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Request for Letters of Interest

The African Peacebuilding Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) invites letters of interest from senior African academics and researchers based at universities in Africa to assemble and lead collaborative research projects intended to inform policy and practice on conflict and peacebuilding on the continent.

About the APN Collaborative Working Group Research Grant

The collaborative working group grant is an initiative and key complement to the field-based and networking components of the APN’s programming. This grant responds to the need for deep collaboration and engagement of researchers and practitioners on peacebuilding challenges in Africa. It also seeks to connect research to policy, promote mentoring of junior scholars by senior colleagues, and to increase the likelihood of impacting policy through the knowledge-production process.

Collaborative working groups are expected to produce research-based knowledge that is relevant to, and has a significant impact on, peacebuilding policy and practice on the continent. For its part, the APN will work toward inserting the evidence-based knowledge that this group produces into regional and global debates and policies on peacebuilding.

The APN will support the working group in undertaking original policy-relevant research that focuses on the design, implementation, and impact of peacebuilding mechanisms and processes in conflict-affected African countries and subregions. Support is available for research and analysis of the following subject areas:

  • Local peacebuilding cultures, mechanisms, and practices
  • Inequality, poverty, and conflict
  • UN-AU-African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) cooperation on peace and security issues
  • African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
  • Women, peace, and security
  • Transnationalization, youth radicalization, and violence


Applicants must be scholars or practitioners based in Africa, with the lead investigator based at or affiliated with an African university. The competition will be open to joint researcher-practitioner teams (of five to six members) made up of Africans based at or affiliated with universities or regional organizations, government agencies, or nongovernmental, media, or civil society organizations on the continent. While the lead investigator must have a PhD, junior lecturers and practitioners are expected to hold a master’s degree with at least two years of work experience.

It is expected that teams reflect diversity as much as possible, and include individuals from a range of professional, national, regional, disciplinary, gender, and generational backgrounds and experiences. The project should also leverage strong mentoring relationships between senior and junior members of the team, while encouraging both scholarly and practitioner participation. 

Team members, either individually or jointly, are also strongly encouraged to contribute to APN’s online and social media platforms (Kujenga Amani, Facebook, and Twitter), as well as APN’s Working Papers series and Policy Briefing Notes.

Terms of the Grant

Up to two APN collaborative group projects will each be supported by a maximum grant of $60,000 for a period of eighteen months. Members of the working group are expected to collaborate and carry out the proposed research project together, and they are therefore expected to meet several times over the project period. Funding should be used to support new field research, the review of relevant literature, and the production of a range of outputs, from policy briefs and reports to best-practice models, as well as academic publications. These outputs should be published in print and electronic formats.

Application Process

A two-page letter of interest should be submitted on behalf of the group by a university-based lead investigator, who must also be a senior academic or senior practitioner with a strong research background in African peace and security studies. In its letter of interest, the team must propose a host institution for the grant, which may or may not be the university where the lead investigator is based or affiliated.

The letter should provide the following:

  • Proposed research questions/hypotheses
  • Project objectives and methodology
  • Activities and expected outputs
  • Project’s potential to contribute to existing knowledge and practice
  • Name of proposed host institution
  • Names, affiliations, professional backgrounds, and highest degree levels of all team members 

The letter of interest must be written in clear, coherent, and non-technical prose not exceeding two pages and submitted in Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF). The letter should be double-spaced (footnotes and endnotes may be single-spaced, but must be included within the page limit), and written in Times New Roman 12-point font, with one-inch margins on all sides.

Applicants may also wish to include a bibliography (not exceeding one page), which can be single-spaced and written in bibliographic format. However, both the letter and bibliography must be collated as one continuous document. We also strongly encourage the inclusion of a brief (but feasible) budget estimate and outline.

In addition to the two-page letter, applicants are also required to submit a one-page summary of the CV/résumé of the lead investigator.

All materials must be submitted in one email to no later than 5:00pm (EST) on January 22, 2016, with the words "Submission for APN 2016 Collaborative Working Group" written in the subject line.


1) Two-page letter of interest & brief bibliography
2) One-page summary of the lead investigator’s CV/résumé

Shortlisted project teams will be notified within four weeks and invited to upload full project proposals by March 1, 2016, for review by an international panel of experts.


If you have any questions, please contact APN staff at, or by telephone at (+1) 212-377-2700, ext. 3703.

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