Request for Proposals from University of Chicago Faculty  

Issued by the Tata Centre for Development 


Issued: June 1, 2018 

Proposals Due: October 29, 2018 

Decision Announcement Date: Approximately December 1, 2018

Grant Period: January 1, 2019 - March 31, 2020 



The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD) develops innovative and integrated approaches to tackling some of India’s most pressing development issues. The Centre takes a rigorous problem-based approach, centering its efforts on clearly defined problems where there is potential for a scalable solution to make a difference. With generous support from the Tata Trusts, the TCD leverages UChicago’s world-class research expertise and long-standing ties to India, as well as its extensive global network to improve lives across India. 

The TCD is seeking applications for research on economics and growth, broadly defined, with policy implications. Projects on energy, environment, health, water and sanitation, and development economics are encouraged. Proposals must involve work in India or analysis of data describing India, although we welcome research producing widely applicable insights. Preference will be given to proposals to work whose primary findings will become available within a year.

As a general rule the TCD will not fund pure laboratory experiments. Field evaluations of technology innovations will be considered, but proposals must clearly explain how research outcomes could address well-defined development challenges in India in the short term. If you have questions about whether your project fits within these criteria, please contact Nicole Anderson, TCD Director of Programs, at 



Three types of proposals will be considered: 

Full Research Projects: These grants are for research projects at a mature level of development. Not only must the research question be clear, but applicants must also demonstrate a commitment from implementing partners and, where applicable, well-defined instruments and sample size estimates. Proposals can also be submitted for funding the continuation or completion of research projects that have already started. The total amount awarded to a single project will typically not exceed $300,000. Previously funded TCD Pilot Studies may apply for Full Research Project Funding. 

Pilot Studies: These grants are for studies with a clear research question, but for which the design and implementation requires further testing and pilot data. The expectation is that these projects will ultimately develop into full-scale research projects. The maximum amount awarded for pilot studies is $50,000. 

Travel/Proposal Development Grants: These grants cover exploratory work related to preliminary research ideas, such as conducting background research, developing partnerships, visiting field sites, and collecting preliminary data.These funds will be used to develop a proposal for additional funding for a pilot or full-scale project during a subsequent call for proposals. The maximum amount awarded for travel/proposal development grants is $10,000.  


Off-Cycle Grants 

In exceptional cases, the TCD will consider proposals outside RFP deadlines. Applications must clearly justify the need to receive a decision on an expedited schedule (e.g. a newly announced policy change that will go into effect soon, creating an opportunity for an evaluation). The maximum amount awarded to off-cycle proposals is $50,000. In cases where the application is intended to fund a full research project, preference will be given to projects where final outcomes are expected to be available within a year.  



All proposals for full research projects must include a principal investigator (PI) who holds a tenure track faculty position at the University of Chicago. Graduate students at the University of Chicago may apply for pilot funding or travel grants for their own research, but in such cases their faculty adviser must provide a letter of support and indicate willingness to remain involved in a supervisory role throughout the lifetime of the project. Preference will be given to PhD students who have completed required coursework. Proposals of all kinds may include collaborators from outside the University of Chicago.  


Applying for this Call

Interested applicants should respond by completing the online application form no later than 11:59pm CDT on October 29, 2018.  

Helpful Links:

If you are unable to submit your application via the online form, please email your application to


Administrative Notes

Grant funding will be paid in Indian Rupees through the University of Chicago Trusts in India. Applicants should keep in mind that we expect the majority of expenditures will be incurred in India, and the value for money of proposals that involve significant payments to entities in the United States may be significantly reduced. Due to TCD’s spending procedures, the following expenses are paid in India: all travel (even for the US residents), vendor services, and salary of staff based in India. Value for money will be an important consideration in the grant selection process.  


Terms and Conditions

The terms of awards are as follows:  

  • Annual progress reporting: Researchers awarded funding for full research proposals will be required to provide a brief two-page progress report with expenditures on a quarterly basis to align with TCD’s reporting requirements for the Tata Trusts. A final project report and financial report must be submitted within 60 days of completion of the grant period. For pilot and travel grants, an annual narrative and financial report is expected, along with a final report at the end of the funding period. 

Requests for no-cost extensions must be submitted at least three months before the conclusion of the grant period and approval will be contingent on the progress of the project and the probability of concrete results within the extension period. No-cost extensions are expected to be no longer than 6 months, although longer requests may be considered in extenuating circumstances. In case no-cost extension requests are not approved, unused fund will revert to the TCD.  

  • Data publication: Grantees are required to submit all data and surveys generated with the aid of TCD funding within 18 months of completing data collection. The TCD will retain this data under embargo for a period of up to three years (unless PIs choose to release this information sooner). Following this period grantees must submit a written request for continued data retention. In cases where legal or ethical reasons preclude data release, the TCD will grant exceptions to these requirements.

  • Research Publicity: The TCD expects to publicize all research results following the approval of PIs. The TCD policy and communications staff will work closely with researchers to disseminate research results. 

  • Participate in TCD activities: Grantees may be requested to participate in TCD activities whenever possible. Activities may include evidence workshops or presentations to TCD donors and potential partners. 

  • Credit TCD: Any presentations and publications intended for the public domain, including academic papers, policy briefs, press releases, blogs, and newsletters that emerge from projects should credit the Tata Centre for Development with the following text: “This research is funded by the Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago.” Wherever possible the official logo of the TCD should also be included. 



If you have questions or would like to discuss in more detail, please contact Nicole Anderson, 

Review all application questions before submitting online.

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