(CLOSED) Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Concept Notes for Humanitarian Research

Sponsor Name: 
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Description of the Award: 

Summary: This solicitation is the first step in a two-part process. After reviewing concept notes, PRM will invite selected organizations to expand their submissions into full proposals with detailed budgets for each year of the project. Selected organizations will have 30 calendar days after they are notified of their selection to complete their full proposals. Organizations may apply as partners or consortia; however, one organization must be designated as the lead applicant at both the concept note and full proposal stage.

This announcement references PRM’s General NGO Guidelines which contain additional information on PRM’s priorities and NGO funding strategy with which selected organizations must comply. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that your concept note submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities. Concept note submissions that do not reflect the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.

Concept notes must respond to one of the following research questions:

1. Humanitarian Financing: Researchers will conduct an analysis of humanitarian financing that would improve availability and inform analysis of donor-specific funding to global and country-specific humanitarian need, provide recommendations to improve existing publicly available data sets on humanitarian assistance, and assist U.S. government efforts to improve humanitarian burden sharing. What are the comparative strengths and weaknesses of existing publicly available data sets on humanitarian funding, and how can they be improved to provide an accurate, complete, and timely set of data? What are the appropriate measures to consider in assessing overall humanitarian giving, e.g., how can non-financial contributions by host countries be accurately reflected? What indicators can donors use to track incremental (i.e., quarterly) global humanitarian funding and U.S. proportion thereof?

2. Relief and Development Coherence: Building off of the existing OECD/DAC paper on Strengthening Humanitarian-Development Coherence, what are best practices for collaboration between humanitarian and development actors in forced displacement situations? How can existing data on displacement situations be used to inform effective humanitarian/development collaboration? What indicators can be generated from this data to monitor progress toward sustainability or graduating humanitarian assistance beneficiaries to development funding? What other tools can be used to develop a joint development/ humanitarian approach to displacement that promotes sustainability, program efficiency and effectiveness, and dignity for displaced individuals and host communities? Priority will be given to proposals that, through country-level case studies, can identify attributes of successful relief and development coherence programs in both new and protracted crises.

3. Civilian-Military Interaction in Conflicts: This research will seek to address the following questions: What are the most significant gaps in communication, interaction, and/or coordination between humanitarian and armed actors during armed conflict and in partnered operations? What practices have been especially effective in bridging gaps between humanitarian and armed actors while adhering to humanitarian principles? What factors impact the types of civil-military interaction and/or coordination that occur in armed conflicts? What can be learned from experiences and practices from recent conflicts – including in the planning, response, and transition phases? What are the international and country-specific guidelines, policies, and doctrines addressing civil-military interaction or coordination in armed conflicts? To what extent have humanitarians and armed actors adhered to these guidelines, policies, and doctrines and what has been the impact of adherence or non-adherence?

4. Post-Conflict Refugee Returns: This research will explore what factors contribute to safe, voluntary, and sustained returns following forced displacement due to conflict. What is the interplay between international organizations, outside actors, and host governments in facilitating returns? How do perceptions of safety by refugees contribute to the likelihood of returns? What does an end state look like? What factors are required for sustainable returns/successful reintegration? What is the interplay between humanitarian funding, development programs, and the rate and sustainability of returns? The research should examine types of legislation and reconciliation process mechanisms that support environments favorable for and incentivize and sustain post-conflict refugee returns. Proposals must include the Western Balkans as one case study example and take into account work done on this topic within the context of the Sarajevo Process and the accompanying Regional Housing Program.

Eligible Applicants

Organizations may submit a maximum of one concept note. Any subsequent submissions received will be disqualified.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Feb 19, 2019
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Internal Nomination Process:

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_BPRM_2019 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

Cover Page:

  • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) names and departmental affiliation
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Proposal Title

Proposal Abstract (no more than three pages):

  • Which research topic the concept note is addressing
  • Problem analysis, including research question and hypothesis
  • Research location, description, and rationalization
  • Proposed methodology
  • Dissemination plan

Formatting Guidelines and Page Limit:

  • Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
  • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
  • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Monday, February 11, 2019 - 4:00pm
Maitland, Carleen (IST) 2/13/18