University of Gondar/Queen’s Research Grants for Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Request for Proposals – March 2019

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 University of Gondar. 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
Eligibility requirements
Additional Information
Selection process
Connecting with co-PIs
Proposal guidelines
cost guidelines
Conflict of Interest
Research Budget Template

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 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. 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

      • Research must demonstrate potential to advance knowledge about inclusive education or community-based rehabilitation in Ethiopia, Africa, or within the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Partner network.
      •  Each project must have at least one named Co-PI with an academic appointment at Queen’s University.
      •  Each project must have at least one named Co-PI with an academic appointment at the University of Gondar.
      •  All researchers must adhere to relevant Mastercard Foundation policies, particularly on issues
      • related to child protection, privacy, ethics and meaningful involvement of PWDs and other
        relevant stakeholders.
  •  Research projects must provide opportunities for learning and engagement of (a) University of Gondar faculty completing Master’s or PhDs at Queen’s; and/or (b) Mastercard Foundation Scholars completing Undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of Gondar.

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

  • Applicants are encouraged to visit this google document to enter in their general area of interest and/or theme of research and personal information. UoG and Queen’s faculty are encouraged to identify potential research partners as early as possible to ensure effective collaboration.
    • All faculty members are encouraged to use this document for networking and connection across faculty members. Please add your information to the relevant chart in the google doc.
    • The first chart on google docs is for faculty members affiliated with Queen’s University and the second chart is for faculty members affiliated with the University of Gondar. Be sure to include your email address. Faculty members at both institutions must take responsibility to reach out to other faculty members listed in this document – if you see someone with an interesting profile or background, please go ahead and send them an email to reach out (do not just wait to be contacted after you put your information in the chart). You may then continue discussions around proposal development via email or on private google docs.
    • Information sessions will be provided at each site to support collaboration and are scheduled to run in mid to late April.

*University of Gondar faculty members please note that all Queen’s University faculty members have public profiles listed on their affiliated department webpages. If you do not identify an appropriate potential co-PI in the list below, 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

Formatting Guidelines

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

The coversheet template (provided in Excel) 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 below and follow the page limit, will not be put forward for panel review. Please see Appendix 2. 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 Excel budget template, cost and currency guidelines provided.

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.

Proposals must be submitted by email to the project Research and Learning Coordinator Nomusa Mngoma at [email protected] by 5:00 pm EST on Monday, September 16, 2019.

Selection process

Proposals will be solicited, reviewed, and selected on an annual basis. Solicitation begins with this RFP being disseminated in March of each year. The deadline for proposals will be on September 16, 2019, 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 2) they will submit their independent reviews to the Queen’s Research and Learning Coordinator at least 1 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 overall Mastercard Foundation budget guidance 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 Part B 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.


  • Researchers will be required to submit narrative and financial reports 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 starting with the 2018
RFP (this call), 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 University of Gondar 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 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, Nomusa Mngoma: [email protected].


Pre-Screening Criteria


Criteria Considerations Score
Screening: Requirements for evaluation. A No in any category will disqualify the proposal. Was the proposal submitted by the published deadline? Y/N
Is there a Co-PI from University of Gondar and a Co-PI from Queen’s University? Y/N
Does the proposal follow formatting guidelines: margins, major level headings, page limits, utilizes coversheet and budget template provided? Y/N
Alignment with Mastercard Foundation Research/Evaluation/Learning policy Does the proposed research align with the Mastercard Foundation Research/Evaluation/Learning policy ( FOUNDATION11008_RELPolicy_Final1.pdf) particularly on issues related to child protection, privacy, ethics and meaningful involvement of PWDs and other relevant stakeholders? Y/N
Does the proposed research indicate how consent and safety of children or other vulnerable populations (if applicable) will be managed? Y/N
Has the research team taken into account all relevant ethical considerations? Y/N
  Does the proposed research allow meaningful involvement of PWD’s and other relevant stakeholders?


Does the proposed research integrate qualitative and quantitative methods as encouraged by MCF guidelines?

Overall, does the proposal align with the Mastercard Foundation Research, Evaluation, and Learning policy, as applicable? Please explain/comments: Y/N


Scoring Criteria for Applicants

Each section listed below will be evaluated using the following Likert scale scoring.

1 2 3 4 5
Very Poor Poor Fair Good Very Good
Criteria and Considerations



Background and Relevance Score
Is the literature review relevant and focused? Does the background section justify the need for the work?


Are the issues clearly and concisely stated?

Does the literature reviewed build logically to the question(s)?

Are the proposed research questions clearly articulated, and flow logically from the review of literature and presentation of the problem?

Is the selected topic for research in line with the given thematic area?

Are projects relevant to Ethiopian or broader African contexts?

Are the methods selected appropriate to answer the research question identified?


Will methods involve the active participation of people with disabilities and other relevant community stakeholders to define research priorities, conduct research, and/or apply knowledge gained? (Proposals that meet this criteria will be scored higher). Does the methodology include Participatory Approaches? (Proposals that meet this criteria will be scored higher)

Do the methods allow meaningful integration of Queen’s Master’s and PhD fellows and UoG MasterCard Foundation Scholars? E.g., training in various research methodologies, will they be involved in analyzing data, will they be involved in sharing insights with various audiences once research is complete etc.?

Has the research team engaged with relevant policy makers e.g. Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health etc. to ensure support for their proposed research?

How will the outcomes inform/improve CBR practice in Ethiopia and beyond (within Africa)? Will the research be completed in the allotted 2-year period or less?



Research Team


(Use table provided and include in body of proposal)

Does the team include adequate members to do the proposed work? Please include team members’ education, training and experience.


Is there clear evidence of collaboration between team members in the writing of the proposal?

Is there clear evidence of collaboration between team members in the execution of the proposed research?

Does the team have the capability to conduct the research proposed?

Is there appropriate distribution between Queen’s and UoG?

Is there a relative gender balance within research teams or commitment to address this within the research design? (e.g., Fellow/Scholar involvement)?

Engagement of MCF Fellows and Scholars  
How many opportunities are there for PhD Fellow dissertation opportunities?


Have these Fellows already been identified?

How many opportunities for MasterCard Foundation Scholars to be involved?

What is the nature of the students’ (Fellows and Scholars) involvement?

Knowledge Translation  
How will knowledge be shared with affected individuals, institutions and (people with disabilities) PWD organizations?


How will knowledge be shared with the University of Gondar, Queen’s University communities and other African educational institutions to enhance inclusive education, workplace inclusion and/or CBR?

Where the knowledge generated is related to inclusive higher education, CBR how will that be shared with the University of Gondar and relevant policy makers?

Budget Justification  
Does the budget follow the template, currency and cost guidelines?


Are costs reasonable (e.g. not over or underestimated)?

Can the project reasonably be conducted with the resources available?

Are all expenses clearly justified?

Are expenses consistent with Mastercard Foundation policies?


Documentation Checklist
Please ensure that you have included all the required documentation.

  • Proposal
  • Coversheet
  • 󠆹Budget (Excel) and Budget Justification (word or PDF)
  • Letters of Support (optional)

Visit our FAQ section for a list of commonly asked questions.

Research Budget Template

Activity  Assumptions (please provide a breakdown of the estimated # of days each role will spend on the various phases of the project, and estimated number of day, participants role) Rate of payment Note Total in Canad Dollar Exchange rate in birr Total in Birr
 Salary & wage            0
Total       0   0
Communication and travle            
Total       0   0
 field Material, office supplies and training            
Total       0   0
Sub-Total Project Budget before Allocated Overhead     TRUE    

You can download the budget template by clicking here