Which countries or subregions fall within the Indian Ocean region, according to this program?
Funding is available for studies focused on the countries of the Indian Ocean littoral, the island nations and territories of the Indian Ocean basin, and additional countries that demonstrate significant relation to the Indian Ocean. We encourage projects that explore understudied subregions of the Indian Ocean and comparisons or connections to other oceanic regions.

What do you mean by “ethical collaboration”?
We view ethical collaboration as a multifaceted approach to research that adheres to principles such as equitable exchange and coproduction, respect, and equal opportunity, from research design through implementation, analysis, and dissemination. Further elaboration of these principles, and the ways in which they are put into practice in the context of actual research projects, is a principal focus of the Collaboratory.

What is the length of time for a collaborative research grant, as envisioned by the program?
Collaborative research grants are intended to provide approximately 12 months of funding, from August 2021 through August 2022. In addition to activities proposed in their applications, successful applicants will be expected to participate in at least one SSRC-sponsored workshop organized by the program, focusing on themes such as the modes of collaborative knowledge production, the advancement of ethical practices related to research collaboration and transregional studies, and others that emerge from the grant cohorts themselves. More details about the workshops will be provided once grants are awarded.

What is the expected research output for collaborative research grant recipients?
Research undertaken during the grant period is intended to contribute to the ongoing scholarly development of the social sciences and the humanities. Grantees will be encouraged to produce work resulting from this research experience in forms most relevant to their research project. This includes but is not limited to written pieces in relevant academic publications and in public-facing outlets, the creation of digital/creative media, and policy recommendations. Research outputs need not be completed by the end of the grant period. However, your application should provide a clear indication of your intended outputs and their projected timelines.


Which disciplines are eligible?
The program strongly encourages interdisciplinary research into social phenomena. We welcome the participation of a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds as relevant to the specific needs and nature of your research project. This may include participants grounded in the humanities and/or the physical and natural sciences. However, the proposed topic of the project should foreground social analysis.

Is there a degree requirement?
The lead principal investigator (PI) must hold an earned doctoral degree. Co-PIs and other team members may hold or be working toward a postgraduate degree, or have attained a relevant professional qualification.

Am I eligible to apply if I have previously received funding from the SSRC?
Yes, previous recipients of SSRC funding are eligible to apply. Applications should propose new work that is clearly beyond the scope of previously funded research.

Can individuals apply for collaborative research grants?
No. These grants are open to research teams only.

How many members may my research team consist of?
Your team should consist of three to six core members. The application allows for up to two co-PIs and three additional team members. In general, the size of your research team should correspond with your proposed project and the tasks required to accomplish your project goals.

What is meant by “based at an institution located in an Indian Ocean country”?
This entails holding a primary affiliation at an academic institution or other relevant organization—for instance, a research or policy-based NGO—physically located in the Indian Ocean region, as defined above. Please note that one aspect of this requirement is a priority for the funds to be used predominantly in this region, where fewer funding resources have historically been available.

What may collaborative research grant funds be used for?
Collaborative research grants are intended to fund activities directly related to collaborative research initiatives, such as (but not limited to) field research or other data collection, networking, and research dissemination. Eligible expenses for these activities may include research equipment, research assistance, costs associated with virtual communications (including meetings and workshops), limited travel and accommodation, and publication-related expenses. These grants may not be used as a substitute or supplement for researchers’ institutional salaries. If you anticipate needing support through the PI’s institution, in the form of either direct administrative support or indirect costs/overhead, your budget should account for this as a line item. The amount allocated for institutional support should not exceed 10 percent, and should be included in the total budget, not in addition to it.

What constitutes “direct administrative support”?
In general, “direct administrative support” refers to the work of administrative staff who will actively help to administer the grant or organize activities related to the proposed project.

Application Process

Do I need to complete the application in one sitting?
No. You may return to the application as many times as needed until the application deadline. Please remember to save your work as you complete each section of the application and note that once applications are submitted, they cannot be altered.

Do I need to submit my application in English?
Yes. The online application form and all required documents should be completed in English.

May I submit my application by fax or email?
No. Applications should be submitted via the online application portal only.

How can I find out whether the program has received my application?
You will receive an automated email from the SSRC confirming submission of your application.

Application Components

What materials are required for planning grant applications?
In addition to completing the online application form, applicants should provide:

  • Research proposal (no more than 12 pages). Click here to view research proposal requirements.
  • Current CV summary of the lead PI and up to two co-PIs (two to three pages each). CVs should include the following details: education and employment history, relevant research experience, honors and awards, professional affiliations, language skills, and a list of no more than five relevant publications.
  • Proposed budget (two pages).

What are the requirements for the proposed budget?
Your budget should include an itemized budget and budget narrative, and should not exceed two pages. The aim of this section of your application is to demonstrate a well-considered use of funds in your team’s designing of this proposed research project. Your budget narrative should briefly explain how you arrived at all estimated and final figures. For example, if your team has allocated funds for research assistance (RA), you should provide details about the hourly RA rate used, the proposed RA’s responsibilities, and how many hours they will devote to the project. If you request funds for equipment, you should provide details about the kind of equipment needed and how it will be used to further the aims of the project. In addition, if you indicated in the application form that your team has received or applied for additional funding for this project through another source, your budget should account for how the various grants will be used together. Please note that final budgets are subject to approval by program staff.

Awarding of Grants

What is the selection procedure?
An interdisciplinary committee will select successful applications through a peer review process. This selection committee will consist of experts in a range of social science and allied disciplines, as well as the various subregions of the Indian Ocean.