The Arab Council for the Social Sciences Small Grants Program 2017 - Youth and Spatial Inequalities

Publish Date: Jan 24, 2017

Deadline: Feb 03, 2017

Call for applications

The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) is pleased to announce the first cycle of its Small Grants Program on the themes of “Youth” and “Spatial Inequalities.” The ACSS Small Grants Program (SGP) is a funding opportunity that aims to support scholars and professionals in the Arab region undertaking four kinds of activities: conference presentations, internships, research on small-scale projects, and organizing workshops.

This competition is funded by grants provided to ACSS by the Ford Foundation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Small grants averaging $4,000 will be available to individual Arab researchers and activists residing in the Arab region, whose work focuses on Arab societies. Grants are intended to provide support in a flexible and timely manner.

Program Themes

The two themes of the Small Grants Program are “Youth” and “Spatial Inequalities.” The first topic, Youth, encompasses topics related to youth (defined roughly as those between the ages of 14 and 25) in the Arab world, and issues related to this age group (health, education, family, employment, civic engagement, etc.). The second topic, Spatial Inequalities, focuses on systems, processes, and policies that increase or mitigate unequal access to housing, land, property and services in urban settings.

The dual themes of the program are intended to be broad enough to encourage applications from a wide range of applicants who are working on these issues, while being focused on the nexus between social science theory and praxis in the Arab world. The SGP targets professionals, activists and researchers whose work builds on social science perspectives and methods to achieve change.

The competition aims at canvassing a broad range of proposals from across the region. The proposed activity or research could focus on one or more Arab countries. Applications or plans to do work that adopts or allows the applicant to learn about qualitative or quantitative approaches to the social sciences are encouraged and we are particularly interested in proposals that work at the intersection of both themes of the program.

Program Activities

The aim of the program is to provide small amounts of funding ($4000 average) in a timely manner. The program funds four kinds of activities:

  1. Travel grants (to present at/participate in a conference or attend a training workshop)
  2. Internship support
  3. Research funding (for small-scale pilot studies or dissemination of findings)
  4. Organizing workshops
Travel Grants
Conferences are forums in which professionals and scholars can present completed work or work in progress. Conferences are spaces in which work can be debated and refined, and in which participants can network with their peers and explore developments and gaps in the field. Please note that we will not fund attendance at a conference without some form of active participation. We also welcome travel grant applications to attend training workshops in special methodologies, skills, and approaches. Applications to attend workshops that are designed to explore the intersection of theory and practice are particularly encouraged.
Internship Support
Internships provide opportunities to gain meaningful hands-on experience or to immerse oneself in an intensive research environment. ACSS will welcome applications for supplemental funding for those who have already secured an internship at an NGO/research organization/university within the region. We welcome applications for internships outside the applicant’s country of residence. Funding should mainly be used to cover costs of travel and accommodation. Other expenses may also be eligible. 
Research Funding
The Small Grants Program will provide seed funding to conduct pilot studies (no longer than 6 months) that will lead to larger projects or collaboration. Grant applications for research seed funding can be used to pilot research or to disseminate research findings. (Please note: For funding of larger, longer-term projects, please consider applying to our Research Grants Program.)
Organizing Workshops
Workshops bring together participants to engage on a particular theme, to explore new topics, exchange ideas, influence policy, or to plan future activities. The selection committee is particularly interested in proposals that introduce or explore innovative methods and approaches in research and activism.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Nationality/Residence
Applicants must be citizens of an Arab country (defined as a member of the League of Arab States) or nationals of an Arab country (defined as long-term residents, even if they do not hold citizenship as in the case of refugees or stateless residents) and must reside in the Arab region. This program does not fund scholars/activists who reside and/or work/study outside the region. Priority will be given to scholars and activists who are marginalized, at risk, or dispossessed. Applications are particularly encouraged from those under the age of 40. 
  • Educational Degree
Applicants must hold at least a Master’s degree in a core social science or allied field. The core social science fields include anthropology, demography, economics, education, history, political science, psychology and sociology. Allied disciplines include art, architecture and urban planning, geography, law, literature, linguistics, philosophy and public health and interdisciplinary fields include gender studies, cultural studies, media studies, development studies and urban studies.
ACSS grantees (principal and co-investigators) who have benefited previously from another ACSS grant are only eligible if their grants were closed one year prior to submitting their application for the Small Grants Program.

Application Process and Materials 

Applicants are required to submit both an online application and supporting documents depending on the type of funding requested. Application materials can be submitted in Arabic, French or English. Only completed applications will be examined by the Selection Committee. While the selection committee endeavors to make timely decisions on applications to ensure that successful applications receive their funding expeditiously, we expect applications submitted to be complete and thorough.
A complete application will include:
  • Online application form
  • Supplemental material specific to your particular funding request (see below)
  • CV/Resume of applicant
  • Budget request form
  • Copy of passport or identification card 
Material needed to complete an application for a travel grant
  1. Confirmation of presentation/participation at a reputable conference/training workshop (letter or email from the organizers indicating acceptance and whether any expenses will be covered, and a website link to the conference/workshop)
  2. Dates of conference/workshop
  3. Abstract of Paper (if applicable, maximum 250 words)
  4. Full paper to be presented (if applicable/available)
  5. Rationale for attending this conference/workshop and how this will advance the applicant’s research agenda/teaching pedagogy/activism/etc. (maximum 250 words)
Material needed to complete an application for an internship
  1. Confirmation of having secured an internship
  2. Description of the organization (including a link to its website)
  3. Narrative of the internship and how it relates to the themes of the Program (150 words)
  4. Letter from internship supervisor indicating learning outcomes for the intern and project(s) to be completed/researched
  5. Statement from the applicant on how the internship fits into the applicant’s career/research goals (maximum 500 words)
Material needed to complete an application for research funding
  1. Background and rationale for/significance of project (250 words)
  1. Literature Review and Theoretical Framework (maximum 2 pages)
  2. Methodology (maximum 1 page)
  3. Activities to be undertaken (e.g. interviews, fieldwork, proposals, etc.)
  4. Timeline for pilot study (short-term and limited to a maximum of 6 months)
  5. Proposed outputs of pilot study (publication, monograph, policy work, further collaboration, etc.)
Material needed to complete an application to organize a workshop
  1. Background and rationale for workshop (250 words)
  2. Proposed format of workshop (including a draft agenda)
  3. Intended presenters/audience and location of workshop
  4. Innovative approaches to be introduced in this workshop
  5. Proposed outputs of workshop (publication, activism, policy work, further collaboration, etc.)

Application Deadlines

The Committee will meet four times per year to review applications.
Application Deadline
Applicant Notified by
Funds Disbursed by
Friday, February 3, 2017
End of February 2017
Mid-March 2017
Friday, May 5, 2017
End of May 2017
Mid-June 2017
Friday, August 4, 2017
End of August 2017
Mid-September 2017
Friday, November 3, 2017
End of November 2017
Mid-December 2017
Applications received after the deadline will be considered for the next round. These deadlines are provided to allow you to plan accordingly. For example, if you have secured an internship that begins on June 1, 2017, please ensure that your application is submitted by the February deadline. Similarly, if you are presenting a paper at a conference in August, please submit your application by the May deadline. 

Selection Process

A selection committee composed of distinguished Arab scholars and activists in the region will look carefully at each proposal and evaluate it on its own merits. In addition to determining the relevance of the proposal to the theme(s) of the Program, the selection committee will use the following criteria to evaluate proposals:
  • Travel Grants: Quality of paper/presentation, Academic/professional value of conference
  • Internships: Design of internship, Quality of learning outcomes, Relationship between internship and professional goals of applicant
  • Research Funding: Innovative approaches to research, contribution to knowledge, proposed outputs, potential of the research to lead to larger research projects and new collaborations
  • Workshops: Rationale for holding the event including its relationship to ongoing research/activism projects, well thought out criteria for participants invited and audiences targeted, presentation methods and organization of discussions, clear aims and outcomes
By submitting the electronic application, applicants affirm that they agree, without any objections, to the evaluation and selection results as decided and announced by the selection committee and the Arab Council for the Social Sciences.

Overview of Grant Conditions 

Awarded individuals are expected to abide by the following project requirements:
  • Submit 1 or 2 narrative reports (number of reports will depend on project duration).
  • Submit final narrative and financial report within 30 days of the end of the grant term (Financial reports should include the original receipts for all project expenses).
  • Produce project related content for the ACSS website (such as project descriptions and profiles of researchers).
The ACSS secretariat encourages prospective applicants to get in touch with any questions or queries concerning proposal preparation, the selection process or conditions of the grant.
For more information click "Further official information" below.

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