Frequently Asked Questions about the APN Grants Competition
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can apply for an APN research grant? All applicants must be African citizens currently residing in Sub-Saharan African countries. Academics must currently hold a faculty or research position at an African university or research organization. Practitioners and policy analysts must be based at a regional or sub-regional African institution, government agency, or non-governmental, media, or civil society organization.
Can we apply as a research group/team? Yes. The grant competition welcomes both proposals from individual applicants and joint proposals from teams of two. Teams should include either an academic and a practitioner/analyst, or two individuals working on comparative studies at the cross-national, cross-regional, and inter-regional levels. Both individuals need not be based at the same institution/organization or country, but should provide ample evidence that they can work together on a joint project. Please note that joint proposals cannot be funded for an amount over $20,000.
Is there an age limit? No. The APN research grants are ideally for early and mid-career academics and experienced practitioners. Preference will be given to academics in the first ten years of their career and practitioners or analysts with at least two years of experience.
Am I eligible if I do not hold a PhD? Yes. If you have a master’s degree from an accredited university and have research or work experience of at least two years, you can apply for an APN research grant.
I currently hold a faculty position at a university outside Africa. Am I eligible? No. The APN grant is only for academics that hold faculty positions at universities in Sub-Saharan Africa and practitioners/analysts with regional, governmental, and non-governmental organizations that are based in Africa.
I am a researcher working outside Africa but currently work with a partner at a university in an African country. Are we eligible to apply as a team? Yes, on the condition that your partner is an African citizen currently residing in an African country and will serve as the lead researcher and submit the joint application. You are not, however, eligible to apply as an individual.
I have full-time employment in Africa, but I am temporarily stationed outside Sub-Saharan Africa. Am I eligible? Yes, you can apply.
Will the program support my enrollment in a degree-awarding program at a university? No. APN research grants support only research and networking activities.
What disciplines are eligible? APN research grants are open to researchers from all disciplines and fields. However, successful proposals will demonstrate a solid grasp of social science literature, tools, and research methodologies.
If I receive an APN research grant, is it compulsory that I attend the two grantee workshops Yes, attendance at both workshops is mandatory. Failure to attend can lead to the termination of your grant.
Do I have to pay my way to attend and participate in the workshops? No. The APN will make all necessary arrangements and cover your travel, accommodation, and living expenses. In special circumstances, grantees will be reimbursed the full costs of independently arranged travel.
How do I apply for an APN research grant? Application guidelines and materials are available on the APN website: http://www.ssrc.org/programs/apn/. We recommend that you fully review the guidelines, eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and application and award timeline before proceeding with an application. If you have questions about the application process, please contact APN program staff by telephone at (212) 377-2700 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Should all application materials be submitted at once? Yes. All application materials, except reference letters and the language evaluation, must be submitted at the same time.
How do I submit my application? The APN strongly prefers that applications be uploaded through our online portal. Alternately, completed applications can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (all application materials must be attached to a single e-mail message) or delivered by post or courier service to: APN Grants Competition, Social Science Research Council (SSRC), One Pierrepont Plaza (15th Floor), Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA. Please ensure that all relevant information is included in your application e-mail or package as any incomplete application will be automatically disqualified.
Do I need to submit my application in English? Yes, applications must be in English.
When is the deadline for the 2012 APN Research Grants Competition? All applications, reference letters, and language evaluations are due by 9 p.m. EDT, June 15, 2012.
Do you have samples of previous proposals that have been awarded grants? No. Applicants can consult the SSRC publication On The Art of Writing Proposals for advice on writing proposals and preparing project statements (free download available at http://www.ssrc.org/publications/view/7A9CB4F4-815F-DE11-BD80-001CC477EC70/).
How many letters of reference do I need, and whom should I ask to write them? You need two letters of reference. One should be written by your department head or an administrative supervisor of similar standing, while the other should be written by a senior academic or practitioner who is very familiar with your research or work.
Should my references send in their letters on their own, or can I include them in the application that I submit to the APN? References must submit their letters directly to the APN. Confirm the e-mail addresses of your two references and then add them to the “References” section of your application in the APN online portal. Your references will be notified by e-mail that you have requested a reference letter and given instructions for submitting their letter online. Materials submitted by your references will be automatically added to your application.
