Call for Proposals | Breaking Systemic Barriers to Women’s Participation in Science

Call for Proposals
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Deadline: August 15, 2019

The Foundations for Innovation Program at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has launched a call for research proposals to identify and address systemic barriers that stand in the way of a greater participation of women and other under-represented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields in both the public and the private sector, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Systemic barriers in STEM are conditions attributable to institutional values, cultures, policies and practices that implicitly or explicitly restrict the potential of institutions2 to successfully attract, recruit, retain and promote women scientists and other groups in STEM fields where these are currently a minority.

Extensive research into career choices, opportunities and pathways in STEM in high-income countries has identified a variety of obstacles preventing women from achieving their full potential in science. The evidence has helped institutions and organizations active in STEM to develop more effective initiatives and measures to eliminate or reduce barriers of a systemic nature, those which institutions can and must tackle.

This call aims to generate evidence on LMICs, document situations of status quo and progressive initiatives, current or recent, in these countries, as well as support novel actions in LMICs that may advance specific Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries) and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).

Call Objectives

The call underscores IDRC’s commitment to support a major research effort to:

  1. build robust evidence from LMICs on the nature of systemic barriers and their consequences on the engagement of women and under-represented groups in science endeavors;
  2. build robust evidence from LMICs on the results to date of deliberate interventions by specific institutions to mitigate or eliminate systemic barriers to a greater participation of women and other under-represented groups, as well as increase diversity of personnel in fields of STEM; and
  3. provide an opportunity for institutions, both those which have been pro-active and those which until now may have been less so, to design, implement and monitor novel approaches and interventions, in order to learn from these and more effectively address important barriers standing in the way of women and other under-represented groups’ fuller participation in STEM fields.

About this Call:

  • Total amount of funds available for this call: at least CA$ 2.8 million.
  • IDRC contribution to budget of each proposal: CA$ 200,000 – CA$ 500,000.
  • Number of fundable projects: between 5 and 14.
  • Duration of projects: up to 60 months, depending on type of proposal.

Who can apply?

Institutions or consortiums with a strong presence in eligible low- and middle-income countries (see the list of eligible countries below) and with the following qualifications are invited to submit a proposal.

  • Type of organization: The proposed research can be carried out by a research institution, a research consortium, or a non-governmental organization with strong research capacity. This institution or group of institutions must be independent from the institution(s) to be studied. Donors, UN entities, multilateral organizations, independent researchers and for-profit consulting firms are not eligible to apply for this call.
  • Collaboration: The lead applicant institution should be from an LMIC, while institutions based in high-income countries can participate as collaborators on the proposal. As regards consortia, priority will be given to those led by an LMIC institution. IDRC will give preference to proposals which demonstrate a close collaboration between the applying independent research institution(s) and the institutions whose experience is to be studied. A formal statement signed by the latter must be appended to the proposal, which will confirm agreement with, and support to, the proposed research, as well as a commitment to follow up on findings and recommendations, as appropriate.
  • Regions of research focus: Latin America and Caribbean, Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa (notably West Africa).

Note: All IDRC prospective grantees must secure and submit to IDRC an official country clearance for their research projects, before they are able to receive IDRC funding. Such official clearance must reach IDRC within a maximum of 90 days following IDRC’s funding offer, beyond which IDRC reserves itself the right to cancel its offer.

What types of institutions in LMICs are eligible for study by the applicant?

Ministries of education, ministries of science and technology, national coordinating bodies for higher education, national accreditation and rating agencies for higher education studies programs, national agencies for faculty professional development, national science granting councils, national research foundations, scientific journals, national science academies and professional associations, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, universities (faculties, schools, departments), research institutes, scientific research units within private and public organizations in various sectors of the economy (natural resources and energy, transportation and infrastructure, agriculture and environment, industry and economic development, human resources and skills development, etc.)

Application Guidelines and Timeline

Applications should be submitted online by 5:00 PM (EST) on August 15, 2019, either in English or in French. Incomplete applications and applications received after this deadline will not be considered. A complete application includes:

  1. A completed proposal, to be submitted using the online application form (guidelines included below);
    1. Up to three (3) samples of work that demonstrate capacity to carry out rigorous research on the proposed topic, as well as integrate gender-based analysis in research (upload publications/PDFs at end of the application form);
    1. An estimated budget, with a cost breakdown by categories using the IDRC budget template.
    1. Complete all the tabs except the Summary tab, which will be generated automatically. Save the completed and duly signed budget as a PDF document, and attach this to your application. For a list of eligible expenses, please refer to the IDRC “Guidelines for Acceptable Project Expenditures”. For  general information, refer to General IDRC Funding Guidelines;
    1. Up to four curricula vitae (CVs) of research team members (each CV should not exceed two pages); and
    1. A formal statement of interest and commitment from the institution(s) to be studied to support the research and follow up on its findings and recommendations, as appropriate.

How to Apply

Applications should be submitted online either in English or in French via given website.

Eligible Countries:

 Afghanistan*, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi*, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic*, Chad*, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)*, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon*, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Venezuela*, Vietnam, West Bank* and Gaza, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia*, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar*, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, South Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Zambia, Zimbabwe*.

*Applications that involve research collaborators based in these countries are eligible; however such applications may be subject to a further stage of review within IDRC before these can be approved.

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 319 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: