Request for Applications: Small Grants to Support Research in Family Planning

The MEASURE Evaluation project is pleased to announce a request for applications for its small grants program to increase the evidence base in routine health information systems in family planning.

MEASURE Evaluation is pleased to announce a request for applications for its small grants program to increase the evidence base in routine health information systems (RHIS) in family planning (FP). The three primary objectives of this program are:

  1. To build research capacity among local agencies;
  2. To address research gaps in routine health information for FP to inform policy and programmatic decision-making; and
  3. To increase use of research findings by providing an opportunity for the data to be disseminated to and used by local stakeholders.

The small grants are intended to support primary and secondary data analysis – especially national and sub-national program or policy evaluation – and data use activities based on research findings. Small grant recipients are expected to produce a publishable manuscript and complete a data use activity.


Eligible candidates include country or regional academic institutions or centers, non-profit and for-profit research organizations, parastatals, and research-focused NGOs. Individuals representing themselves and not an institution/organization, as well as those representing a regional/field office for an international NGO are ineligible for this funding opportunity. All candidates must be from a USAID FP priority country (see list on page 3). Candidates must be seeking to build their research and/or data use capacity.

Eligible research proposals will use appropriate and rigorous methods to respond to a question of interest to stakeholders in the country or region being studied. Potential topic areas are listed on page 3. Proposals should also include data use activities and/or products that help ensure the use of research findings by appropriate stakeholders, which may include:  the development of a short briefing paper with recommendations and a presentation of the key actionable findings from the analysis; holding a workshop for policymakers and/or program decision makers to discuss key findings and the implication of these findings for policies and programs; organizing a meeting with national or regional level staff from the ministry of health to discuss the research findings and develop an action plan based on the findings; and so forth.

Eligible proposals should be comprised of a team of at least three people, submitted on behalf of an NGO, university, etc. The team should have previous research experience, preferably in FP specifically, or reproductive health in general, but need not be highly proficient in research techniques as technical and administrative assistance will be available to sub-grantees at all stages of the small grants program to build organizational research capacity.    

Small Grants Awards

The base amount for a small grant is US$10,000, which is intended to cover basic research expenses for a twelve-month timeline. The total amount of the approved sub-grant will be based on proposed budgets and is expected to reflect realistic data collection and analysis activities.  Anticipated data use and dissemination activities should be included in the proposed budget.  Travel to an international conference to present the research findings may not be requested.

Funds will be paid in three installments: at the onset of the proposed study, after receipt of the first draft of a working paper, and after completion of the final working paper and other products related to the use of the findings (bulletins, action plans using the findings, etc.).

MEASURE Evaluation will assign technical staff to provide assistance for data analysis, editing drafts, and/or data utilization, as needed. 

Application Procedure

To apply, please submit the following in English:

  • brief cover letter;
  • concept paper (3-4 pages) clearly summarizing the background/context, research question(s), scope of analysis, description of dataset, and proposed data use activities;
  • illustrative budget; and
  • curriculum vitae of key personnel.

Concept papers are due by January 23, 2015. All candidates will be notified by February 28, 2015. Short-listed candidates will then be requested to submit a detailed research proposal (5-10 pages) with the following sections – introduction, background, research question(s), data collection/methodology, analysis, plan for using findings to inform programmatic and/or policy decision-making, composition of research team, description of how the sub-grant will build research capacity, and detailed budget. Selected candidates will be required to submit proof of institutional or country ethics review and approval, if applicable.


Proposals will be assessed on:

  1. The degree to which the proposal demonstrates a conceptual understanding of the problem the proposed research intends to address.
  2. A good fit between the research question(s) and proposed data to be used in the study.
  3. The degree to which the proposed research methods are appropriate and rigorous.
  4. Evidence that the research findings are relevant for decision-making at the country, regional, or international level and/or address an issue of significance related to routine health information.
  5. Applicant’s prior experience working with proposed (or similar) data.
  6. The feasibility and appropriateness of data use activities to the proposed research question(s).
  7. The degree to which the small grant will build on the current capacity of the organization to conduct research and encourage data use.
  8. Realistic budget and timeline based on the proposed research topic and available MEASURE Evaluation funds. 

Suggested Research Topics 

The following list contains suggested topics for research in FP and RHIS:

  • Investigating the integration of FP data into national DHIS2 systems;
  • Assessing the feasibility of an integrated health information system in the context of vertically-managed health programs;
  • Examining the potential role/application of a “change management approach” as a methodology for improving data quality and, therefore, the impact of RHIS;
  • Establishing indicators for assessing quality of FP services and care in RHIS;
  • Examining effective means to ensure that FP guidelines and standard operating procedures become operational;
  • Determining the strongest motivators for acting on routine health information;
  • Exploring the experiences, technologies, and perceptions regarding implementation of computers and/or mobile phones for district health data collection; and
  • Investigating the need to include community-based FP data (e.g., vital events and morbidity) and/or data from community-level workers and organizations in RHIS indicator sets.
  • Analyzing the use of routine health information to influence decisions about allocation of funding for FP/reproductive health services;
  • Conducting a feasibility assessment of supplementing quantitative FP/reproductive health indicators with qualitative ones in RHIS;
  • Analyzing how public and private sector FP data can best be integrated.

USAID FP Priority Countries

Small grants will be awarded to applicants from the following USAID FP/reproductive health priority countries:

Mali Haiti Kenya
Bangladesh Ghana Liberia
Democratic Republic of Congo Nepal Ethiopia
Afghanistan Malawi India
Madagascar Pakistan Rwanda
Mozambique Nigeria Senegal
Philippines Tanzania Uganda
South Sudan Yemen Zambia

Contact Information

Please send inquiries and applications to:

Bridgit Adamou, Research Associate
MEASURE Evaluation
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tel: (001) 919-445-0409