessarily in government) that will plausibly and feasibly deliver a substantial impact on economic growth and structural transformation.

Proposals should contain the following sectons:

  1. Abstract: A brief summary of the opportunity, policy solution and context. If your project is successful, this will form the basis of the project’s description on the STEG website.
  2. Introduction: A description of the proposed opportunity to promote structural transformation and economic growth. In particular, this description should make clear the geographic, political, and historical context to the extent they are relevant. This section should include background information that will help the reader to understand the nature of the problem to be solved.
  3. Policy Context: What policies currently apply to this case? What is the history of efforts to change the policy? To what extent has previous literature addressed this problem, and what has been the evolution of policy (if relevant)?
  4. Policy Impact: What is the likely significance and magnitude of a policy change in this instance? How many people are likely to be affected, and how much of a difference would this policy change make in their well-being?
  5. Plausibility, Feasibility and Implementation: To what extent are there plausible, feasible, and implementable solutions to the problem? Feasibility here refers to both technological possibility and institutional capability. Plausibility relates to the political and social acceptability of the solution. And for a solution to be implementable, there must be some set of actors with the capability and mandate to carry out the necessary steps. A good proposal should be able to identify the particular agencies, or institutions that would implement the needed changes.
  6. Limitations: What are the potential constraints and alternatives to the proposed policy solution? What might keep this solution from being implemented? Are there other solutions or competing ideas? What criticisms would you anticipate?

Proposals should be submitted along with the CV for the individual(s) submitting the proposal. Guidance on proposal length can be found in the proposal template available at the bottom of this page.

Eligibility and Timeline

I4Ts are designed to be contracted directly with individuals, rather than with institutions.

Given the importance of local country-specific knowledge, we especially encourage applications from researchers based in low- and middle-income countries, including those in universities, think tanks, government agencies, and other institutions. STEG takes a particular interest in broadening the set of researchers interested in structural transformation and economic growth. In that spirit, we also particularly welcome submissions from early-career researchers and from women.

We aim to issue funding decisions within two months of the deadline for receipt of proposals. An I4T is intended to be completed within three months. Please note that contracts should be signed within one month of the return of the final decision, which is also the expected project start date.

Country and Policy Relevance

Please note that a necessary criterion for funding of proposals is the relevance to policy in at least one low-income country, with a special interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. We will adhere closely to our geography of interest in this call.


The deadline to submit proposals is December 8, 2021 by 23:59 GMT. Applications received after this time will be considered for the next I4T round.

Applicants are asked to submit their proposals, using the template available at the bottom of the I4T funding page, to the STEG team at steg@cepr.org. Applicants should use the following reference in the email subject: “I4T Application full name”.


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