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Frequently asked questions: Call for expressions of interest: Women’s Economic Empowerment in a Low-Carbon COVID-19 Recovery










ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATIONS                                                              

  1. Can I submit applications after the deadline?

April 13, 2021 is the final day for submitting your expressions of interest (EOL). EOLs received past this date and time (by 17:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time) will not be considered for review and will be automatically rendered ineligible.

  1.  Who should I email at IDRC in case I have a question regarding this call?

All inquiries and questions related to this call should be directed to the Sustainable Inclusive Economies Division at IDRC ( We invite you to carefully read the call document and frequently asked questions prior to emailing this account.


  1. The call document indicates that IDRC will support research in low- and lower-middle-income countries of the Global South. Can the proposed research be conducted in multiple regions and/or countries?

Yes. We support research projects that are relevant in the contexts where the research is conducted. Proposed projects can be multi-country, multi-regional or in one single country so long as the research of focus is within low- and lower-middle-income countries, as defined and classified by the World Bank (See listed under “low-income” and “lower-middle-income” economies).

  1. Are organizations from one region (e.g., East Africa) eligible to submit EOLs focusing on countries of another region (e.g., Southeast Asia)?

Yes. However, lead institutions must be based in the country of research focus or in one of the focus countries in the case of multi-country projects.

  1. Is there a preference for regional or inter-regional projects?

No, there is no preference.

  1. Is there a preference for regional and cross-country projects or detailed work in one country?

Projects do not have to cover many countries or regions; they can focus on specific countries or region or can be cross-regional.

While we do not have a strong preference in this regard, it is important that the work be contextualized and have strong policy relevance in the country or countries of focus.  We support evidence for good policies at the national level; however, we also support projects that address common questions across countries where comparative perspectives can enhance policy options and the sharing of lessons.

  1. Are there any restrictions on the low- and lower-middle-income countries where research can be carried out?

IDRC funds research in many countries of the Global South, but the Centre is bound by Canadian law, which may restrict or prohibit funding for research and organizations in specific countries and/or regions. For example, if the law limits banking transactions by Canadian financial institutions in a particular country, IDRC will not undertake any form of programming in the country. 

In project selection, IDRC will also take into account programmatic considerations, such as the regional spread of the portfolio of projects and the time necessary for obtaining research clearance in each country.

In Asia, institutions in advanced economies and large emerging economies including China and India, are NOT eligible as leads in this call.

  1. In the application portal, applicants are invited to indicate the country or countries of their research focus. At this point, if we do not yet know which countries we will be working in, should we include those we anticipate working in and change it later if need be?

Yes, you can. Please fill out the form to the best of your knowledge at this stage, while noting that the suggested research project should be based in a low- and lower-middle-income country or countries as defined and classified by the World Bank (See response to question #3 above as well).


  1. How do I access the online application portal?

The link to the application portal can be found on the IDRC funding page. The application portal is accessible via Survey Monkey here as well.

All those who wish to tender will have access to the portal. No password is required to access the application portal.

  1. What do you mean by addressing structural barriers?

Structural barriers in the context of this call are barriers — such as laws, policies, attitudes, and norms — that inhibit women’s opportunities, their participation in decision-making, and market access, impacting their ability to reach their full potential.

  1. What is your definition of “lead institution”?

The lead applicant or lead institution is responsible for the intellectual conception and implementation of the idea, the direction of the proposed activities, and the management of the grant and the relationship with IDRC. The lead applicant should submit the application to IDRC on behalf of the partnership (if applicable).

  1. What will you be looking for in a lead institution?
  • Ability to manage a large-scale grant from a financial and operational point of view
  • Presence in the field, i.e., presence in the country of research focus, or in one of the focus countries in the case of multi-country projects
  • Thematic experience in the proposal’s subject
  • Ability to carry out multi-disciplinary research, with multi-stakeholder and diverse teams
  • Ability to provide or access gender expertise
  • Ability to bring together multiple partners (e.g., research organizations, policymakers, private-sector and civil society organizations, etc.) and members of a consortia (if that is the case)
  • Ability to participate in knowledge exchange with other organizations and projects, including those supported by IDRC
  • Strong policy influence in the country of focus (or at least one of the countries if multi-country project)
  1. Can applicant organizations involve additional partners?

Yes. Impactful projects often require multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary teams. Partnerships between research institutions, policymakers, and private-sector and civil society organizations are expected and will be assessed favorably.

  1. What is your definition of a “collaborating institution”? 

The lead applicant may include as many collaborating institutions/ co-applicants as are needed for the project (the application form requires you to name up to 5, see below). IDRC will however enter in a grant agreement with the lead applicant only. The lead applicant can negotiate and develop funding arrangements directly with collaborating institutions/co-applicants. Collaborating institutions/co-applicants are those that will participate directly in the conduct of the research but will not receive funds directly from IDRC. In this case, the proposing institution (lead applicant) is responsible for disbursement of funds and for ensuring that all institutions abide by the standard terms and conditions that apply to the IDRC grant.

  1. Is there a maximum number of partners/ institutions that the lead applicant can enter as collaborating institutions?

The application portal allows space to enter up to five collaborating institutions that the lead applicant can propose as partners of the proposed research, i.e., “collaborating institutions.”

