Frequently Asked Questions

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Program Basics

Terms: How are the following terms used by the Program?

Benefits

Eligibility

Responsibilities

Research Topic Choice

Research partnerships and collaboration

Selection Criteria, Selection Process and Announcement of Results

Application

Research Grant

Consultation and Resources for Applicants

Research Products: Ownership and Dissemination

 


Program Basics

  • What are the Program's objectives?

The objectives of the Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program are to deepen and strengthen the capacity of emerging scholars in developing countries to carry out rigorous research on the impact of public access to ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies), while simultaneously increasing the availability of high-quality research in the subject area coming from the developing regions of the world.

  • What will the Program do?

The Program will award up to 12 Research Fellowships to teams of emerging scholars from developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. These fellowships will provide research grant funding and specialized "mentoring" guidance to enable Fellows to carry out a new original research study that addresses one or more critical research questions regarding the impact of public access to ICTs.

Competition for the Fellowships is open to emerging researchers with excellent credentials, a good research proposal and suitable institutional backing. Eligible candidates may apply as sole researchers, but applications from teams of scholars are encouraged and will be favored by the selection process, given the added value that can be derived from collaborative efforts, particularly when research teams include members from various disciplines.

  • What is the relationship between the Amy Mahan Fellowship Program and the Global Impact Study of Public Access to ICTs?

"The Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information and Communication Technologies is a five-year research project sponsored by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is managed by IDRC in partnership with the Center for Information & Society at the University of Washington Information School." (http://globalimpactstudy.org/)

The Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program to Assess the Impact of Public Access to ICTs is set up as a component of the Global Impact Study project with the goal of broadening research capacity building opportunities. The IDRC sponsored Program will run for eighteen-months and is managed by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, in partnership with renowned scholars from leading research institutions based in Africa and the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Similar to the Global Impact Study, the Program focuses on assessing the impact of public access to ICTs and will cooperate with the Global Impact Study through the sharing of methodologies and results.

  •   How is the Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program organized and administered?

The Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is the Lead Academic Institution responsible for administering the Program. Two premiere UPF faculties have joined forces to manage the Program: Political and Social Sciences, and Information and Communication Technologies and designated Professor Francisco J. Proenza to be lead specialist in Public Access to ICTs and Program Manager responsible for technical and organizational aspects of the program. UPF has also designated a Program Officer, Lorena Camats, to support Management on administrative matters. UPF professors will also provide specialized scholarly support as needed.

Three regional Partners will work in partnership with UPF to implement and support the Program. The three regional partners and their base of operations is as follows:

  • Latin America and the Caribbean:  Hernán Galperín, professor at Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina;
  • Asia-Pacific:  Erwin Alampay, professor at the University of the Philippines in Manila;
  • Africa and the Middle East: Abioudun Jagun, Research Associate at South Africa's LINK Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Together with the Program Manager, these 3 regional partners make up the Program Implementation Team.

  • What is the Program's implementation calendar?

15 September 2009

Call for Proposals is launched.

October - November 30, 2009

Consultations: General and Topic Queries

31 December 2009

Submission of Applications Due

January 2010

Selection of Awards

2 February 2010

Announcement of Fellowship Awards

3-15 February 2010

Fellowship Agreements signed with Principal Investigators and Support Institutions

24-27 March 2010

Training and Research Planning Workshop (4 days)

15 Feb. 2010 - 14 February 2011

Field Research and mentoring activities

1 January - 31 March 2011

Research reports submitted and Program publication is prepared and disseminated

 


Terms: How are the following terms used by the Program?

  • Emerging Scholar

For purposes of this Fellowship Program, an emerging scholar is a person who is either presently pursuing a research postgraduate degree or is working as a researcher in a professional capacity that received his or her research post-graduate degree at most 7 years prior to the date of application.

A doctorate is often considered the standard "research postgraduate degree", but this is not always the case and emerging researchers that depart from the norm but are able to document a career commitment to scholarly research will also be considered to be "emerging scholars".

  • Research Team

A Research Team is a group of researchers, led by a Principal Investigator, who plan to carry out a study and aspire to Program Fellowship Support.

  • Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator is the leader of a research team applying for a Program Fellowship. She or he must be trusted by other team members (Associate researchers) as a responsible leader capable of directing the study proposed, and of managing Research Grant funds as is necessary to realize the study successfully. The Principal Investigator must also have the full backing of the Support Institution endorsing the application.

  • Associate Researcher

An Associate Researcher is any member of a Research Team other than the Principal Investigator.

  • Support Institution

The Support Institution is a legally established developing-country organization headquartered in an eligible country in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific or Latin America and the Caribbean that endorses the application, the Principal Investigator and the Research Team, and the proposed research study. If the Research Team is awarded a Fellowship, the Support Institution will sign a contract with UPF to administer Grant Funds and assume responsibility for supervising its satisfactory fulfillment.