Do I need to submit a language evaluation? Only those applicants conducting research in a national, officially recognized language that is different from their own are required to submit a language evaluation. Such an evaluation should be conducted by a qualified evaluator and must test and clearly state the applicant’s level of language proficiency. If you are conducting research in your own language, you are not required to submit a language evaluation.
Should the language evaluator send in the report of my level of language proficiency, or can I include it in the application that I submit to the APN? Language evaluators must submit their evaluations directly to the APN. Confirm the e-mail address of your language evaluator and then add the evaluator to the “Language Evaluations” section of your application in the APN online portal. The evaluator will be notified by e-mail that you have requested an evaluation and given instructions to complete the evaluation report online. Materials submitted by your language evaluator will be automatically added to your application.
Do reference letters and language evaluations need to be submitted in English? Yes, all application materials must be in English.
Can I send in my application even if my reference letters and language evaluation have not been received? Yes. You are strongly advised to upload your completed application well in advance of the deadline. Do not wait for your reference letters and language evaluation to be received by the APN before you submit your completed application. They will be automatically added to your application upon receipt.
Are there formatting requirements for the research proposal? Yes. The research proposal, including the bibliography and budget outline, should not exceed ten pages and must be collated as a single document. Proposals must use Times New Roman 11-point font, be double-spaced, and have one-inch margins. All pages must be numbered and have the applicant’s name in the upper right-hand corner. Proposals must be uploaded in Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF). Proposals that do not conform to formatting requirements will not be considered.
Can photographs, charts, and graphs be included in the research proposal? Yes, but these must appear within the ten pages allowed for the entire proposal.
Do I need to submit academic transcripts with my application? No, academic transcripts are not required with your application.
AWARDING OF GRANTS
When will the research grant awards be announced? All applicants will be informed about the outcome of the competition by September.
What are the selection procedures? APN research grant applications are reviewed by a selection committee drawn from the APN Advisory Board, and grants are awarded based on established peer-review procedures and standards. The APN Advisory Board is made up of internationally distinguished scholars, policymakers, and practitioners.
How many grants are awarded? Up to fifteen APN research grants may be offered in a given year.
What do I do if my application is selected for an APN research grant? Once notified by the APN of their award, selected grantees are required to submit a detailed budget indicating the funds necessary to complete the proposed research, which is taken into consideration in determining the final grant amount.
The following documents are required to release funding to the grantee: 1. An official letter from the grantee’s home institution or organization indicating the acceptance of the terms of the grant award and support for the grant research, which must be written on institutional stationery, signed and dated (with official stamp/seal), by the relevant head of administration 2. A photocopy of the grantee’s highest university degree 3. A signed statement by the grantee declaring that all grant research will be completed within the time stipulated and that the grant funding will be used only for research activities proposed in the grant application
When can I begin my research, if my proposal is selected for funding? Grantees are expected to commence research no later than November 2012.
What is the grant amount? APN research grant awards vary depending on the research activities supported, but will not exceed $15,000 for individual research projects and $20,000 for joint projects involving research teams.
What do APN Research Grants Cover? APN research grants can cover equipment, books and articles, research/fieldwork-related travel, conference costs and related travel, project design and development support, and editorial and professional/institutional support.
What kinds of outputs or products are expected from APN grantees at the conclusion of their projects? Research outputs/products may include, but are not limited to the following:
• Policy briefs • Articles/essays • Working/Occasional papers, monographs • Field reports • Newsletters • Documentaries • Manuals/Handbooks
Do research grants go directly to grantees or are they channeled through the recipient’s university or organization? APN research grants are paid directly to the grantees in installments, pending submission and approval of required progress reports.
I am currently applying for several research grants/fellowships. Should I be awarded an APN research grant, can I also accept funding from other sources? Yes. However, if you are a current beneficiary of an SSRC fellowship/grant, you are not eligible to apply for another SSRC grant at the same time.
Does the APN offer administrative support for travel visas and research clearance? No. While APN research grants cover visa costs, grantees are responsible for obtaining their own visas and research clearances.