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BRIEF April 12, 2023

Knowledge for Change: 2023 Call for Proposals and Application Procedures

Writing a KCP proposal

  • The 2023 Call for Proposals (CFP) for the Knowledge for Change Umbrella Program (KCP) Phase IV is now open. Housed in the Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC), the KCP is a multi-donor trust fund with a successful track record in delivering high-impact, policy-relevant research, and knowledge products. The KCP aims at promoting evidence-based policy development in support of poverty reduction and shared prosperity in developing countries. The following are the main goals of the program:

    • Original Research: produce rigorous and relevant fundamental research in support of evidence-based policy making in international development, anticipating future needs and knowledge gaps as well as responding to current policy challenges.
    • Operational Relevance: support World Bank Group country operations in the design, implementation, evaluation, and modification of development interventions in an effective and efficient manner.
    • Open Knowledge: maximize the impact of research and data by making knowledge accessible and actionable, particularly through partnerships and capacity-building activities.

    The KCP launched its fourth phase in early 2021, with an objective to carry out activities related to research, data, and analytics around the following IDA’s special themes: 

    • Jobs and economic transformation
    • Fragility, conflict, and violence
    • Climate change
    • Gender and development
    • Governance and institutions
    • Debt and financial fragility
    • Human capital
    • Technology
    • Disability 
    • Main activities of the proposed projects should concern fundamental original knowledge generation and dissemination, support at least one of the KCP goals, and contribute to the achievement of at least one of the IDA thematic priorities outlined in the KCP IV Concept Note. Projects may include components of data collection, empirical analysis, or theoretical modelling.
    • Thematic priorities: For this round of CPF, priorities will be given to proposals addressing the following thematic areas: a) fragility, conflict, and violence (including migration); b) climate change; c) gender and development; d) governance and institutions; e) debt and financial fragility, f) human capital (especially girl education); and g) technology.
    • Geographic scope: Projects covering all countries are eligible, and a portion of the funds will be prioritized for those focused on countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Project duration must be ≤ 24 months, and extensions will only be granted on an exceptional basis.
    • Collaboration among staff across the WBG is strongly encouraged. The CFP invites proposals submitted by DEC staff, and joint proposals submitted by DEC staff in conjunction with colleagues working in other parts of the WBG. In the case of joint proposals, the ADM TTL must be a DEC staff.
    • Grants from this CFP are for Bank Executed Disbursing/Activity Level Account (BEDA). The funds may be used to finance the variable costs of research, such as data collection, research assistance, fieldwork-related travel expenses, and dissemination. Funds can also be used to fund World Bank regular staff time, consultant fees (when engaging external contributors), and local capacity building efforts.  All purchases of goods and services (including when engaging external vendors) must follow applicable Bank procedures.
    • For this round of CFP, the range of award amount will be between $50,000 to $300,000 per project. 
  • KCP emphasizes research and analytical rigor (the “Knowledge” part of KCP) as well as policy impact inside the World Bank and beyond (the “Change” part of KCP). In particular, four criteria are applied in the assessment process:

    • Quality. Successful research proposals need to be assessed as being of high quality, meaning that the proposed activity will use a rigorous analytical approach to yield valid results and reliable evidence that represent the creation of new knowledge, including primary data, for development that advances the knowledge frontier.
    • Relevance and policy impact. Successful proposals need to demonstrate policy relevance and value added, relative to existing academic literature as well as other work being done in the World Bank, and alignment with priority themes. This includes research on current policy priorities as well as forward-looking research on emerging policy issues that arise in a rapidly changing economic environment. 
    • Communication. To ensure continued impact, proposals should include plans for communication and internal and external knowledge dissemination activities, including plans for proper documentation, archiving, and sharing of relevant data and code produced during the project for replicability purposes.
    • Country participation and partnerships. Where relevant, proposals should document plans for country participation, involvement of local researchers or institutions from developing countries, and steps to ensure that the program strengthens local capacity. 
    • Deadline: Proposals are due on June 15, 2023.
    • Templates:  
    • Proposal clearance prior to submission:
      • Prior to the proposal submission, TTLs must obtain clearance from i) reporting Unit Manager, and ii) respective DEC Department Director. The clearance email from the relevant DEC Department Director should be included in the proposal package.
      • For country projects, TTLs are strongly encouraged to inform and consult relevant colleagues in the Country Management Units (CMUs) prior to proposal submission.
    • Proposal submission: TTLs submit the proposal, together with respective DEC Department Director’s clearance email, and evidence of CMU consultation (for proposals covering country level activities) to the KCP Program Management Unit (PMU) at
    • External Reviews: All proposals will go through a round of review by independent subject matter experts from outside DEC, who will rate the proposals based on the selection criteria outlined above.
    • Decision Meeting of the Internal Management Committee (IMC): The IMC will hold a decision meeting in early fall to review, discuss and select the proposals that will be awarded KCP grants, based on the ratings, comments, and recommendations from the reviewers, operational relevance, as well as the World Bank and DEC’s strategic priorities. Decisions will be made on an “up-or-down” basis, i.e., the entire proposal will or will not be approved – the IMC will not adjust the amount of the grant.
    • Notification of Awardees: The KCP PMU will notify all TTLs regarding the selection result in early fall. TTLs should plan for projects to start in FY2024.