Call for application: 2019 INGSA Research Associate


Call for application: 2019 INGSA Research Associate: The International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) is a collaborative platform for policy makers, practitioners, national academies, and academics to share experience, build capacity and develop theoretical and practical approaches to the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government.
In line with this mission, INGSA is offering six professional development and research grants to support early-to-mid career researchers or policy practitioners in Low and Middle Income Countries.

For this funding round we are particularly interested in the policy maker perspective. As such, we are seeking research projects that help to answer this question:

“What are the challenges in your country/region/organisation limiting the use of scientific evidence by policy makers? How will your research contribute to overcoming them?”

Each grant recipient will manage and conduct a research project, which may include implementation actions, that answers this question. The research project could for example be a case study or broader, systematic analysis that explores the demand for science advice in a given country or region. The research should identify gaps, develop and test new contextualized models for science-advice, highlight best practices, analyse the current state of demand for science advice and make policy recommendations.
Successful applicants will become INGSA Research Associates for the period of the grant (February 2019 – November 2019).

The grant will be an opportunity for researchers and policy practitioners to:

  • undertake professional development activities and research with the support of INGSA;
  • present their work and network with other INGSA Research Associates at INGSA’s international meeting (event to be confirmed 2019);
  • build peer and professional networks & visibility through INGSA activities and communications; and
  • develop their career through publications and research activities that support the INGSA mission. 

INGSA operates under the auspices of the International Science Council (ISC). Grants are made possible through a partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Priority research theme

It is becoming increasingly evident that the biggest barrier, at least in many countries, to better use of evidence in policy is how to create demand from within the policy and political community.
Notably, there are a number of academies and commissions in low and middle income countries that do a good job of producing unsolicited reports which, predictably, are never read or absorbed.
While scientists are very receptive to the idea and skills behind evidence-informed policy making, how to really impact on the policy side is much harder.
In this context, we also need to consider the policy making environment and the ability of the policy maker to receive and process advice, their interest in advice, the ability to find scientists/institutions and the ability to direct research agendas to policy-relevant issues.
There may also be elements at a national or regional level of post-expert, post-truth and post-trust in the current political climate at play. As a network that is built on strengthening the science-policy interface and encouraging the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government, INGSA would like your help to understand challenges/barriers to effective pathways to policy, make best practice recommendations, and/or identify and analyse potential new approaches for engaging policy makers.

Successful applicants will become INGSA Research Associates and will be expected to undertake research in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) that provide recommendations for, or opportunities to, strengthen demand from policy-makers in your country, region or organisation. Emphasis should be given to generating research or policy outputs that identify real potential for demand-side increases in evidence usage to develop public policy.

These self-directed projects will be expected to work towards the production of a peer reviewed publication, a policy brief, or other high-quality resources and guidelines aimed at policy-makers.
They may also include a training component, or the organisation of key stakeholder meetings. In addition, INGSA Research Associates will be encouraged to contribute to the wider activities and knowledge resources of the INGSA network by:

  • Developing an INGSA case study, by researching and writing an accessible 4000- 5000 word summary of a recent example of scientific evidence and advice relating their region or country. This case report will be made available on the INGSA website and used in international workshops. Examples can be seen here:
  • Researching and writing a 2500-3000 word country report as a contribution towards an international ‘Atlas of Scientific Advice’ which INGSA plans to develop, in partnership with UNESCO. Research Associates are encouraged to produce a systematic map of the scientific advisory system in their country (covering a brief history and overview of key institutions, structures, processes and people). This exercise will follow an established template and will be made available on the INGSA website.

Selection criteria and instructions

  • Applicants must hold a PhD at time of application OR have at least 5 years full-time equivalent experience in research or as a public policy professional (e.g. advice, analysis, implementation, evaluation).
  • Applicants must be living and working in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). A list of eligible countries can be found here. Eligible countries are subject to ISC and IDRC risk assessments and legal obligations.
  • Applicants must be individuals. Teams of applicants are not eligible
  • Applicants must be employed at a recognised institution of higher education, an independent research organisation, government agency, international organisation, or relevant NGO for the duration of the award.
  • Applicants who can demonstrate relevant experience relating to developing and using science in public policy and government advisory systems are particularly encouraged to apply.

Selection timetable and process

  • Call for applicants: 1 October 2018
  • Submission deadline: 15 November 2018
  • Review and selection: November and early December 2018
  • Funding decision / award: late December 2018
  • Grant commencement: 1 February 2019
  • International INGSA Meeting: To Be Confirmed 2018
  • Submission of grant deliverables: December 2019

Application process

Applications must be submitted online through the INGSA website ( Applicants to provide the following information:

  • Name and institutional affiliation, and position held.
  • Proposed title of project.
  • A short CV (No more than 3 pages).
  • A clear, non-expert summary of the proposed project and expected outcomes (up to 500 words).
  • A brief outline of likely collaborative/consultative partnerships, e.g. if you are a scientist, who on the policy practitioner side do you intend to consult or collaborate with, and if a policy practitioner who on the research/scientist side will you consult (up to 200 words).
  • A proposed budget and justification of the funds requested. • Short public biography of the applicant (up to 200 words).

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