Bill and melinda gates foundation_agricultural_development



We seek new approaches for strategic prioritization of agricultural development policies. We specifically encourage approaches that not only help countries prioritize agricultural development policies, but also inform long-term strategic planning. Proposals must closely align with the goals of the Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development team. Although proposed solutions may be generated from ideas and contexts outside of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), all solutions must be relevant, transferrable, and applicable, in our SSA focus countries: Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. These approaches could include one or more of the following:

  • Building a more robust approach to the challenge of policy prioritization using – but not limited to – modeling, e.g., creating a new “package” or “blend” of complementary practices that maximizes current tools to expand their use in data-scarce SSA contexts
  • Improving how modeling is currently done, including new innovations around the cost-benefit analysis element of modeling
  • Exploring alternative analytical approaches to the policy prioritization challenge outside of modeling altogether

What we are looking for:

  • Approaches should help countries prioritize which policies they should focus on when they are faced with a wide range of options – a related but distinct challenge from assessing the quality or feasibility of a single, already-identified policy choice, which is not the focus of this Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) call for proposals
  • Approaches can already have been proven in other disciplines and sectors (e.g., behavioral economics, data science, web crowd-sourcing, or the infrastructure sector), but not yet have been validated for policy prioritization in low-income countries
  • Approaches can be stand-alone or coupled with additional tools and methods, and can be either a long-term approach or paired with short-term, demand-responsive policy technical assistance
  • Approaches or models should yield detailed and specific recommendations that will enable countries to unambiguously allocate budgets consistent with their policy choices
  • Approaches should be suitable for the SSA context and based on data with demonstrated availability, e.g., they should not consist of economic modeling of returns on investment that are based on very high-quality, comprehensive data sets
  • Approaches should be distinct from and not duplicate ongoing work by the Agricultural Development team that is outside the scope of this call for proposals: literature reviews reflecting various country’s pathways towards IAT; expert consultations and convenings to learn about new tools and policy approaches; and diagnostic reports identifying “binding constraints” to achieving IAT through methods such as benchmarking, empirical research, price distortion analysis, consultations with the private sector and other information

All proposals should:

  • Be clear about who the user and audience would be
  • Be clear about what can be done in the Phase 1 stage of the grant ($100K over 18 months) and what would be a Phase 2 step
  • Show how this approach breaks new ground or extends existing approaches
  • Build in an acknowledgment of developing country contexts and potential political economy factors when demonstrating the potential success of the approach
  • Outline the skills and environment needed to replicate and scale the approach
  • Show specificity in recommendations
  • Provide examples of actionability from developing country’s perspectives

We will not consider funding:

  • Literature reviews
  • Models or approaches that only offer broad, non-specific recommendations
  • Methods or approaches that are not likely to be replicable or successful under developing country conditions
  • Traditional policy modeling approaches
  • Theoretical research
  • Ideas for which a relevant indicator of success cannot be demonstrated within the scope of the GCE Phase 1 award ($100K over 18 months)


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