  • Research Fellow

The Principal Investigator of a Research Team selected for an award will be designated an Amy Mahan Research Fellow.

  • Associate Fellow

Any member of a Research Team awarded a Fellowship, other than the Principal Investigator, will be designated an Amy Mahan Associate Fellow.

  • Research Grant and Research Grant Budget

An Amy Mahan Fellowship carries, among other benefits, a Research Grant award of up to 22,000€ to finance the expenses required to carry out a study, proposed by the Fellows as part of their application, assessing the impact of public access to ICTs.

The Research Grant Budget itemizes and projects expenses that the Research Team expects incur and to pay for using Research Grant resources, if it is awarded a Fellowship.

For details of eligible expenses please refer to the "Grant Budget Guidelines" in the Submission Guidelines.

  • The Study

The Study refers to the research investigation that applicants propose to carry out with Program support.

  • Program Implementation Team

The Program Implementation Team is made up of the UPF Program Manager plus the 3 regional partners.

  • Selection Panel

The Program's Selection Panel will be responsible for the final determination of Fellowship awards following the criteria developed for appraising the proposals.

Subject to adjustment, the Panel is expected to have the following 9 members:

1 Program Manager, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

1 Representative from IDRC

3 Regional partners

2 Senior UPF staff

2 External Reviewers

For details of the selection process see Award Criteria and Selection Process

  • International Research Advisor or International Advisor

International Research Advisor are highly qualified subject matter experts in public access to ICTs, research, impact assessment methodologies or other relevant fields of inquiry. They will be designated to provide guidance and advice to support each of the research teams awarded a Fellowship. International Research Advisor will also coordinate other technical inputs provided by the Program.

  • Training and Research Planning Workshop

This 4-day event will take place about 3 months after the granting of Fellowships. The workshop's objectives are to:

  1. strengthen project proposals through peer review;
  2. review and plan technical support inputs and future interactions between Fellows and technical support staff (International Research Advisors, Regional Partners, UPF staff);
  3. give participants an updated account of the Global impact study and get to meet other partners (IDRC and members of Global Impact Study research teams);
  4. render future communications between all stakeholders more effective.
  • Program outputs and development outcomes

The terms "outputs" or "intermediate outputs", refer to the immediate effects of an intervention (usually but not exclusively, a public intervention). Examples of outputs include: number of persons using a public access venue, number of persons trained in a software application, number of telecenters in operation, number of libraries equipped with computers, etc.

The "development outcomes of a Program" are its long-term (lasting) effects on a society; i.e. the social, political, and economic changes that occur at different levels of a population or group of people as a result of a program's implementation. Examples of development outcomes include: an increase in national incomes, achieving greater balance in the distribution of income or wealth, increasing access to services (public or private) by rural people, improved governance, strengthening of democratic institutions, reducing the frequency of violence against women, an increase in the general feeling of happiness among members of a population etc.

It is generally easier to observe and measure a Program's impact on outputs than on development outcomes.

  • Attribution Challenge

The attribution challenge is the extent to which the impact on long-term development outcomes (as opposed to immediate outputs) of a given intervention is attributable to the intervention itself, and not to other factors. For purposes of this Program, the interventions of interest may be defined broadly to include, for example, public access venues (of different kinds), programs that set up and give support to venues, services that are offered and delivered through the venues, support networks, etc.

Addressing the attribution challenge is a central concern of modern impact research in support of public policy and program design. Study proposals that adequately address the attribution challenge will tend to be favored by the Selection Panel.

For additional information on the attribution challenge, please refer to IDRC's "Evaluation Guideline No. 1: Addressing the question of Attribution in Evaluation", 2004.

  • Open Access

The Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program follows the widely accepted definition of Open Access developed by the Open Society Institute and used by IDRC: 

"By 'open access' to [research] literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."

See: http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-114320-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html and

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/boaifaq.htm

 


Benefits

  • What benefits will Fellows receive?

Selected Research Fellows will benefit from:

A grant of up to 22,000 € to fund the realization of their study, administered by the Support Institution with which the Principal Investigator is affiliated.

Guidance and advice from scholars who have carried out distinguished work in the assessment of the impact of public access to ICTs.

Participation in a Training and Research Planning Workshop in the early stages of the Program.

Opportunities for Fellows to share knowledge and network with other Fellows and with experts working in the field, including a visit by the International Advisor to the Research Team and the Support Institution;

Opportunities to co-publish their research results with renowned experts in the subject matter.

The opportunity to publish their study's findings in a special Program sponsored publication.

  • How will Associate Fellows benefit from the Program?

An Associate Fellow may derive significant benefits from participating in the Program, depending on the way that the study team is organized, substantive responsibilities are apportioned, and applicants seize the opportunities offered by the Fellowship.

Each and every Associate Fellow in a Research Team is expected to play a substantive role in the investigation. As vital members of a multidisciplinary team, each Associate Fellow will benefit from the Fellowship's Research Grant (22,000 €) that enables the realization of the study.

