INGSA Knowledge Associate grant

Call for Applications


The International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) is a collaborative platform for policy makers, practitioners, national academies, and academics to share experience, build capacity and develop theoretical and practical approaches to the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government.

In support of the mission, INGSA is offering six professional development and research ‘Knowledge Associate’ grants designed to support early-to-mid career researchers or policy professionals in a public service role to undertake case studies on their country’s use of evidence in policy decisions related to Covid-19.

We are grateful to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for making these grants possible.


These Knowledge Associate (KA) grants collectively constitute Phase 2 of INGSA’s Covid-19 mixed methods research project to examine the formulation of policy responses to the pandemic. Phase 1 ran from February-October 2020 and was largely based on the development and implementation of the INGSA Evidence-to-Policy Tracker. An exploratory study using the Tracker database was released in September 2020 and preliminary findings are presented in this report.

Aims and Research Themes

Using the preliminary report of Phase 1 of the project as a guide, the six selected Knowledge Associates will design and deliver ‘deep-dive’ case studies of the pandemic responses in their jurisdictions.

These ‘deep-dive’ case studies will form part of INGSA’s overall analysis of pathways for evidence during the pandemic.

By understanding the broader conceptual frameworks, enablers and obstacles of evidence-to-policy pathways in different jurisdictions, these Knowledge Associate research projects will assist INGSA to develop collective insights that could help guide future responses to transnational crises.

Each case should examine:

1 – The framing of problems and consequent selection of sources and types of evidence. Sub-questions might include:

♦ Whose evidence counts?

♦ Is it formally or informally derived?

2 – The institutional mechanisms and processes of evidence synthesis and brokerage. Sub-questions might include:

♦ Have these mechanisms and/or processes evolved over the course of the pandemic? What has driven their evolution and to what end?

3 – The relative role/influence of different actors in mobilising and applying evidence and to what effect (i.e. local, national, transnational and supra-national)

4 – The influence of contextual conditions or norms that enabled or impeded the use of relevant evidence and how is this addressed in your jurisdictions

Case studies should also provide:

5 – Recommendations for optimising the evidence-to-policy pathways

6 – A dissemination plan to reach the policy community.

Value of Grant

The six successful applicants will each receive a grant of up to €8,000 to support their research, analysis and writing of the case study and to implement a dissemination plan. Separate funding may be available to cover open access publication fees, where necessary.

The program includes a series of virtual meetings for mutual exchange and learning between Knowledge Associates and with the INGSA project Principal Investigators. An onboarding meeting will be held in February 2021, with a collaboratively planned series of virtual meetings to follow over the course of 2021. It is anticipated that KAs will present their work at the next biennial INGSA global conference.


Selection criteria and instructions


1 – Funds are available immediately to support successful applicants from low and middle income countries (LMIC), which meet our funders’ eligibility criteria. Please see the list of eligible LMIC countries for which funding is currently available.

NOTE: If your country does NOT appear on this list, you are still welcome to apply using the same form, and we will treat your application as an Expression of Interest. INGSA is working with a number of collaborative partners that may result in additional opportunities becoming available. If additional funding becomes available we will contact applicants based on these Expressions of Interest.

2 – In addition to the above, applicants must:

♦ Hold a post graduate qualification at time of application OR have at least 3 years full-time equivalent experience in research or as a policy professional in a public service role

♦ Be individuals. Teams of applicants are not eligible

♦ Be employed or in full time postgraduate study at a recognised institution of higher education, an independent research organisation, government ministry or agency, international organisation, or relevant NGO for the duration of the award

♦ Be able to demonstrate the support of their employers or educational institutions (through the allocation of time and availability of tools – computer, internet access, telephone, etc – for use during the grant tenure period.  A letter of support from the applicant’s institution will served as evidence

3 – Priority consideration will be given to applicants with experience as INGSA Policy Tracker Rapporteurs and those who can demonstrate relevant experience relating to developing and using research-derived evidence in public policy and government advisory systems in Covid-19 response.

