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Review of Evidence


What type of new research is the call for proposals hoping to generate?

Under this call, GrOW will not support primary research on this question.  Instead this call will support top-quality review and summary of the existing research and evidence.

Does my application need to address the research questions posed in the call document as they are set out or can it look at different questions?

To structure the analysis, researchers should develop a theoretical framework that looks at different elements of the links between women’s economic empowerment and growth. Some of the proposed evidence review questions can be broken down into smaller questions. GrOW recommends you propose appropriately focused review questions for questions on broad topics where substantial evidence already exists.
Proposals can re-word the proposed question and suggest sub-questions, but the scope and focus of the review must remain in line with the GrOW call objectives referenced in the preliminary research questions in the call document.

What do you mean by a review of evidence?

A review of evidence is a literature review focused on a research question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that question. This could be a systematic review or an evidence synthesis.

What resources does a review of evidence entail?

  • Sufficient staff to ensure independent data extraction, review of full text articles and quality appraisal of studies.
  • Information specialists or search librarians to develop a protocol.
  • Access to journals, academic library, internet and reference management software.
  • Access to statistical software packages for meta-analysis or software packages for qualitative data analysis are an advantage.

Does GrOW promote certain review methods and approaches?

GrOW will take a broad perspective on the types of questions and evidence on which a review of evidence can be based. These include mixed methodological approaches, including quantitative and qualitative studies, and using experimental and quasi-experimental designs, in controlled and real life settings. Reviews should: (1) be based on high-quality evidence suited to the research question; (2) set the outcome in the broader context of the underlying programme theory, reporting evidence on all links in the causal chain, not only final (endpoint) outcomes. With this in mind, applicants may wish to synthesise broader factual and counterfactual evidence, and quantitative and qualitative evidence, for example on barriers and facilitators of change; and (3) examine the variation and heterogeneity of reported outcomes, not only their central tendency (average effect size).[1]
In all cases, the review should use systematic principles, including: clear inclusion/exclusion criteria; clear search plan to allow for replication of the way in which evidence was sourced, appraised and synthesised; management of references in database; quality assessment of sources valuing rigorous qualitative and quantitative research; and should be externally peer reviewed, and expected to be published in peer-reviewed journals.
GrOW expects applicants to have a strong prior record of undertaking and publishing evidence synthesis.

What kind of methodological standards are expected from a review of evidence?

There are many guidelines available for conducting systematic reviews:
    International Development Coordinating Group (IDCG) Guidelines page
    Journal of Development Effectiveness Special Issue on Systematic Review Methods
    Campbell Collaboration methods resources
    Cochrane Handbook
See also: Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group Supplemental Handbook Guidance

Eligibility criteria


I am not affiliated with an institution, can I apply alone?

Applications from individual persons will NOT be accepted.

Which kinds of organisations are eligible for funding?

Proposed projects are to be undertaken by – or in the case of a research consortium, led by – a research-oriented institution with legal corporate registration.
UN, donor and multi-lateral organizations and members of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres are NOT eligible to apply. United Nations organizations and CGIAR centres can be included in applications by other research teams, as third-party organizations.

If we are a team of researchers (consortium) applying, do we all have to submit a proposal and related materials?

Research consortia comprised of multiple institutional partners may apply, however one partner must be designated as the lead institution.  This internal selection process is entirely up to the consortium. The lead institutions should submit the application to IDRC on behalf of the consortium.

If my application does not focus on a low-income country/countries, can I still apply?

Research under this call is not restricted to low-income contexts. Regardless of the country of focus, all applications must be relevant and provide lessons for low-income countries as the regional emphasis of the GrOW program is low-income countries.


Which countries does GrOW consider low-income?

A list of low income countries can be found at:

Are there any countries that are not eligible for research grants?

Research organisations in Cape Verde, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, and Somalia are not eligible for research grants.
Proposals by organisations not based in these countries but intending to do research in the countries mentioned above are also not considered eligible.

Are institutions based in the global North eligible to apply?

