Global Poverty Research Lab

Call for Proposals: Philippines Cluster

About this opportunity 

Northwestern faculty and graduate students are invited to contribute to ongoing development research in Ghana and the Philippines. Funding and other opportunities are available.


The Global Poverty Research Lab at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies uses empirical evidence to address the challenges of overcoming poverty and improving well-being in the developing world. It collects data to provide a scientific framework for potential studies of the changes that are taking place during the process of development.

Geographic research clusters in Ghana and the Philippines collect long-term panel data. They seek to remedy a major constraint in understanding development in low-income countries: the absence of detailed, multi-level, long-term scientific data that follows individuals over time and describes both the natural and built environment in which they reside.

The next wave of the Ghana panel survey and the initial wave of the Philippines survey are now being planned. This is an opportunity for researchers to:

  1. Introduce a limited set of additional questions to the survey
  2. Work with The Lab to plan and implement low-cost, quick interventions before the surveys are conducted
  3. Propose research on survey and measurement methods
  4. Plan experiments that take advantage of rich baseline data (Ghana) and assured follow-up surveys in four years (Ghana and the Philippines)

In Ghana, two rounds of surveys have been conducted. The third wave of the survey has a proposed start date of May 2018. The data and documentation from wave 1 are available on the World Bank’s website. Wave 2 data are available on request; a summary report of the data is available now.

In the Philippines, wave 1 will be conducted in the fall of 2018. The regions covered in the Philippines are still to be determined, but the sampling strategy and survey questions will be similar to the Ghana panel.

Clusters are supported by University of Ghana – Legon and Innovations for Poverty Action in Ghana, and Innovations for Poverty Action in the Philippines.

Scope of Research

The Lab will fund various types of proposals, outlined below. Up to $10,000 seed money may be provided, but we expect such proposals to require external funding.

  1. Small travel grants (up to $5,000): Provides a grant to doctoral students and researchers traveling to Ghana and the Philippines to work with existing partners on setting up, scaling, or overseeing a project that would rely on the panel surveys for data on the participants.
  1. Low-cost quick interventions: Funds interventions like text message reminders, community-based interventions, radio broadcasts, etc. In Ghana, these interventions can be conducted either before the third wave of data collection or immediately after. 
  1. Survey methods and measurement research: Provides grants for conducting survey experiments to test different ways of asking questions and collecting survey data.
  1. Longer-term experiments designed for follow up four years from now: Can be rolled out after the third wave in Ghana and the first wave in the Philippines, so that the upcoming wave would serve as the baseline.
  1. Researchers can also propose to add questions to the panel surveys at no additional cost


Submission deadlines:

  • January 15, 2018 for Ghana
  • April 15, 2018 for the Philippines

Early adjudication is possible if needed. Submissions after the deadline for each site may or may not be considered.

Proposal requirements:

This Call for Proposals is open to all Northwestern University graduate students and faculty.

Prepare a concept note and budget (three-page maximum). Submit them to Andre Nickow at


Questions can be sent to Andre Nickow at