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 planning grant, as envisioned by the program?
Planning grants are intended to provide approximately 12 months of funding, from the time of notification of successful applications in early July 2020 through August 2021. In addition to activities proposed in their applications, successful applicants will attend an SSRC-sponsored proposal development workshop in either October or November 2020. Grantees will be eligible to apply to a separate call for full project funding through the Collaboratory in early May 2021, regardless of whether they are still completing activities related to the planning grant at that time.



Which disciplines are eligible?
While our focus is the social sciences, 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 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.

Can individuals apply for planning grants?
Yes. Individual applications should emphasize envisioned future collaboration for their proposed projects and, where possible, indicate possible collaborators.

What is meant by “fully embedded in and engaged with the Indian Ocean region”?
To be fully embedded in and engaged with the Indian Ocean region entails having a professional base in an Indian Ocean country, as well as a demonstrated record of sustained lived and research experience, and contribution to, a country or countries within the region.

What may planning grant funds be used for?
Planning grants are intended to fund activities directly related to the planning of collaborative research initiatives, such as (but not limited to) workshops, networking, and preliminary field research. Eligible expenses for these activities may include travel, accommodation, and convening costs. Significant allowances for research-related costs are not appropriate for this grant. However, modest funds for some background or pilot research, which may include research assistance or equipment, may be eligible if those activities clearly support the planning process. Planning grants may not be used as a substitute or supplement for researchers’ institutional salaries. If you anticipate needing administrative support through the PI’s institution, your budget should account for this as a line item. The amount allocated for expected administrative support should not exceed 10 percent. Allowance for administrative support costs is in lieu of indirect costs to the PI’s institution, and should be included in the total budget, not in addition to it.

How many members may my research team consist of?
The application allows for up to two co-PIs and five 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.

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 (5 pages). Click here to view research proposal requirements.
  • Current CV of each team member (2-3 pages each). CVs should include the following details: education and employment history, relevant research experience, honors and awards, professional affiliations, a list of no more than five relevant publications.
  • Proposed budget (1 page).

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 from a range of social science and allied disciplines, as well as the various subregions of the Indian Ocean.