Research associates will also benefit from interaction with the International Research Advisor (e.g. during the Advisor's visit to the Research Team) and with other Program staff. They will have the opportunity to contribute to a scholarly publication in collaboration with the Principal Investigator and renown experts in the field.

Some benefits are limited by funding constraints. To be specific, participation in the Training and Research Planning Workshop can only be provided (travel and lodging) to the Principal Investigator. Nevertheless, Associate Fellows who are able to get funding from other sources are welcome to join and participate fully in Workshop activities.

The impact of the proposed study on developing country research capacity - as planned by the Research Team - is one of the first order selection criteria and deserves careful consideration by Team members as well as by representatives of the Support Institution, particularly as they complete Part III of their application.

  • How will a Support Institution Benefit from the Program?

In general, participating institutions will benefit from working in partnership with leading research institutions such as Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, the University of the Philippines, Manila and South Africa's LINK Cenre at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The program can also help strengthen the institution's capacity to implement research studies in an emerging multidisciplinary field. It may also help an institution position itself as a local or even international leader in "ICTs for development".

Depending on institutional objectives and the local context a participating institution may benefit in more specific ways. For example, Program participation may help a research center prepare its staff in anticipation of providing support to a national ICT for development effort; or it may help a university plan project activities in connection national research events, e.g. a conference or workshop.

The build up of local research capacity is a key Program objective and, accordingly, participation is not intended to place a burden on the Institution. The Research Grant may reimburse for the cost of the staff that the Support Institution allocates to the research study and up to 13 percent of the total expenses financed. (Please see the "Grant Budget Guidelines" in the Submission Guidelines).

Research Team and representatives of the Support Institution are encouraged to explore ways to fully profit from participating in the Program and to make these considerations explicit in Part III of the Application Form.

  • What kinds of guidance or scholarly inputs will the Program provide?

The typical Fellow and Associate Fellow(s) will already be getting scholarship guidance from advisors, groups of professors or peers. Some members of these support networks will be working alongside in the same institution with which Fellows are affiliated (i.e. the Support Institution), while others will be part of a broader research and at times virtual network.

The Program's scholarly inputs will not reproduce or compete with existing support networks. Instead, it seeks to strengthen the study and the expertise of Fellows, by making available specialized complementary advisory services from world-renowned subject matter experts in public access to ICTs, research, impact assessment methodologies or other relevant fields of inquiry

Shortly after awarding the Fellowships an International Research Advisor will be designated for each of the research studies. These Advisors will be responsible for ensuring rigor in the research study's design, execution, and reporting. They will be available to answer questions from Research Fellows and to attend specific technical requirements of their study. Also foreseen is one visit by the advisor to the place where the Fellows are conducting their research. Inputs from other advisors may be required and provided, but the International Research Advisor will remain as the primary source of guidance and will coordinate other scholarship support inputs.

Depending on each study's requirements other technical support inputs may be required. Resources for these purposes are limited, but the following examples illustrate the kind of specialized complementary assistance that could be considered:

  • selecting methods of analysis, development of data collection instruments, experimental design,
  • data analysis,
  • advice on technological options,
  • telecommunications regulation,
  • e-Government and m-Government
  • analysis of institutions, effectiveness and governance.

The following partners may be called upon to serve as International Research Advisors or to provide complementary inputs to support the needs of Research Fellows:

  • the three Regional partners, themselves distinguished scholars in public access to ICTs; 
  • highly qualified consulting experts.
  • Pompeu Fabra University scholars.

The Program Manager will monitor the progress of the Research Teams to facilitate their work and the successful realization of the studies.

  • How will the advisory support needs of Research Teams be determined?

Technical support inputs will be tailored to each Research Team, taking into account:

  1. research topic,
  2. weaknesses in the research study proposal identified during the selection process;
  3. specific needs for technical support identified by Fellows in Part III of their Application Form.

Part III of the Application Form (Implementation Plan) asks applicants to identify topics or fields of expertise they would like help with, and to explain how this assistance would help them carry out their study.

  •   How will a study's International Research Advisor be selected?

The matching of Research Fellows with International Research Advisor and other technical support inputs will be the responsibility of the Program Implementation Team, with input from the Selection Panel. It will be carried out shortly after the Fellowships have been awarded and will take into account the expertise and interest of potential International Advisors, the topic involved and the support needs of each study.


Eligibility

  • Who is eligible for an Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Award?

Program Fellowships are awarded to a research team or to individual researchers. The Principal Investigator in a team to which an award has been granted will be designated a Research Fellow and other team members, Associate Fellows. The Principal Investigator must be affiliated with an eligible developing country institution, which for Program purposes is the designated Support Institution.

  • What are the eligibility requirements of a Principal Investigator?

