University of Gondar/Queen’s Research Grants for Inclusion of People with Disabilities Request for Proposals – May 2020

The University of Gondar in Ethiopia (UoG) and Queen’s University in Canada (Queen’s) are soliciting proposals for collaborative research projects. These projects will be funded by the Mastercard Foundation via the Scholars Program and its joint partnership between Queen’s University and the UoG. We anticipate that this research will advance practical knowledge and measures for (a) inclusion within primary, secondary, or tertiary education and/or (b) improved community-based rehabilitation (CBR) practices that enable access to and quality of schooling for young people with disabilities. Research should be relevant to Ethiopia specifically or the continent of Africa more generally.

Eligible Topics

This research will answer questions related to access, quality, and relevance of education or CBR programming for people with disabilities and will address gaps in research and practice in Ethiopia and regionally. Some examples of types of projects this Request for Proposal (RFP) will fund include (but are not limited to):

  • Accommodations for people with disabilities in post-secondary education in Ethiopia/Africa
  • Educational technology / appropriate technology in Ethiopia/Africa
  • Disability and inclusive education policy creation and implementation at UoG and other Mastercard Foundation partner universities or in Ethiopia/Africa
  • Social determinants of health and disability and impact on inclusive education in Ethiopia/Africa
  • Transition to work, livelihoods, and link between education and accessible employment in Ethiopia/Africa
  • Impact of CBR programming on access to education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia

We anticipate that the knowledge gained through these projects will enrich course content, global understanding, and will advance Ethiopian and regional understanding of and priority for inclusive higher education and CBR implementation. To learn more about CBR, applicants may access the following link https://www.who.int/disabilities/cbr/en/.

The increased knowledge from these projects could impact national policy and programming, which could have great benefit for the estimated 17.6 million people with disabilities living in Ethiopia and/or people with disabilities in other African countries. Our vision for the dissemination of the research on inclusive education is that it will also have a transformative impact on educational approaches, university policy, and program implementation for the Foundation’s partners (universities and NGOs) who currently support over 19,000 enrolled Scholars.

Eligibility Requirements

Submitted proposals will be pre-screened for completion and eligibility. Proposals that do not meet eligibility requirements will be disqualified and will not be considered for a full review. Please see Appendix I.

  • Research must demonstrate potential to advance knowledge about inclusive education or CBR in Ethiopia, Africa, or within the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Partner
  • Each project must have at least one named co-PI with an academic appointment at Queen’s
  • Each project must have at least one named co-PI with an academic appointment at the UoG. (Information sessions will be provided at each site to support collaboration).
  • All proposals must adhere to relevant Mastercard Foundation policies, particularly on issues related to child protection, privacy, ethics and meaningful involvement of people with disabilities and other relevant stakeholders. See link https://mastercardfdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/MCF11008_RELPolicy_Final1-Accessible.pdf
  • Proposal are not required to have a certain number of Fellows or Scholars to be included in the research however research incorporating more learning opportunities for more Fellows and Scholars will be advantaged in the competition.
Additional Information

Multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary projects are encouraged.

A major defining aspect of successful research projects will be practical approaches to knowledge-translation for inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and/or for CBR practice within Ethiopia.

We expect that research conducted through successful proposals and beyond will be showcased at an interdisciplinary conference on inclusive education and CBR in 2021/2022. This conference will be organized in collaboration with Queen’s and UoG personnel and will increase the networking and organizing capacity of faculty and students, expose students to international research, and enhance the international reputations of both institutions as it relates to disability and development.

Connecting With Co-PIs

UoG and Queen’s faculty are encouraged to identify potential research partners as early as possible to ensure effective collaboration.

Queen’s and UoG personnel are also willing to facilitate collaboration among faculty members across the institutions. If you want us to get involved in developing networks, please send your research interest and contact details to the Research and Learning Coordinator at [email protected]. We will match faculty members with similar interest.

  • UoG faculty members please note that all Queen’s University faculty members have public profiles listed on their affiliated department webpages.  We encourage you to search independently on relevant Queen’s departmental websites to identify and reach out to a potential faculty member partner.
Proposal and Formatting Guidelines

Documents must be single-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font, with 1-inch margins.

The coversheet template provided (see Appendix II) must accompany each proposal and clearly indicate the research team composition and student team members. The coversheet is not included in the 10-page proposal limit.

Each proposal may not exceed ten pages. This 10-page limit does not include the cover page, budget justification document, investigator CVs (5-page maximum), and letters of support. Proposals that do not use the 7 major headings (Background and Relevance, Methods, Results, Research Team, Engagement of Fellows and Scholars, Knowledge Translation and Budget Justification) as outlined in the rubric (see Appendix III) and follow the page limit, will not be put forward for panel review. To support multi-disciplinary collaboration, research teams may use any citation format, as long as there is consistency of citation format throughout the document.

Budgets must utilize the budget template, cost and exchange guidelines provided (see Appendix IV). Please refer to the “Instruction & Guidelines” tab before using the budget template. Faculty members are also encouraged to read the budget policy to get ideas about eligible or ineligible expenses before using the budget template (see Appendix V).

The budget justification document may not exceed two pages and is in addition to the 10 pages allowed for the proposal.

