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Monday, October 2, 2023

Grant Opportunities: Call for Research Projects to address Commons to Democratic Issues and Citizen Participation

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Deadline: 23-Jul-23

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is accepting expressions of interest for the commons and citizen participation from a social and environmental justice perspective.

This call is dedicated to research projects that address the contribution of the commons to democratic issues and citizen participation. Research questions will be addressed through the lens of social and environmental justice.

This call is dedicated to teams of researchers and social actors engaged both in the production of new research and in a public policy dialogue with public actors, at an appropriate level (central, deconcentrated, decentralized).


This new commitment will have three main objectives:

  • Strengthening citizen participation, institutions and frameworks for dialogue;
  • Supporting democratic innovation and investing in knowledge;
  • Mobilizing AFD’s partners in support of this commitment.
Funding Information
  • The budgets requested by each research project proposal must not be less than EUR 30 000 and not exceed EUR 200 000. Co-financing is encouraged.
  • Duration of the project: The time frame for the payment of funding is set at a maximum of three years.

General research program and related projects

  • The cross-cutting question of the new research program supported by AFD is the following: to what extent do the commons and the commons-based approach extend democratic practices and modalities of citizen participation in AFD’s countries of intervention? The resulting research questions will be addressed through the lens of social and environmental justice.
  • The ambition of this program is to allow research to contribute to public policy dialogue (understood as a set of political, strategic, or technical exchanges on a reform or on the intensification of existing public action, between social and public actors). It therefore has a strong operational focus.
  • The research projects participating in this program must:
    • Address the identified research questions from an academic perspective in order to understand their complexity.
    • Provide for public policy dialogue activities at an appropriate level (central, deconcentrated, decentralized). These activities could include, for example, the simplification of research questions, methodologies and results into formats that are accessible to stakeholders through the production of dedicated documents, the structuring of spaces for debate through the facilitation of seminars and multi-actor workshops, the support of actors through training, etc.
  • The research projects will therefore focus in a complementary manner on:
    • The operational and organizational practices of the commons in light of questions related to democratic practices and citizen participation.
    • The transformative power and inspirational value of the commons through their interactions with public actors and their power to act within public action, with regard to the way in which public actors associate the commons with the creation and implementation of public policies.
Sectors Concerned and Geographical Scope
Eligibility Criteria
  • The team
    • AFD encourages applicant teams to call on partners from other organizations to complete their team and meet the requirements of this call. Public actors in particular will be brought on board in a differentiated manner according to the maturity of the dialogue (from awareness of the scientific issue being addressed to co-construction and joint ownership of this issue). The application must specify the team’s main institution and affiliations.
    • The lead institution will submit the application on behalf of the whole team. It can be an academic institution (university, research center, laboratory, think tank, etc.) or a social actor that would facilitate public policy dialogue (association, cooperative, private actor, etc.).
    • The lead institution can be from any country in the world. However, proposals from research institutions in the countries concerned by the projects submitted will be given preference.
    • A single lead institution may submit several projects, provided that the principal investigators have the expertise to conduct the proposed thematic analysis and that the projects include dialogue facilitation activities consistent with the chosen research focus.
  • Research activities
    • The team must include at least one researcher, and if possible one research institution, from the country concerned by the research project.
    • The research work must be based on empirical analyses carried out in the country concerned by the project. Proposals must demonstrate the capacity of the actors who will produce new content.

For more information, visit Agence Française de Développement.

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