To be eligible for a Fellowship a Principal Investigator must:

  1. i. Be an emerging scholar, i.e. either presently pursuing a graduate research degree, or is working as a professional that received his or her doctorate degree at most 7 years previously.
  2. Work and reside in a developing country in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, or Latin America and the Caribbean.
  3. Have a formal affiliation with an institution with headquarter offices in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific or Latin America and the Caribbean that is eligible to function as Support Institution.
  4. Give evidence (tenure track position, term contract longer than 12 months, etc) of a commitment to remain at the same institution for the duration of the Fellowship.
  5. Give evidence of a long term commitment to a research career (e.g. current involvement in research activities, a long-term commitment to a research career, be currently involved in research training or have completed research training.
  6. Identify three referees that know the Principal Investigator well and are in a position to confirm her or his academic credentials.
  • What are the eligibility requirements of Associate Researchers?

Team members other than the Principal Investigator - should meet the first three requirements above, i.e., they should

  1. i. Be a university student; an emerging scholar; or a person occupying a research position in on academic, governmental, non-profit or business institution who received a university degree in a relevant discipline at most 7 years previously.
  2. Work and reside in a country in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
  3. Have a formal affiliation with an institution based in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific or in Latin America and the Caribbean that may or may not be the same as the Support Institution. 

Minor departures from these requirements may be permitted and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For example, scholars from developed countries with a specialized skill may be part of a team of predominantly developing country researchers investigating public access in one of the target regions. Similarly, a team led by an emerging Principal Investigator may include among its members experienced and well-established University professors.

In the case where an Associate Researcher does not fully meet requirements i-iii above, the role of this scholar in the study should be minor and the proportion of the Research Grant budget allocated to their input or under their control should not exceed 10% of Research Grant funding.

The situation should be made clear in Part III of the Application, where applicants are asked to describe the management structure of their study, attach terms describing the roles and responsibilities of every member of the research team, and to indicate how much of the research grant budget will be allocated to the different individuals working in the project.

  • What are the eligibility requirements for the Support Institutions?

The Support Institution may be an academic, public sector, private sector or civil society organization. To be eligible to participate in the Program, it should meet the following requirements:

  1. i. Have its headquarters in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific or in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  2. Be a reputable well-established institution that has as an important part of its mandate and activities the conduct of rigorous independent research.
  3. Have the capacity to sponsor the proposed research study, administer Grant funds and supervise the study as described in the Application submitted.
  4. Be legally recognized in the country where it has its headquarters and is physically located.
  5. Present no inordinate risk that could potentially jeopardize the completion of the proposed research study. There should be no potential conflict of interest with the study results and, therefore, there should be no direct link between the institution to the facilities or agency responsible for the intervention that will be the subject of study.
  • Are there country eligibility requirements?

In general, emerging researchers from developing countries from Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean are eligible to participate in the Program.

Researchers from high-income countries are not eligible (e.g. in Asia-Pacific: Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, New Zealand; in the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago).

Investigations in high-income countries may be used as a basis of comparison with developing country conditions, but the bulk of the research must be carried out in a developing setting. 

Studies that would be carried out in countries presenting undue risks to their completion or that would pose significant monitoring challenges (e.g. in conflicts areas) are also ineligible.


Responsibilities

  • What is the role of the Support Institution?

The Support Institution will have contractual responsibility for administering Grant funds and for supervising the successful completion of the Study within budget, within the agreed time frame and following high professional and ethical standards.

The Support Institution should discharge this responsibility in a manner that is fully supportive of the Principal Investigator and the Research Team. Although it may not always be practicable, ideally, the Principal Investigator would be the person entrusted by the Support Institution, and on whom authorization it vests to receive and manage the use of grant funds. (Please see details in "Who is responsible for managing research grant funds?)

The Support Institution will also be responsible for ensuring that productive use is made of all Fellowship benefits.

The Support Institution may assume other responsibilities in support of the research study and in order to fully profit from the Fellowship, and it is recommended that these be specified in Part III of the application.

  • What are the responsibilities of a Research Fellow?

A Principal Investigator who has been awarded a Fellowship - i.e. a Research Fellow - is responsible for:

  1. managing all intellectual inputs and outputs in the study;
  2. receiving and administering grant funds on behalf of the Support Institution (Please see details in "Who is responsible for managing research grant funds?)
  3. overseeing the realization of project deliverables, and
  4. submitting quarterly financial and performance reports as prescribed by the grant contract.
  • Who is responsible for managing research grant funds?

The Support Institution will have contractual responsibility for managing and administering the Research Grant.

In principle, the Principal Investigator should be designated as authorized representative of the Support Institution, and assigned responsibility for receiving, administering and managing research funds.

In practice, institutional restrictions may prevent the designated Principal Investigator from signing on behalf of the sponsoring institution in order to receive and administer Fellowship funds. This may happen, for example, where the Principal Investigator is a graduate student with insufficient authority to act on behalf of a sponsoring University. In such cases, the sponsoring institution may designate a staff member (e.g. a professor or administrator) to support the Principal Investigator. He or she will help the Principal Investigator in overseeing the grant fund disbursements and their application. In such cases, the applications will need to give evidence that this arrangement will work expeditiously and will be supportive of the study's implementation plans under the direction of the Principal Investigator.  