 Letters of Support from relevant stakeholders (e.g., community partners, government agencies), where applicable, may be submitted to indicate efforts have been made to ensure project feasibility. Each letter of support may not exceed one page and must be single spaced Times New Roman 12 point font, with 1-inch margins. Up to 5 letters of support are accepted.

Selection Process

Proposals will be solicited, reviewed, and selected on an annual basis. Solicitation begins with this RFP being disseminated in May of each year. The deadline for proposals will be on September 16, 2020, with results communicated to all parties no later than the end of December each year.

Proposals will be peer-reviewed by a panel of experts, with representation from two UoG selected members, two Queen’s University selected members, and a Mastercard Foundation representative. This review panel will be nominated by their respective institutions and will be composed of reviewers with a strictly arms-length relationship with every proposal under consideration and the appropriate expertise to review the proposals submitted. Every member of the committee will have no prior working relationship with any of the PIs who have proposals under review.

Each reviewer will independently read and rank each proposal based upon the review criteria (Appendix III) they will submit their independent reviews to the Queen’s Research and Learning Coordinator at least one week prior to the scheduled review meeting. At the review meeting, each proposal will be discussed by an arms-length committee, which will arrive at a consensus on scores. The highest scoring proposal will be awarded the funding, and decisions will be communicated to all applicants promptly. The annual competition will run until all eight projects are funded.

Cost Guidelines

We anticipate that each successful grant will be accorded up to $60,000 USD total over a maximum two-year period.

Allowable expenses will be in accordance with relevant UoG and Queen’s policies on allowable expenses. Research projects will be outlined in MOUs signed by the co-PIs. Reporting of Ethiopian expenses will be through the UoG Mastercard Foundation office, and reporting of Canadian expenses will be through the Queen’s Office of University Research Services.

Reporting responsibilities will be clearly laid out in the project MOU for successful projects.

Examples of costs that we anticipate might be included in the project budget requests include (but are not limited to): specialized software for survey creation, data collection, and data analysis; wages for research assistants; telephone or skype credit for interviews and arranging of logistics and coordination and communication amongst the research team; costs for specialized equipment needed to conduct the research (e.g., rehabilitation devices not owned by the University); costs to transcribe and/or translate data; open access publishing costs; and transportation costs for data collection. Please refer to the budget policy for further details (Appendix V)

Reporting
  • Researchers will be required to submit narrative reports (annually), financial report (every six months) and a final report upon completion of the project
  • Original receipts / boarding passes must be retained and submitted to the relevant project office (Ethiopia for Ethiopia-based expenses; Canada for Canada-based expenses).
  • The Mastercard Foundation may request additional reports from researchers to assist in informing programmatic areas related to disability inclusion.
Conflict of Interest

Mastercard Foundation project staff will be eligible to submit applications as co-PI, however, they will hold the burden of proof to demonstrate ability to lead a research project outside of, and in addition to, their expectations as staff on the Mastercard Foundation project. It may be challenging for someone working 100% for the Mastercard Foundation project to be able to demonstrate this capability and this should be taken into consideration – both by the potential applicant and by the selection committee. A Mastercard Foundation staff with a 75% appointment to the project could, however, feasibly contribute to the research project at 25%, and so on.

The arms-length selection committee’s decisions will be independent of Mastercard Foundation project staff. Mastercard Foundation project staff may offer support in the coordination of the process (e.g., collecting applications, arranging selection committee meetings, communicating results) but will not participate in or influence decision-making in any way. Any questions asked to Mastercard Foundation staff about this initiative will be posted on the project website under FAQs, to enable all potential applicants to receive equal benefit from the answers. If Mastercard Foundation staff members plan to submit applications as co-PIs or team members, they will completely recuse themselves from the research project coordination process at the date of the publication of that year’s RFP and will not be involved in any coordination activities in the year of application. Every effort will be made throughout the selection process to ensure that Mastercard Foundation project staff do not receive unfair advantage over other applicants.

If the successful applicant is a Mastercard Foundation project staff member, he or she cannot receive additional payment as part of their work on the research project. Other financial implications (such as travel) would need to be explicitly detailed to ensure the best value for the money and to eliminate redundancies (e.g., extending travel planned as part of regular duties to incorporate research-related travel).

Any applicants proposing research involving Mastercard Foundation Scholars at the UoG as subjects or informants, must clearly articulate potential conflict of interest (e.g. someone who is involved in supporting a Scholar on a counselling basis, also studying them for one of the research pieces) and identify steps they will take to mitigate potential conflicts. These steps would need to be approved by the Mastercard Foundation prior to commencement of data collection.

Questions

Questions or concerns related to this RFP or the research project selection process can be directed to project co-Directors, Heather Aldersey (Canada): [email protected] or Solomon Mekonnen (Ethiopia): [email protected] and Research and Learning Coordinator, Reshma Parvin Nuri : [email protected].

Communication of Results

The Research and Learning Coordinator, UoG/Queen’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will inform all applicants in writing of the outcome of their applications in December of each year. Results will not be provided by telephone.

Deadline and Where to Submit the Proposal

Proposals must be submitted by email to the project Research and Learning Coordinator Reshma Parvin Nuri at [email protected] by 5:00 pm EST on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

Documentation Checklist

Please ensure that you have included all the required documentation.

  • Coversheet
  • Complete proposal
  • Budget and budget justification
  • CV of the co-PIs
  • Letters of Support (optional)