  1. What do you mean by “consortia”?

(As above) The term consortia refer to a group of organizations/institutions that come together to develop the EOI and who will receive funding to implement a project (through the lead institution).

  1. Can a consortium contain a South-North partnership?

IDRC’s mandate is to support researchers based in low- to middle-income countries. Research consortia comprising Southern and Northern institutions (based in OECD countries) will be considered where the Southern partner is the lead. Applications must focus on evidence for low- and lower-middle income countries, demonstrate full engagement of Southern partner and aim to strengthen local research capacity.


  1. What is the allowed duration of the proposed projects?

Project duration for this call can be up to 30 months.

  1. As there are many variables that are still unknown due to COVID-19 implications, how can we plan research design and methodology?

IDRC understands that variables change over time and that project design is likely to shift during the expected lifecycle. EOIs should indicate how projects will respond to changing scenarios and describe capacity to transition and how project design will incorporate feedback loops.

  1. Do these grants fund both qualitative and quantitative research?

Yes, the grants can support both qualitative and quantitative research. In fact, appropriate combination of quantitative and qualitative research is encouraged.

  1. Please clarify whether secondary research, for example systematic or literature reviews covering global evidence, would be eligible?

Secondary research is considered essential to ensure the proposed research builds on existing knowledge. The project selection will prioritize projects that clearly demonstrate the potential impact of the research.

  1. Can an institution propose more than one EOI?

 An institution can be involved in multiple proposals/EOIs but can only be the lead applicant for one.


  1. What currency should the budget be submitted?

The budget needs to be submitted in the working currency of the lead applicant as indicated in the budget template shared on the online platform. However, please note that while the applicant is required to submit the budget in their working currency, they need to convert the total amount requested into Canadian dollars to answer question 1.4 in the online application. 

  1. If there are institutions collaborating from different countries of the Global South, does the EOI need to be submitted in the lead institution’s working currency?

Yes, the EOI needs to be submitted in the lead applicant’s working currency.

  1. Do I need to submit separate budgets for the lead applicant and collaborating institutions?

No. In the case of a consortium, please submit one indicative budget including expenses of the lead applicant. Please note that at a later phase of project development, successful applicants will be required to complete a more detailed budget.

  1. What is the limit of indirect costs or overhead costs allowable?  

Indirect costs are allowable up to a maximum of 13% of the overall budget for each member. Please refer to Guidelines for Acceptable Project Expenditures for more information on indirect cost. This amount applies for any amounts allocated to subcontracting. Please note that the total budget including the indirect costs should not be higher than the maximum amount of funding mentioned above.


  1. Which browser is best to use to open the online application platform?  

We recommend that you use one of the following browsers: Safari, Chrome, or Microsoft Edge. It is not recommended that you use Internet Explorer. 

  1. How do you start an online application?

Follow this link to the online application portal. Fill out each section, and once you are sure you have uploaded all necessary documents and answered all questions, hit “mark as complete.”

  1. Can I edit my application after I ‘save and exit’? 

 Once you hit “mark as complete” you will not be able to go back and edit your responses for any given section. If you wish to save your responses and return to them later, please click "Save and continue editing”.

  1. Can I submit more than one application?

No. Also, a person cannot be the lead applicant for more than one project under this call.

  1. Can we submit EOIs in English or French?

Yes, EOIs may be submitted in either of IDRC’s official languages: English or French.

  1. In the EOI, may we add links/graphs/tables? Do these form part of the word limit?

At this this stage of EOI submission, we encourage you NOT to include these, links will not be considered or consulted in the evaluation, and your EOI needs to remain within the word limit allocated to each section.

  1. How detailed and well-referenced must an EOI be, given the short time for submission?

Proponents are advised to use their best judgement given word limitations, and ensure their applications explain as clearly as possible the various elements of the proposed research.

  1. What do I do if I encounter technical difficulties while trying to submit my application?

We require applicants to apply using the Survey Monkey Apply system and submit all required information and documents before the deadline. However, we do understand that some applicants may face technical difficulties in uploading the required information. If this is your case, please do follow these steps:

  • If you are having technical problems uploading the required documents, please write immediately to describing the problem.  We will connect you with our IT system specialist who will work with you to solve the problem.
  • If you continue to have a problem and our IT specialist is unable to solve the issue, please send an email to requesting permission to submit the application via email at least two days before the application submission due date
  • Once you have received permission from IDRC, you can then submit via email, quoting the permission granted.
  • Please do note that, in any case, applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  1. Is it possible to modify the EOIs before the closing date of 13 April 2021 if it has already been submitted?

Once you click the “submit” button, you may not modify your EOI. We encourage you to double check your application before submission to ensure that all information is correct.


  1. How will the review of the applications be conducted?
    The EOIs will be reviewed by a team of IDRC technical experts. Eligible applications will be reviewed according to the review criteria specified in the call document.
  2. When can applicants expect to receive a response to their EOIs?
    We aim to provide notification of results (technical selection) by 12 May 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter. Following this, successful applicants will receive correspondence that they have been preselected to further develop their proposal, with details of requirements for submitting a full proposal.