  • Is the Support Institution required to make a financial contribution?

The Support Institution is not required to make a financial contribution to the research study. The Support Institution may in fact request, through the Grant Budget, reimbursement for the staff it designates to work on the study, and to cover indirect expenses up to 13% of total grant funding.

By adding to the research resources available, the Support Institution may facilitate a study that is greater in scope. Making a material contribution to the research proposal is one way that a Support Institution may use to signal a commitment to the proposed study; but there are other meaningful ways of signaling commitment, such as seizing the opportunity to build up the institution's ICT research capacity.

Please refer to the "Grant Budget Guidelines" section of the Submission Guidelines.

  • What are the responsibilities of Associate Fellows?

The responsibilities of Associate Fellows need to be determined by the Research Team. They are likely to less demanding than those of the Principal Investigator, but should be specified with precision in Part III (implementation plan) of the application form.

Changes in Associate Fellows during implementation are allowed but should be diligently informed to the Program Manager.

 


Research Topic Choice

  • What research topics are suitable for Fellowship support?

A research topic is deemed suitable for Fellowship support if it is likely to contribute to our understanding of the impact of public access to ICTs; and is unlikely to duplicate efforts of the Global impact study's in-depth probes.

A summary description of the Global impact study probes is given in "Sample Research Topics and Overview of Global impact study Probes", and up to date information may be found in: (http://www.globalimpactstudy.org/researchdesign/methodologies/)

  • What is a Public Access Venue?

A public access venue is a facility that is open to the public at large, where users can access information and communication technologies. They can be established via government or donor institution support (i.e. using public funds), or via support from a private institution or foundation (i.e. using private funds). The primary determinant is that access to ICT and ICT-based services at these venues should not be exclusive to a particular group, but are open to the general public.

Following the Global impact study's Taxonomy guidelines[1], public access venues vary by ownership (Private, Public, NGO or Other), Business Mode (for-profit or not-for-profit), Internet Access Fee (Free, Paid, Not Applicable), Venue Type (Government Building, Post office, Religious institution, or other) and Mobility (Fixed, Mobile).

Only facilities and programs that provide shared public access to the Internet qualify as a subject of study under this program.

Consideration may be given to ways of providing access to ICTs other than through computers - e.g. mobile phones, WiFi, home computer use - but only to the extent that these other technologies are compared to shared computer access to the Internet. 

  • What is the relationship between topic and research question?

These terms are closely linked and often used interchangeably. A topic is generally described by a word or phrase which states a condition or assumptions about a particular problem or phenomenon to be investigated (impact of public access to ICT in our case); whereas a research question is cast as a question that attempts generate or validate an underlying hypothesis about a particular problem or a phenomenon. For example, the topic "Impact on users of games in CountryXYZ's telecenters", may also be presented as a question: "What is the impact of games in CountryXYZ's telecenters?"

  • What are the Global Impact Study's in-depth studies?

The Global Impact Study has selected the following five topics for in-depth investigation during its second phase of research implementation. 

Probe Name

Title of Study

Country coverage

1. Infomediaries

Info-mediaries: brokers of public access venues and their role in deepening the impact of public access to ICT

Chile, Bangladesh and Lithuania

2. Mobile Phones

Mobile Nexus with Public Access  - looking the growth of mobile technology and its relationship to public access to ICT impact

Bangladesh, Chile, Bangladesh, Chile, Lithuania, Philippines.

(Probe is under review)

3. Venue Life Cycle

Analysis of the life cycle of Public Access to Internet (PAI) venues located in libraries and telecentres

Bangladesh, Chile, Lithuania

(Probe is under review)

4. Collaborative Knowledge Sharing

End-user Sharing - a look at how certain end-user sharing behavior can or cannot influence the impact of public access to ICT.

Ghana

5. Non instrumental uses

The impact of non-instrumental uses of ICT (e.g. playing games) at a public access venue on the end-users IcT skills and other abilities.

Brazil, Uganda

A summary description of each probe is presented in the document "Sample Research Topics and Overview of Global impact study Probes". For up to date information see: www.globalimpactstudy.org/researchdesign/methodologies/.

  • What should an applicant do to try to avoid duplicating efforts?

Some overlap between the in-depth studies and the investigations selected for an Amy Mahan Fellowship is likely, even desirable, provided that research findings are complementary. Duplication of efforts is improbable because the in-depth probes target a limited number of countries and focus on particular hypotheses and approaches.

Nevertheless, proposals that duplicate efforts with in-depth study probes of the Global Impact Study will be disallowed. When choosing a topic applicants are urged to review the description of research design for both the survey studies and the in-depth studies presented in "Sample Research Topics and Overview of Global Impact Study Probes", and their up to date status at:

http://www.globalimpactstudy.org/researchdesign/methodologies/.

Diversity of research topic is one of the Program's selection criteria. Accordingly, similar proposals from different research teams could end up competing with each other. Unfortunately, the prospects of duplicate efforts between applicants are difficult to anticipate.

Research Teams can enhance their prospects of winning a Fellowship by coordinating efforts with other applicants planning a similar study.

The Program has instituted a special consultation procedure to help applicants identify research teams planning to work on a similar topic and facilitate the coordination of research proposals. Principal Investigators are encouraged to consult the suitability of their research topic with the Program Implementation Team by submitting a Topic Query with some lead-time before they submit their application. Please see:  "What is a Topic Query?"

  • Is the impact of mobile phones a topic suitable for Program support?

Only to the extent that research in mobile phones inform our understanding of the impact of venues that provide shared computer access to the Internet; e.g. that it has as a central feature a comparison between the impact of mobile phones with the impact of initiatives that provide shared public access to the computer and the Internet. 

  • Is the impact of a municipal WiFi network a topic suitable for Program support?

Only to the extent that research in this municipal WiFi network inform our understanding of the impact of venues that provide shared public access to the computer and the Internet. 

  • Is the impact of a system of sharing mobile phones a topic suitable for Program support?

Only to the extent that research in such a system of sharing mobile phones inform our understanding of the impact of venues that provide shared public access to the computer and the Internet. 


Research partnerships and collaboration

  • Can a single individual researcher apply for a Fellowship?

Stand-alone proposals from individuals will be considered, provided they meet all eligibility requirements including the pertinent institutional backing.

Team proposals are, however, considered to be more likely to have greater impact on local research capacity and will be favored by the selection process.

Individual researchers who wish to submit a proposal are encouraged to explore ways to collaborate with other scholars and submit a joint application as this will increase the prospects that their proposal is selected for a Fellowship.

For details, please refer to Award Criteria and Selection Process.

  • Do all members of a Research Team need to be affiliated with the same Support Institution?

Not necessarily. There may be opportunities for fruitful collaboration between researchers working on a single study (e.g. a comparative study), but who are working or otherwise affiliated with different institutions located in different parts of the country or even in different countries.

Every application submitted by a Team must designate a single Principal Investigator, and, by default, the institution to which this Principal Investigator is affiliated will also be the Team's Support Institution. A representative of the Support Institution will be expected to sign the Application Form and, if awarded a Fellowship, he or she will also sign the contract with UPF to administer Grant Funds and supervise the study. The country of residence and work of the Principal Investigator will be considered to be the country of origin of the proposal.

Applications from teams proposing a study in partnership with researchers affiliated to institutions other than the Support Institution should include essential information on the other participating institutions (In Part I of the Application Form) and, on Part III, describe carefully the ways in which the research work will be organized to assure the successful implementation of the study.  

  • What is the optimum size of a Research Team?

There is no fast rule. The optimum size of a Research Team will depend on the chosen topic and the expertise and research interests of team members. The specifics need to be planned and agreed upon by research members.


Selection Criteria, Selection Process and Announcement of Results

  • How will Fellows be selected?

The selection of Fellows will proceed in four stages.

The first stage will consist of a first sifting through the applications by the Program Manager and the Program Officer to make sure that eligibility requirements are met.

In a second stage the Program Manager and the corresponding Regional partner will review every application received from each region and will select the top ten applications for each region by applying the 7 first order selection criteria.

In the third stage the Selection Panel will apply the same 7 first-order selection criteria to grade and rank all of the short listed applications; i.e. the top ten short-listed applications from each region, or a total of 30 in all.

The Program's target is to grant 4 Fellowships per region provided that all awards meet a basic standard of quality. Some adjustments in the Selection Panel's ordering of proposals may be undertaken during this third stage in order to ensure that two second order criteria are met: diversity in the country of origin of proposals and diversity in research topic.

In the fourth and final stage the results of the selection process and awards will be announced and formal Fellowship offers will be made to the Researchers and Support Institutions selected.

Details of the selection process are given in Award Criteria and Selection Process.

  • What are the award selection criteria?

The first-order selection criteria that will be used to rate and award the Fellowships are:

  1. Presentation and clarity of the proposal
  2. Potential impact of research findings
  3. Quality of research design and methodology
  4. Scholarship record of Principal Investigator
  5. Adequacy of Budget, Work Plan and Plan for the Application of Funds
  6. Gender sensitivity of research proposal
  7. Impact on developing country research capacity. 

Two second-order selection criteria will also be used to award Program Fellowships: diversity in the origin of proposals (country of residence of Principal Investigator and Support Institution) and diversity in research topic.

The way that the Program will apply both primary and secondary criteria are described in Award Criteria and Selection Process.

  • Is gender a selection criterion?

Research proposals are expected to be sensitive to gender considerations. Women researchers are urged to participate, either as Principal Investigators or Associate Researchers. Nevertheless, the gender of research team members is not a selection criterion.