Institutions based in the global North and global South are eligible to apply. In selecting final projects, weighting will be given to Southern-based research institutions, and North-South research consortiums.
Researchers based in low—income countries are encouraged to put forward proposals.

What is a southern-led application emerging from a research consortia?

In terms of the application process, southern-led applications emerging from a research consortia mean that a southern research institution takes responsibility for submitting the application on behalf of the consortium. Communications from the GrOW team with applicants during the selection process will take place with the lead investigator on record.

Is there preference given to applicants with strong southern partnerships?

The selection committee will give preference to applications that demonstrate a substantive involvement by southern institutions on the proposal’s design, implementation, including capacity building and research uptake strategies, as well as monitoring and evaluation.



What is the maximum amount of funding I can request?

The total budget available for this exercise is up to CAD 500,000. It is expected that a single award of up to that amount will be made.
A value for money assessment is conducted as part of the review process.

Are there conditions related to the funding? (I.e. activities that will not be covered or limits on certain budget items)

IDRC has a standard grant agreement, which details the conditions of any funding. This will be shared with selected institutions.

Can I apply for additional funding through another source and qualify for GrOW funding for the same project?

If you have currently secured additional funding for the research project, or intend to secure it, make sure to make that information part of your application. You will be required to submit a budget. Include the amount and source of funding and what that would cover separately from the allocations you would expect the GrOW funding to cover.

Project Duration


What is the maximum duration permitted for the research project?

Projects should be scheduled to be completed within a timeframe not exceeding 24 months, including all research activities and final reporting.

Application process


I had technical difficulties and failed to attach a document, can I send it via email at a later date from my online submission?

The deadline for submission of concept notes using online application is March 31, 2015. Incomplete or late applications would not be considered.  We thus recommend you apply well in advance to avoid any technical difficulties from impeding your successful submission online within the established timeline.
If you encounter technical difficulties, please contact at least 72 hours prior to the submission deadline.

If I have questions on the application, where should I turn?

The FAQ and call documents should address most relevant application questions and are updated regularly. However, if additional technical questions or difficulties arise, contact

What is the timeline for the application?

The deadline for submission of full applications online is 4:00 pm GMT / 11:00 EST on March 31, 2015.

Will I receive feedback on my application?

Given that the volume of applications is not yet known, at this time, GrOW does not plan to provide feedback on applications.  
Successful applicants will be notified in April 2015.

Selection process


How is the review process conducted?

Selections will be made by the GrOW review committee, comprised of IDRC program staff and external peer reviewers from different related disciplines. Each reviewer provides scores on each of the selection criteria highlighted in the call document, per proposal. The review process is anonymous and personal information from both applicants and reviewers are kept confidential.

How many projects will be selected in the end?

At this stage, GrOW envisages that a single systematic review addressing the research questions will be produced through this call.

About other GrOW calls for proposals


Can I submit an application for any of the other GrOW themes at this time?

This call is only for research that specifically looks at how women’s economic empowerment affect economic growth. There are specific criteria and application processes for this call that should be reviewed carefully.
The first GrOW call for applications for research to investigate the barriers to women’s economic empowerment- is now closed and funded projects are underway.
Research on the effect of specific patterns of growth on women’s economic empowerment (theme 2) is pursued through another call with different selection criteria and application processes.

If I applied to a previous GrOW call for proposals, can I still submit an application at this time?

Applications led by principal investigators who are already leads on any other GrOW-funded projects will NOT be accepted. However, applications from GrOW-funded institutions submitted under the leadership of a different principal investigator are eligible to apply.
More than one application may be submitted per institution if projects are led by different principal investigators.
Organisations who applied to previous GrOW calls and did not receive funding are eligible to apply for this call. Previous unsuccessful applications have no bearing in the selection process. 
Organisations that are planning to or have applied to the call for proposals for theme 2- specific patterns of growth on women’s economic empowerment- can also apply to the theme 3 call for proposals. The final selection process will take into account the need for a balanced portfolio of projects engaging a variety of researchers, themes and regions.
[1] GrOW’s understanding and requirements for systematic reviews build on similar applications, including 3iei’s systematic review grants: