CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment is seeking Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from researchers interested in leading, or being part of, country level studies of the dynamics of agricultural innovation, for the following countries:

  • Ethiopia, Uganda, Vietnam, Bangladesh (see "Phase 1" call document)
  • Colombia, Nigeria, Egypt, North East India (see "Phase 2" call document)
  • Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Philippines, South India, Nepal, Morocco, Guatemala, Peru (see "Phase 3" call document)

Country-level Studies by Phase


Recording from Webinar with SPIA Chair and SPIA Senior Research Fellow


Presentation slides are available here



What is SPIA expecting in the EoIs in terms of information about potential impact evaluations?

At the EoI stage, we're looking for an outline of some initial ideas of potential research designs (for Phase 1 and Phase 2 countries). By full proposal stage, for those invited, we’d want something more developed. But by that time SPIA will have been part of the process, providing more specific information based on insights gained to date in our work there.

Can CGIAR researchers apply for this call?

No, CGIAR researchers are not eligible as either principal investigators (PIs) or co-PIs. If CGIAR researchers are listed as collaborators in an EoI, their participation will have to be clearly justified at the full proposal stage. To preserve independence from the CGIAR, salary support or other research resources budgeted for CGIAR collaborators should be minimal in such cases.

What role might CGIAR researchers play in this process then?

CGIAR has a wealth of expertise in these countries, and the teams that are eventually contracted through this process will inevitably want to consult with CGIAR researchers. Indeed, interviewing CGIAR researchers is a core part of our SPIA's country study methodology! We hope that all CGIAR researchers will welcome our efforts to generate independent evidence of the reach and impact of CGIAR - this has certainly been the case in the country studies SPIA has conducted to date.

Contracted teams may need to sub-contract specific pieces of work to CGIAR and/or NARS researchers (e.g. for compiling DNA reference library material) but these should be limited and tightly focused on specific deliverables.

Can CGIAR researchers collaborate with academic teams on this research if their funding comes from other sources?

CGIAR researchers can absolutely collaborate with the research teams commissioned through this process. Indeed, such collaboration is encouraged given the specialized and locally-relevant expertise of CGIAR researchers in these countries. SPIA just need to have an independent research team leading this work in each case, to maintain impartiality.

Can people previously employed by CGIAR participate in the study team?

Yes. A conflict of interest statement for all research teams will be a core part of the final research proposal template.

Can I form a team from one research institution?

Yes, in the case that the institution is based in the country in question. This scenario is particularly feasible for Phase 3 countries where the work is qualitative and the scope of the work is much smaller than for Phase 1 and 2. Researchers based outside the country will need strong, genuine partnerships with local institutions to be competitive.

Does team size matter especially after having the core team in place?

EoIs will be evaluated primarily on the skills, track record and comparative advantage of the core team.

Will the webinar be recorded?

Yes - we'll post the recording to our website and keep updating this FAQ section to reflect key points raised in the webinar

Can EoIs cover more than one country?

Yes, there is no need for the same team to submit multiple EoIs. A single EoI can cover more than one country.

Is there a limit on the number of countries we can address in an EoI?


Will the research team be responsible for running the surveys? Is the survey implementation part of the research budget?

This is the biggest unknown in this exercise - to what extent the costs of implementing two nationally-representative survey rounds will be shared with either a government entity (i.e. statistical agency) by having the required new data collection approaches integrated in existing surveys. We want to incentivize teams to try hard to integrate into existing surveys as this helps with building statistical capacity, reduces redundancy and builds country ownership of the results. If a suitable partnership can be found, this potentially frees up financial resources in the grants to be reallocated to relevant measurement or causal inference research.

Besides the targeted countries, what are the main differences between Phase I and Phase II calls?

In Phase 1 countries, SPIA have already established some important connections and a system of data collection. So teams will be encouraged to build on that prior work (more details in the webinar). For Phase 2 countries we are starting from scratch, so there will be a longer phase of stocktaking and establishing the data collection partnership needed.

What specific disciplines are needed?

Skills demanded of this work included: economics (agriculture and/or development); quantitative skills (survey design and implementation, data management, econometrics); qualitative skills (political science / sociology); country-specific knowledge of agricultural systems; country-specific language and cultural knowledge

Are there specific collaborations with national level universities established?

No. Researchers from the global north applying with EoIs are expected to have existing ties with researchers in these countries.

How are innovations in policy (in contrast to innovations in technology) to be evaluated?

Using rigorous qualitative methods to examine the validity of specific claims made about policy influence

Do you expect a multidisciplinary team at this stage, or can it be a team of economists?

We would like to see a diverse team with members with different areas of expertise. Teams are not necessarily expected to have all the different specialist areas covered – there will be some core support from SPIA on genotyping, stocktaking, remote sensing, etc. 

How can individual experts/consultants join a country study team? Will there be some sort of a matching platform for suitable researchers?

Yes, if you are an individual who has an interest in a particular country or has the relevant expertise, but you do not have a team, submit an EOI as an individual. SPIA will see your application, review it in light of other submissions, and see whether there is scope for you to be matched up. 

Are non-profit organizations eligible to apply or is this open only to independent researchers?

Non-profit research organizations are eligible to apply