  • What role will geographic or topic diversity play in the selection process?

The Program target is to grant 4 Fellowships from different countries in each region. Some diversity in research topic is also desirable. For example, little would be gained from having two studies covering the same topic under very similar circumstances.

Research proposals will need to meet a basic standard of scientific quality to qualify for a Fellowship. Within this general requirement, adjustments in the Selection Panel's ordering of proposals may be introduced in order to achieve diversity in the origin of proposals or in research topic. The rules that will be followed to make any needed adjustments are described in "Award Criteria and Selection Process".

  • Will identifying our Team's advisory support needs (in Part III of application) affect our chances of being selected? How will this information be used?

Applicants' responses will not adversely affect their prospects of being selected for a Fellowship. Every researcher can benefit and learn from interacting with other professionals, especially if they are specialized in fields that complement his or her expertise. To be able to self-identify areas where support is needed is a sign of applicants' strength and self-confidence, not of weakness.

Once awards have been determined, this information will be used to tailor Program sponsored advisory inputs trying to try to meet the needs of each study and Research Team.

  • Will I be notified of the results of the selection process?

All applicants will be informed of the stage they reached in the competition and of how their application fared. For highly ranked submissions that failed to win a Fellowship, this information should help applicants strengthen their research proposal and perhaps help them secure alternative sources of support.


Application

  • When is the deadline for submitting an Application?

Midnight Eastern Standard Time, 31 December 2009.

  • In what languages are applications accepted? What are the Program's Working Languages?

The Program will accept applications in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish.

Research reports may also be prepared and submitted in any of these four languages.

English will be used as the common medium of communications with the Program Implementation Team, and amongst the different research teams from different countries and during the training workshop.

Financial reports should be prepared in English.

  • Who should sign the Application Form?

The completed Application Form should be signed by the Principal Investigator, by all participating Associate Researchers, and by an authorized Representative of the Support Institution.

 


Research Grant

  • Will the Program provide complementary funding for ongoing research?

Grant proceeds are intended to support new original research studies.

The Selection Panel may, on an exceptional basis, award a Fellowship that gives supplementary support to a public access impact study already under way. Applicants would need to justify such an exception, bearing in mind that grant proceeds may only be used to expand the scope of the ongoing study.

The justification must be written in a separate Annex (added to the Application Form) and specify:

  1. Why funding for the proposed expansion was not included in the original study?
  2. How will the original study's scope be expanded using Amy Mahan Program Grant funds?
  3. What has already been achieved by the study and what is the significance of its findings? How does progress to date serve to justify the proposed expansion?
  4. What benefit(s) will the expansion provide (e.g. generate additional knowledge, cover more geographic scope, etc.) to the existing study?
  • Is a Principal Investigator expected to work full time on the study?

The Principal Investigator will need to commit to working on the study for the planned duration of the research. Ideally, he or she should be dedicated to working full time on the study. Full time dedication may not be feasible in practice because of prior commitments, such as teaching responsibilities, but at least 50% dedication by the Principal Investigator is expected.

When preparing Research Grant Budget proposals, applicants should specify the level of dedication of each participating researcher: the number of work days per year and what this represents as a proportion of full-time dedication equivalent.

In the case of the Principal Investigator, departures from full time dedication to the study should be explained in a separate note attached to the budget.  

  • Can participating researchers be remunerated using grant funds?

Grant funds may be used to pay for the salaries of researchers working on the study, including the Principal Investigator and Associate Researchers, who plan to spend up to 100% on the project, provided they are not doing anything else but are dedicated full time to carrying out their approved research study. This means in practice that the Support Institution is being compensated for the researcher's salary while he or she is spending time on the project instead of teaching or performing other work for the institution. 

If prior to the grant award, the institution only employs a researcher part-time, grant funds may be used to pay the additional amount of their time that is reasonably required to carry out the research study. In such a case, an explanatory note should be attached to the budget submission.

Grant funds may not be used to pay for overtime, general staff insurance or recruitment costs or to "top-up" salaries.

In general, Grant funds may not be used to remunerate students who participate in the Program. An exception may be made in cases where engaging a student full time in the research study is only possible if he or she has to forego paid employment. Such an exception requires an explanatory note attached to the budget submission.

  • Is budgeting for overhead allowed?

Program funds may not be used to pay overhead.

The Support Institution may however charge a percentage of up to 13% of the total funding requested, to recover indirect costs it incurs in the process of supporting the Research Team, e.g. travel provided by the institution, computer facilities, meeting rooms, secretarial assistance, materials, photocopying, etc. 

Any other indirect expenses over this amount must be borne by support institutions and should not be included in the grant budget.

  • Should the costs of advisory support be included in the Research Grant?

No, they are over and above direct research costs, and should not be included in the Research Grant budget.


Consultation and Resources for Applicants

  • What resources are available to help prospective applicants learn about the Program and submit an Application?

