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

The MEASURE Evaluation Population & Reproductive Health Associate Award (PRH) is pleased to announce its fourth round of requests for proposals for its small grants program to increase the evidence base in family planning (FP).

The MEASURE Evaluation Population & Reproductive Health Associate Award (PRH) is pleased to announce its fourth round of requests for proposals for its small grants program to increase the evidence base in family planning (FP).  The primary objectives of this program are threefold:

  1. To support research efforts of developing country researchers and research institutions to provide needed information that informs FP policy and programmatic decision-making.
  2. To increase use of existing data that informs local and/or global FP programs. Such data sources may include the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Service Provision Assessment (SPA) surveys, Behavioral Surveillance Surveys (BSS), and high-quality, country-specific data.
  3. To increase use of research findings by policy and programmatic decision makers not traditionally involved in the research process.

The small grants are intended to support primary and secondary data analysis – especially 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. All candidates must be from USAID’s FP priority countries (see list on page 3). Eligible candidates must be seeking to build their research and/or data use capacity. Those representing regional/field offices for international NGOs are ineligible for this funding opportunity. Also, proposals for project evaluations will not be eligible.

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; etc. 

Eligible proposals should be comprised of a team of at least two people. The team should have previous research experience, particularly in FP specifically, or reproductive health in general.   

Small Grants Awards

The base amount for a small grant is US$6000, which is intended to cover basic research expenses for a nine-month timeline. However, the total amount of the grant will be based on proposed budgets and is expected to be higher, so as to cover the costs of the planned data use activities. Additional funding may also be provided for research projects that include supplementary data collection. Travel to national or regional conferences to present the research findings may 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.)

Proposals will be assigned a technical advisor at MEASURE Evaluation PRH who will provide technical assistance for data analysis, editing drafts, and/or data utilization, as needed. Final working papers will be posted on the MEASURE Evaluation PRH Web site.    

Application Procedure

To apply, please submit the following in English:

  • brief cover letter;
  • 2-3 page concept paper clearly summarizing the background/context, research questions, scope of analysis, description of dataset, and proposed data use activities; 
  • budget;
  • curriculum vitae of key personnel; and
  • names and contact information of three references.  

Concept papers are due by November 12, 2012. All candidates will be notified by November 26, 2012. Short-listed candidates will then be requested to submit a detailed research proposal (5-10 pages) with the following sections – 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 budget. This detailed proposal will be due by December 11, 2012. After all candidates are notified, selected candidates will be required to submit proof of institutional or country review and approval, if applicable.


Proposals will be assessed on:

  1. The degree to which the proposal demonstrates a conceptual understanding of FP research and the related literature.
  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 needed for program or policy decision making at the country, regional, or international level and/or will make a significant contribution to the existing literature on FP.
  5. The ability of the research to inform practice and policy for underserved populations.
  6. The relevance of the proposed work to current and future FP public policy discussions.
  7. Prior experience working with proposed (or similar) data. 
  8. The feasibility and appropriateness of data use activities to the proposed research question(s).
  9. The degree to which the small grant will build on the current capacity of the organization to conduct research and encourage data use.
  10. Realistic budget and timeline based on the proposed research topic and available MEASURE Evaluation PRH funds.

Suggested Research Topics & Methods  

Priority will be given to proposals that address the suggested research topics and/or methods.

  • Reaching underserved populations (e.g., addressing FP needs of youth and adolescents; the poor; displaced populations; etc.)
  • Exploring strategies to reduce poverty and inequality through targeted FP service-delivery mechanisms
  • Integrated FP services (e.g. postpartum FP; FP as a component of postabortion care; FP integrated with immunization services; etc.)
  • Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies tools, approaches, and practices
  • Addressing gender in FP, specifically, the effectiveness of gendered-focused interventions on FP/reproductive health outcomes
  • Understanding provider and FP user behavior
  • Evaluating FP programs or policies (e.g., community-based distribution, contraceptive security, long-acting & permanent methods, behavior change communication, etc.)
  • Evaluating population-health-environment programs
  • Utilizing innovative rapid data collection methods
  • Assessing mHealth, e-Health, and emerging technologies as they relate to FP
  • Mapping or spatial analysis of FP data

USAID FP Priority Countries

Democratic Republic of Congo
India (Uttar Pradesh State)
South Sudan

Contact Information

Please send inquiries and applications to:

Bridgit Adamou, Project Manager
MEASURE Evaluation PRH
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#8120
Chapel Hill, NC  27516, USA
Fax: +1 919-966-2391