FAQ

Social Protection Thematic Window - Frequently asked questions

General Questions

General Questions

What organizations /institutions are eligible to submit proposals in response to this Request for Proposals?

Organizations /institutions with relevant evaluation expertise are eligible to submit applications, as long as they have established and can prove demand for the evaluation from the implementing agency. The typical applicant is a research institute, think tank, university or consultancy firm. Both non-profit as well as for-profit organizations can apply. Governmental agencies can also apply, as long as they are not the agency responsible for implementing the programme or policy being evaluated.

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Can an institution submit more than one application?

Yes

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Can an organization/institution be awarded more than one grant?

Yes

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Can a researcher be involved in more than one application?

Yes, as long as she/he has the time available to participate in all submitted studies, should they all be awarded with grants.

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Can more than one affiliate of an applicant organization/institution submit applications?

Yes

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Is there a maximum or minimum limit to a single grant awarded?

There are no pre-established funding limits, however, applications are scored on cost criteria.

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What is the average grant size awarded by 3ie?

An average 3ie grant is just under US$ 350,000.

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Does 3ie pay for the cost of the intervention being evaluated?

No. 3ie funds can only be used for the costs of the evaluation. The costs of the intervention are expected to be borne by the implementing agency, or potential implementing agency in the case of a pilot program.

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Does 3ie prefer evaluation of large scale interventions?

Applications are scored on policy relevance and policy impact, where the scale of the intervention could increase policy impact. There are other factors behind policy impact as well, however. Please see the review sheet for the full explanation of the scoring criteria.

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If the applicant organisation is unable to accept the Grant Agreement terms regarding Arbitration, Governing Law, and Enforcement , is there scope for negotiation?

The terms of the GDN grant administration agreement are fixed. If your institution cannot accept them, you will need to find another institution to submit the application and hold the grant for you. The terms of the 3ie grant agreement may be changed subject to negotiations between the institution and our law firm. However, we provide no guarantee that we will change the terms to fit an institution’s demands.

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Questions on Social Protection Thematic Window

Can an organization/institution that currently has a grant with 3ie submit an application for Social Protection Thematic Window?

Yes. Mention is to be made of the current grant in the application form.

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What is the total value of the award under 3ie’s Thematic Window for Social Protection?

3ie will make 7 – 12 awards of up to a total value of US$ 5 million under this Request for Proposals.

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What are the target/focus countries under this call for proposals?

The focus of the Social Protection Thematic Window is on generating lessons and evidence relevant to low income countries. Proposals for studies of social protection interventions that include work in a middle-income country will also be accepted, as long as the study clearly demonstrates that the lessons from this work are of relevance to low-income countries. Cross-country and cross-regional studies are also of interest, as they can bring relevant comparisons of experiences.

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What would be the duration for the study?

The duration of funded studies is not expected to exceed 3 years.

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What is the review process?

The review process is laid out in detail in the RFP document, pages 4 through 7.

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Where can more information be found regarding this request for proposals?

All information regarding the details of this call is available from the Request for Proposals document. In addition, applicants can read the scoping report that formed the basis for the call design, as well as 3ie’s strategy: Improving Lives through Impact Evaluation: a strategy for 3ie

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How to apply?

All applications are to be submitted using 3ie’s online Grant Management System at: http://praxispts.com/3ieimpact/. The person in charge of submitting the application must register on the site and will be given login details. The system will not be open until the 10th of October, when the window is launched.

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How should applicants choosing priority area 3 complete the Expression Of Interest form for intervention, implementing agency, and countries?

As the RFP explains, priority area 3 considers a programmatic approach (or intervention type) rather than a specific programme. Priority area 3 studies should draw on a range of evaluations and other studies of programmes falling within that programmatic approach (or intervention type). For the question on the Expression Of Interest asking for the name of the program or intervention, the applicant should provide a short specific description of the programmatic approach to be studied. For the implementing agency question, the applicant should provide a list (up to the word limits of the cell) of some of the implementing agencies for the specific programs that were evaluated by the studies to be included in the analysis proposed for priority area 3. For the countries question, the applicant should tick all the countries covered by the studies to be included in the analysis proposed for priority area 3. To the extent that all the studies to be included have not been identified yet, the applicant should tick the countries expected to be covered.

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The 3ie direct cost policy document states: “3ie funds may not be used to remunerate the staff of any implementing agency (including NGOs) whose program is evaluated under a 3ie grant.” What if the staff from the implementing agency work in an independent department completely separate from individuals implementing the program, and the staff is not involved in the implementation of the program in any way, except participating in the evaluation team? We understand that 3ie encourages and expects participation of the implementing agency, however not being able to pay for any of their time makes this difficult.