Below is a complete list of resources that have been prepared to inform prospective applicants and help them strengthen their proposals and submit their application.

  • Below is a complete list of resources that have been prepared to inform prospective applicants and help them strengthen their proposals and submit their application.

Resource

Description or Purpose of Resource

Benefits, Eligibility and Procedures

Describes key Program features and procedures

Submission Guidelines

Guidelines for applying for a Program Fellowship.

Award Criteria and Selection Process

Describes in detail the Program's selection criteria and selection procedures.

Sample Research Topics and Overview of Global Impact Study Probes

Gives examples of the kinds of research topics that the Program will support and a summary description of the Global Impact Study's in-depth research probes.

Draft Ethical Standards that will Guide the Conduct of the Research

Draft ethical standards to be adhered to by all Fellows. Applicants may need to adjust the text (in a separate Annex to the Application Form) to suit the particular requirements of their investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions and answers about the Program.

General Query via email to: AmyMahanFellowship@upf.edu

Researchers interested in the Program who have particular questions for which they cannot find an answer may send an email with their query to the Program Manager. (Please review Program documents and FAQs before submitting a query.)

Topic Query

Principal Investigators may consult their (preliminary) choice of topic with the Program Implementation Team by filling out and submitting this form prior to 30 November 2009.

Application Form

Application form with instructions and sample budget template. The submission deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, 31 December 2009.

  • How do I submit a question to the Program Implementation Team?

Any interested candidate may submit a query to the Program Implementation Team by writing an email to: AmyMahanFellowship@upf.edu.

To keep the consultation load manageable and facilitate a quick response, candidates are asked to please review Program documents and the Frequently Asked Questions before submitting a query.

  • What is a Topic Query? What can I expect in response to a Topic Query?

A Topic Query is a special consultation procedure set up by the Program to help applicants identify research teams planning to work on a similar topic and promote coordination between research proposals.

Principal Investigators who submit a Topic Query will receive assistance in the form of a review of their choice of topic by the Program Implementation Team.

Within five working days after submitting a Topic Query, participants will receive a confidential email from the Program Manager indicating:

  1. Whether the chosen topic is considered suitable or not, and if not why this is the case.
  2. The Program Implementation Team may also make suggestions regarding possible adjustments in the chosen topic, to strengthen the research issues addressed by the study.
  3. Whether other known candidate applicants are addressing a similar topic. If other Principal Investigators are found to be working on a similar topic, they will be introduced to each other by email and encouraged to explore ways to collaborate by either joining forces in one research team or by submitting separate applications covering complementary aspects of the research.
  • What are the advantages of submitting a Topic Query?

A response to a Topic Query:

  1. Will give applicants greater confidence that their chosen topic is suitable for potential Research Grant funding.
  2. The Program Implementation Team may also find ways to adjust the chosen topic to strengthen the research issues addressed by the study and, if so, the pertinent suggestions will be made to the Principal Investigator.
  3. If other Principal Investigators are found to be working on a similar topic, they will be introduced to each other by email and encouraged to explore ways to collaborate by either joining forces in one research team or by submitting separate applications covering complementary aspects of the research.

If a Topic Query is submitted with sufficient lead-time, the response from the Program Implementation Team may enable applicants to make adjustments in their choice of topic and their study proposal and submit a stronger application.

  • Is submitting a Topic Query required?

No. Submitting a Topic Query is recommended but optional.

  • Who may submit a Topic Query?

Only Principal Investigators who plan to apply for a Program Fellowship may submit a Topic Query.

  • When does the consultation period end?

Queries (either general or topic queries) may be submitted for consultation up to 30 November 2009. After this date only very specific procedural queries will be entertained, on an exceptional basis.


Research Products: Ownership and Dissemination

  • Who will have copyrights of studies (or patents if pertinent) that result from the Program sponsored research?

The products of the study funded wholly or in part by this Fellowship will be open access. Researchers will have copyright over the publications that they have authored reporting on their research findings, mainly for the purpose of having control and ensuring the integrity of their own work. All applicants must agree that any resulting publications will be made freely available to the research community through open access channels and under an appropriate open content license such as the Creative Commons.

  • How will the Fellows' research findings be disseminated?

A special publication issued by UPF (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) in partnership with the Universidad de San Andrés, the University of the Philippines, the South Africa's LINK Center at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and IDRC - edited by the Program Manager and Regional Partners will present the findings of all of the research investigations, in their original language (English, Spanish, French or Portuguese).

The possibility of publishing all or most papers in a dedicated issue of a peer-reviewed journal will be explored. Individual researchers and teams will be encouraged to also publish their findings in lighter publications geared to policy makers, such as, for example, bulletins of regional regulators.

 


[1] Memorandum from UW Center for Information and Society to Country Research Teams dated 12 September 2008, available for download at: http://globalimpactstudy.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/inventoryguidelines_11_12.doc)