Eligible expenses

The maximum amount of funding awarded will be €8,000 euros per project. Applicants must maintain appropriate records of all grant-related expenditure for reporting purposes. The following types of research activities and associated expenses will be considered for support:

  • Salary offset and/or research stipend (fellowship), where applicants are required by their institutions to cover release time for professional development or research
  • Economy class travel, visas, accommodation and per diems in accordance with IDRC per diem policy ( Such travel must be for the purposes of data collection, expert consultation or knowledge mobilisation/dissemination activies.
  • Consumables (i.e. printing; recording equipment, etc.)
  • Cost of Open Access Journal fees. This grant adheres to IDRC’s Open Access Policy (
  • Workshop costs such as professional facilitation or translation support for meetings.

Ineligible expenses:

  • Conference registration fees (unless special permission is obtained from INGSA).
  • Large equipment, capital expenditure or depreciation costs
  • Overheads or other unallocated institutional charges.

Grant deliverables

By 1st July 2022, INGSA Knowledge Associates must submit the following deliverables to the INGSA secretariat:

  • A research report detailing findings and recommendations on evidence-to-policy pathways and mechanisms (see ‘Aims’ above)
  • A two-page grant report detailing the work carried out as part of the INGSA grant, including evaluation and records of expenditure including expenditure statements as required by the International Science Council, INGSA’s parent organisation.
  • All open access publications (from blog posts and newspaper articles to government reports and academic publications) as set out in the written proposal. Including any content, resources or guidelines created as part of the project.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the ’Apply Now’ button below.

Applicants will need to provide the following information:

  • Name and institutional affiliation, and position held.
  • A short CV (no more than 3 pages) and short public biography of the applicant (up to 200 words).
  • Proposed title of project.
  • A non-expert summary of the proposed project, your research plan (including methods, data sources used, access to data, any regulatory requirements and how they will be obtained) and expected outcomes (up to 500 words).
  • A brief outline (no more than 300 words) of your engagement plan with likely collaborative/consultative partnerships. Evidence to how you can access a range of evidence to policy key stakeholders in your country’s Covid-19 response will be critical to the review process).
  • A proposed budget and justification of the funds requested.
  • A letter of support from your institution stating why they encourage your participation in this programme, how your research enhances their activities and role and confirmation that they will allow you time for your research.

Important Information for Candidates

  • English is the working language of INGSA. All application materials must be submitted in English. Research outputs may be submitted in other international languages but must include an English summary.
  • In selecting the successful applicants, INGSA will be taking into account regional and gender diversity.
  • Short listed candidates will be interviewed online in early to mid December. It is likely that the time between the notification and interviews will be short so please let us know in advance if you intend to be away from your work email in this period.

Selection Criteria

  • Feasibility: Evidence of your ability to access important evidence and relevant stakeholders
  • Potential impact: Relevance and potential to provide impactful insights capable of enhancing the supply and/or demand and/or pathways of evidence for public policy, especially during crises.
  • Experience: Applicant’s professional track record delivering on similar research or professional policy-related projects.
  • Alignment: How well the proposed project resonates with the stated needs and priorities of the applicant’s home institution and their government or jurisdictional system.
  • Candidates will be selected on the basis of their own skills, ideas and commitment to the program, but also the demonstrable commitment of their employers.

Key Dates

Call for applicants:                                           2nd November 2020

Submission deadline:                                      29th November 2020

Informing shortlisted candidates:                  Week commencing 8th December

Interviews of short-listed candidates:           Week commencing 15th December 2020

Successful candidates announced:               By end of December 2020

Grant commencement and set up:                 January 2021

Grant commencement:                                    February 2021

Submission of grant deliverables:                 1st July 2022

Further Information

Further information about INGSA can be found on the INGSA website: Any questions associated with this call, or to report technical issues with the application process can be directed to: INGSA Programme Officer, Grant Mills:


INGSA operates under the auspices of the International Science Council (ISC). Grants are made possible through a partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

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