It is correct that the staff of the implementing agency cannot be remunerated by a 3ie grant. This policy is consistent with our policy that no government employees can be remunerated by a 3ie grant and extends that policy to NGOs, so that the two types of implementing agencies are treated equally. Similarly, implementing agencies cannot be the grant-holding organisation for a grant to evaluate their own programmes. Situations where implementers evaluate themselves lead to concerns about conflict of interest. While 3ie recognises that independent evaluation is possible within an organisation, we have no way to monitor and ensure independence. We recognize that for any NGO, continued funding for the whole organisation is dependent on the demonstration of positive results. In order to promote independence we do not allow implementing agencies to hold 3ie grants for the evaluations of their own programs, and we do not allow the staff of an implementing agency to be remunerated by a 3ie grant. 3ie encourages and expects implementing agencies to support the evaluations of their programs and to coordinate with evaluation teams in order to facilitate the evaluations. To that end, we require a letter of support from the implementing agency as part of each grant application, for example. We also do not prohibit staff of the implementing agency from serving on the evaluation team, although the internal and external reviewers do check for possible conflict of interest when reviewing proposals and grant deliverables in those cases.

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Application – Expression of Interest

Where can the Expression of Interest form be downloaded?

The Expression of Interest form should be completed on 3ie’s Grant Management system. Applicants have to first register online to access this form.

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Can the form for the Full Proposal be accessed during the Expression of Interest period?

No. The Application form will be accessible to only those applicants that are successful at the Expression of Interest stage after that stage has been completed. Shortlisted applicants will receive a notification with a link to the online Full Proposal form. Applicants will not have to register again.

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If an Expression of Interest is rejected, can it be revised and submitted again for consideration before the deadline for submission of the Full Proposal?

No.

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When will the results for the Expression of Interest be announced?

3ie expects to notify the shortlisted teams by 18 November 2011. Applicants who are not shortlisted will not receive any further information or invitation.

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Full Application

Can the Full Proposal be submitted at the first stage?

This is a two stage application process. Only applicants that are successful in the Expression of Interest stage are invited to submit a Full Proposal.

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How would the Full Proposal be scored? – What is the criteria for scoring the Full Proposal?

Proposals are scored against two sets of pre-determined criteria. The criteria and their weights have been listed in the RFP, and further details of these criteria will be available by the time the online application stage for the full proposal is open.

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Does 3ie promote or prefer some specific evaluation methods and approaches?

3ie promotes the use of the best available method to address the evaluation question at hand. Please consult 3ie Principles of Impact Evaluation and 3ie Impact Evaluation Practice for further information.

3ie supports impact evaluations that adhere to agreed-upon methodological standards for addressing the “attribution challenge” – e.g. establishing cause and effect between programmatic activities and specified outcomes. This specific call will place additional emphasis on the importance of integrating cost benefit or cost effectiveness analysis into the financed studies. Researchers are also strongly encouraged to lay out the theory of change and use mixed methods to explore the causal mechanisms between interventions and measured outcomes. For select priority areas in this call, CGE modelling approaches and systematic context analyses are also sought.

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What kind of methodological standards are expected from the evaluation design?

3ie supports impact evaluations that adhere to agreed upon methodological standards for addressing the ‘attribution challenge’ e.g. establishing cause and effect between programmatic activities and specified outcomes, in particular, evaluation designs must be capable of addressing : (a) confounding factors (b) selection bias (c) spillover effects (d) contamination of control groups and (e) impact heterogeneity by intervention, beneficiary type and context.

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If our funds go through two separate organizations, which when combined amount to more than the 10% overhead limit, should we leave our real costs, or place the overhead amount at the 10% limit? Secondly, if these organization calculate overhead based on total incoming funds, rather than total direct costs (as in the budget application), would you recommend that we adjust our overhead rate accordingly?

Only a single organization should be the grant-holding institution for the 3ie grant. That organization may have sub-agreements (but not secondary sub-agreements). The indirect costs for the two organizations should be calculated according to the 3ie indirect cost policy with one as the prime and one as the sub. The indirect cost rates used must be applied according to the 3ie policy and must be the organization’s actual indirect cost rates but not to exceed the limits set in the policy. We recognize that organizations may have different cost accounting standards that those prescribed by the 3ie indirect cost policy, but for the purpose of the 3ie grant, the budget must conform to the 3ie indirect cost policy.

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Does 3ie allow secondary subcontracts?

No, at this time 3ie does not have policies or procedures that allow for a secondary sub-agreement.

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Can funds be budgeted towards implementing agency staff time if he/she is part of the evaluation team?

As the cost policy says, staff of the implementing agency cannot be remunerated under the grant. Their time on the team will need to be covered by their employer.

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What is the meaning of the term ‘fringe’?

Fringe is a term used for the benefits paid by employers to eligible employees. For different organizations, it includes different elements—the determination of a fringe rate should be part of an organization’s accounting statements. Fringe may include things like vacation leave, public holidays, and health insurance. It is typically separate from overhead or indirect costs.

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If a surveying firm is contracted (data collection and entry), should this be reflected in the Survey tab of the budget template or the Sub-grantee tab?

The costs should be detailed on the ‘survey’ worksheet of the budget template submitted for the sub-agreement. That is, in addition to including summary costs for sub-agreements in the sub-grantee worksheet, you must also submit a full budget in template for each sub-agreement.

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