Research Grants

Please note: We remain open for research proposals. That said, our current process for funding research projects has been adapted to reflect the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Face-to-Face fieldwork and travel: We will continue to consider all funding proposals – including those requiring face-to-face data gathering and travel. However, we will ask for all projects involving any travel or face-to-face fieldwork to provide a detailed plan to mitigate health risks due to Covid-19, and show that the research activity is clearly consistent with public health guidelines of the country where the work is being done. Our ability to fund certain projects may depend on the evolution of the crisis in the months ahead. Where necessary we encourage partners to consider alternative research strategies that do not require face-to face data gathering. We will also consider making project preparation grants.

Risk assessment: Before full review all research projects will be asked to provide a clear statement of potential risks – to health, of disruption, or to the validity of findings – resulting from Covid-19, the implications of those risks for the project, and potential responses to those risks. So, for example, a project requiring face-to-face data gathering, would need to explain any risks of disruption, the implications of any such disruption for the feasibility of the research, and possible adjustments that could be implemented. We are committed to working with partners – and particularly our partners in Africa and South Asia – collaboratively in seeking to manage these uncertainties.

For more information on our response to Covid-19, please see here.

Conducting research with the ICTD

The ICTD is a research network dedicated to improving tax policies and practices in lower-income countries. We aim to do this through (a) undertaking policy relevant research to a high professional standard, (b) disseminating the results of that research effectively, and c) building the research capacity of our partners. The ICTD strongly encourages collaboration and co-production of research between Northern and Southern partners, and between researchers, tax officials, and tax policymakers. Ideally such collaboration would occur throughout the key steps of a typical project’s cycle, including the design, implementation, data analysis and writing up. Please see our principles of engagement for research collaborations here

From time to time, the ICTD may issue calls for research proposals in specific areas and provide specific guidance on how to respond to those calls (See our calls for proposals here). However, even if there is no specific call, we are always open to receiving ideas through brief research proposals, especially from African researchers, tax officials, and tax policymakers. 

Please note: The ICTD is unable to provide scholarships for Masters or Doctoral students. We may be able to provide some support for students’ field research provided we are convinced (a) that they are likely to do valuable, original research and (b) that they are committed to writing up the results of this research explicitly for the ICTD – and separately from their dissertations/theses.

Submitting a research proposal

Your initial proposal should be a brief description of your project, which will allow members of the ICTD team to give you an initial indication of whether the project might be suitable for funding – and to highlight any immediate questions that they might have. Initial proposals should generally be between two and five pages, and should provide enough information to allow reviewers to understand the goals of the research, its potential contribution to knowledge, and whether the methodology is appropriate and feasible. 

Questions the proposal should address are:

  • What question (or questions) am I going to try to answer?
  • How does this project relate to other similar studies?
  • What sets this project apart from other research?
  • What data do I need to answer those questions?
  • How will I get that data?
  • How will I use that data to answer the question?

In order to submit a proposal, you must complete each of the text boxes in the form, responding to the relevant guiding questions (click the button below to start). This structure is designed to ensure that you provide reviewers with all relevant information. Please note we require enough relevant information to be able to assess your proposal, and therefore have included minimum word limits for the main sections to be completed.

Once you have submitted the form, the ICTD will respond with detailed comments and provide you with an answer on whether your initial proposal has been approved to advance to the detailed proposal stage, needs revision, or is not suitable for funding. If your initial proposal is successful, you will be contacted via email and asked to complete a detailed proposal form, which will be sent to you directly. 

Kigali meeting small group

Research Ethics

The ICTD’s guiding principles on research ethics are: 

1. Do no harm: respect of human life and dignity.
2. Accountability and transparency.
3. Collaboration, giving voice, and equal respectful partnership (see Our Approach).

The ICTD is guided by the IDS’ Research Ethics Policy and DFID’s Ethical Guideline for Research. The researcher is responsible for exercising appropriate professional judgment when undertaking an ethical review of their research. It is also the responsibility of the researcher to follow the ICTD Ethics Guideline and any relevant academic or professional guidelines in the conduct of the study. Any significant change in the question, design or conduct over the course of the research will necessitate an amendment to the ethics review and will be subject to the same process of approval as for the original statement. For further guidance on considering issues of research ethics, please contact ICTD (

If you are aware of an ethical concern that you wish to report, please enter the details into the whistleblowing comment box below. This will be emailed directly to the ICTD Ethics Committeekeeping the source anonymous.