Policy Fellowship Initiative

Publish Date: Oct 03, 2012

Deadline: Oct 26, 2012

Call for Research Proposals: Policy Fellowship Initiative
The Policy Fellowship Initiative of the OSF-Armenia invites applications from junior and senior policy researchers eager to carry out rigorous and innovative study identifying the most critical open society challenges and developing practical solutions.  The aim of the fellowship is:
        Enhance the capacity of junior researchers to influence the public policy-making process through mentorship including writing and methodology workshops
        Foster participation of civil society in the process of public policy development stimulating debates at all levels of society around the most important policy areas
The fellowship program is open for civil society representatives, university faculty, policy researchers, analysts, and advisers.  An advanced university degree in Political or Social Science, Law, Economics, International Relations or related field is required. Experience in policy formulation and analysis, advocacy, and implementation is desirable. Strong and proven research writing skills is highly desirable. Knowledge of English and Armenian, and of computer applications is required. Availability of the fellows to devote significant time to the fellowship is a must.  Fellowship applications will be accepted both from individuals and groups.
Application Procedures
Applicants are expected to submit research proposals outlining the following: problem definition and research justification, methodology of research and applicability of results, as well as an elaborate advocacy strategy.  The proposal should include itemized budget which can cover such expenses as field work, honorarium, travel costs, and other necessary expenses.  The budget for each fellowship should not exceed $4000.  The time frame for research should be from 3 to 6 months. To be considered, interested applicants must also submit the resume, copies of previous research work carried out by the applicant(s), and a full list of publications. The research proposals should be submitted in English; the research itself can be conducted either in English or Armenian.
Fellowship expectations and work product
It is expected that the fellows will produce policy papers, and briefs within the constrains of the 10,000 word limit with concrete recommendations in their respective areas.  In addition to the research report specifying clear policy recommendations and options, the fellows may produce a variety of work products, including publications such as books, reports, innovative public-education projects. Fellows may also engage in activities such as hosting panel discussions, traveling to conferences, participating in policy debates, and promoting their ideas in public venues. Selected applicants will go through a mandatory training on policy research and writing.
Policy Research Areas
Applicants are invited to submit proposals for research on any policy-relevant topics or any combination of open society pressing themes below.
1.  Human rights and national security: a strategic linkage or flawed paradigms
For most of the past two decades, the Armenian government has largely viewed the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the protection of national security as in inherent tension. The fellows are encouraged to question the deep-seated assumption that an effective protection of national security is bound to overlook international human rights standards. The policy research should focus on assessing the idea of bridging Armenia ’s human rights and security strategies, with a particular reference to the general context of human rights in the army, and the ways the security policy could be reviewed based on human rights principles.
2.   Education Reform    
Armenia is in the midst of significant reforms both in mainstream school system and higher education.  While the school system is shifting towards the primary, middle, and high schools structure, the higher education reform is being carried out according to the Bologna requirements.  Against this background, the fellows are expected to investigate various aspects of the reform process including the changing nature of the education system, relevance of the education initiatives for the society, public awareness of the on-going reforms, and corruption perceptions. Applicants are also encouraged to focus on specific reform-oriented initiatives in order to assess the shortcomings, challenges and impact of the reform process on the quality of education, curricula, capacity building of the teachers and school administration, etc. 
3.  Online democracy in the context of technological convergence
In the recent years, Armenia ’s information operating systems have undergone major improvements triggered by the rise of digital communication and access to a new network of communication technology devices. Given the fact that trust in traditional information sources is low and seems to be declining, the fellows are invited to evaluate the benefits of using free social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, as well as the prospects of digital convergence and creation of new forms of media and content. The fellows should also explore the ways in which the Armenian public and, specifically, civil society activists use information and communication technologies to promote their goals, the degree of technological disparity between various societal groups and the nature of digital divide today, the themes governing universal access to information technology, and the long-term social, cultural, and political impact of convergence of these social networks.
4.   Armenian women’s struggle for identity: gender equality in modern society
Are there any legitimate grounds for development and existence of a women’s rights movement in this country? Are Armenian women conscience of the need to struggle against gender subordination, oppression, and hierarchy?  Can the impact of Western feminism on Armenian women’s perceptions, attitudes, and aspirations be considered positive? Does emancipation necessarily entail denigrating religious or cultural values? As part of the process of empowerment, we need to understand how the image of the Armenian woman has transformed over the last two decades. The fellows are encouraged to examine the issues surrounding this debate seeking to provide a sophisticated account of the nature of relationships between men and women today, changing perceptions of family relationships and gender roles in the context of globalization, and the negative effects of internalized sexism.
Application submission
All interested applicants should submit fellowship proposals and supporting materials to OSF-Armenia by 17.00, October 26th, 2012, address: 7/1 Tumanyan str., 2nd cul-de-sac and via register@osi.am. For questions and additional information you can contact tel. 53-38-62; 53-67-58 or emails: annak@osi.am.
Seminar will be held to answer questions from potential applicants at 16.00, October 11th, in Combined Room, CONGRESS Hotel

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