2014 Open Data for Development Research Grants

Call for Proposals

[deadline is over, thanks to all who submitted proposals, read about the selected ones]

A partnership between

Web Foundation, Government of Canada, Open Government Partnership (OGP), International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

The Open Government Partnership Open Data Working Group is interested in receiving research proposals for work exploring the technical and practical implications of Open Data. These grants are administered by the Web Foundation and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and will initially support research projects to take place between November 2014 and March 2015.  Awardees will be invited to present their work at an International Open Data Conference in May 2015 in Canada. A second round of grants will be disbursed starting in May 2015, and a new call for proposals will be circulated at that time.



The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In 2011, 8 founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa the United Kingdom and the United States) launched the OGP and announced their own country action plans, and since 2011, 56 additional governments have pledged their support and joined the Partnership.

The OGP has identified five priority thematic areas around which working groups have been formed. These working groups serve as focal points for peer exchange and learning about the cutting edge of Open Government. Each working group has elaborated a Work Plan.

The objectives for the OGP Open Data Working Group are to support OGP governments in implementing their open data commitments and developing more ambitious action plans; facilitate dialogue and peer-learning between different stakeholders; provide a forum for peer-to-peer sharing and learning on open data policies and initiatives among members; offer participants access to experiences, best practices, tools, and technical expertise on open data issues; help identify technical assistance and partnership opportunities on open data; and increase awareness of open government data issues across the OGP.

The formal launch of the group took place in October 2013 at the OGP Summit in London, UK. Since mid-2014 the group has started to operationalize and accelerate its activities.


Areas of Research

Research should explore the technical, policy and practical implications of Open Data, and explore the opportunities created for governments and societies through the use of open data.  As such, the OGP Open Data Working Group will conduct its activities within four work streams:

  • Principles;
  • Impact Measurement;
  • Standards; and
  • Capacity Building.

Applicants should become familiar with the Open Data Working Group work streams in order to align proposals with ongoing discussions and research interests of the members of the working group. The proposals should make a case for how the deliverable will serve to deepen or inform work outlined in the 2014-2015 OGP Open Data Work Plan. In particular, proposals may address potential mechanisms for ensuring that deliverables in each of the four work streams can be inclusive to stakeholders and globally-focused.

Applicants are encouraged to be specific and focused in their proposed research, drawing on existing or available datasets, or applying their research question to a country- or region-specific case study that can be applied in other countries or potentially scaled globally. Proposals should be facilitating peer learning and/or knowledge exchange with developing countries. Proposals must have a research oriented approach.


Who Should Apply?

These grants are intended to support short-term, intensive research with a potential global impact. Any organization, individual, or group of individuals with a passion for Open Data and availability in the coming 6 months is encouraged to apply. This could include cooperation with graduate students, think tanks, non-profit research organizations, or any combination of these.   


Accountabilities and Deliverables

Grantees will be asked to produce their research results in a format that lends itself to publication, distribution, and reuse. This presentation of results might take the form of a report, web site, or another form agreed to with the grantor. In addition, the grantee will be invited to present their work at the OGP Open Data Working Group Event to be held in Ottawa, Canada in May 2015.  During the research period, grantees will be invited to join the Open Data Research Network community of practice where grantees can share insights and articles, ask questions, and crowdsource data and other resources.


Grant Details

Applicants should outline a detailed budget of up to 20,000 USD for the use of funds during the period of November 30, 2014 – March 15, 2015 based on the proposal budget template. Funds can be used for research stipends, technology pilots, travel allowing researchers to collaborate with government counterparts and for global researchers to work together for the purposes of the research, costs of communication for collaboration (data/phone credit), and other reasonable expenses within the scope of the proposed research.


Criteria for Selection

  • Relevance to the objectives and work streams of the Open Data Working Group
  • Innovation demonstrated in the proposal and approach
  • Measurable research goal outlined for the research period
  • published in an open format and under an open licence
  • Experience and qualifications of researcher(s) proposed for the project
  • Detail and feasibility of work plan proposed, including a detailed budget for use of funds
  • Evidence of engagement with research partners from the Global South
  • Evidence of feasibility of collaboration with resource groups cited


Award Process

Applications will be reviewed during the period from October 25 – November 16. The Steering Committee will meet together during the OGP Americas summit to make the final selection and an announcement will be made shortly thereafter. Current members of the WG who apply and who are also on the SC will not be eligible to take part in the selection process.


How to Apply

Interested parties are encouraged to prepare and submit a detailed research plan including each of the following sections:

  • Title of project
  • Name of organization sponsoring / housing / supporting the project (if applicable) and any institutional partners including contact information
  • Research Question and summary of methodology proposed
  • Motivation for the Research – why are you / is your group motivated to explore this question in depth?
  • Research Team (if applicable) – why are you / is your group qualified and well placed to pursue this research?
  • Proposed partnerships – what organizations, governments, research entities or groups will you / your team seek to engage during the course of this research?
  • Resources to be consulted (Data sets, data collection, academic literature, case studies, individuals to be interviewed, et cetera)
  • Detailed timeline of proposed work (November 2014 – March 2015)

Proposals may include CVs of lead researchers, work samples, references, and any additional materials the team feels would serve to underline their motivation and qualification to pursue the outlined work.

Proposal must also include a detailed budget based on the budget template (the budget template is available in ODS, XLS).

P̶l̶e̶a̶s̶e̶,̶ ̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶u̶b̶m̶i̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶m̶ t̶o̶ ̶u̶p̶l̶o̶a̶d̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶p̶o̶s̶a̶l̶.̶



[deadline is over, thanks to all who submitted proposals]

R̶e̶s̶e̶a̶r̶c̶h̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶p̶o̶s̶a̶l̶s̶ ̶m̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶s̶u̶b̶m̶i̶t̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶u̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ s̶u̶b̶m̶i̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶m̶ b̶y̶ ̶m̶i̶d̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶(̶E̶S̶T̶)̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶O̶c̶t̶o̶b̶e̶r̶ ̶2̶4̶t̶h̶,̶ ̶2̶0̶1̶4̶. Awardees will be contacted by the end-November, and the timeline for research to be completed will be December 2014 – March 2015. 

If you have any questions, comments or problems submitting, please email submission-odr@webfoundation.org.