COVID-19 Emerging Research: Special Call for "Expressions of Interest"

SUMERNET) announces a special call for Expression of Interest (EoI) for its COVID-19 emerging research grant in 2020. Total funds available is approximately US$150,000 for one multi-country research project, which will be completed within 12 months.

Jun 10, 2020

Date of call: 10th June 2020

Deadline for application: 25th June 2020

Opportunity background

This ongoing fourth phase of SUMERNET (SUMERNET 4 All) aims to “reduce water insecurity for all in particular for the poor, marginalized and socially vulnerable groups of women and men in the Mekong Region”.

In response to the fast-evolving situation of water insecurity across the Mekong countries, “SUMERNET 4 All” is launching an emerging research call that specifically concentrates on reducing water insecurities of the marginalized and most vulnerable people and groups in the Mekong Region during the COVID-19 crises.

This call will fund one multi-country research project that will provide evidence for the local, national and regional efforts to deal with water challenges and ensure pathways to impact on policy and practice. The research priorities of this call are aligned with the SUMERNET 4 All goal and three research themes below.

(1) water access, rights and allocation in times of water insecurity;

(2) governance and management of water-related disaster risks;

(3) transboundary interactions with water systems.

Expedited timelines apply throughout process to ensure delivery meets rapid response needs. It is expected that contracting and start-up of successful project will be equally expedited. Research project lead and team members are required to treat this call with the utmost urgency.

Details of this call

The format of applications is based on a shortened version of the well-established SUMERNET 4 All collaborative research funding instrument. However, while not an explicit requirement ,we emphasize that applications with involvement of policy makers, planners, practitioners and marginalized women and men are particularly welcome, as are those lead or co-lead by women.

Successful applications will have to fulfil the following aspects:

  1. Research and policy engagement activities need to be conducted in all the five countries in the Mekong Region including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
  2. Learning across participating countries and comparison of research results in five countries should be part of the research project.
  3. Use a multidisciplinary research approach that includes gender equity and social justice, human rights, conflict sensitivity, governance, and poverty reduction as key targets.
  4. Engagement with a diverse group of team members that represent different genders, ages, and ethnicities, and are at different stages in their research career is an advantage, specifically if the project has a female lead.
  5. Eventual beneficiaries of this research project prioritize the marginalized and most vulnerable groups in the Mekong Region, with a primary goal to understand these groups’ water insecurity due to the combined effects of environmental stressors and the COVID-19 crisis.
  6. Study powerful groups/organizations/individuals e.g. policymakers, planners and practitioners to understand their current policies, plans or practices relevant to water insecurity.
  7. Provide recommendations to help enhance policies and/or practices that reduce water insecurity for the marginalized and most vulnerable groups in the Mekong Region by securing access and control to water resources.
  8. Leading agency and Team Leader of research project has extensive experience and proven capacity to manage multi-country research grants in the Mekong Region.
  9. Project team has proven experience and expertise to carry out the proposed research project.                                                                                                

Outputs and timeline

  • Two manuscripts in English for submission to academic journals
  • One policy brief, in English and translated into at least one local language in the Mekong Region
  • At least two public products (e.g. blog, video, Op-Ed, etc), with at least one product involving marginalised and vulnerable communities
  • At least two policy engagement events
  • Project reports
  • All activities and publications must be completed within one year

Who can apply?

The Lead Applicant (LA) must be from the organizations that are current or past grantees of SUMERNET programme or other grants from SEI. Lead applicants need to demonstrate that they have the skills, knowledge and support necessary to direct the proposed research and to be actively engaged in carrying the research through its completion. The LA will need to show appropriate evidence of expertise and experience matched to the nature and context of research project. Lead Applicant must be a formal SUMERNET network member.  (Please apply to be a SUMERNET network member if you haven’t registered as a network member yet using this link). 

Team members from the five Mekong countries could be either from SUMERNET or outside.

How to apply?

The Expression of Interest (EoI) form (available as download with this call) and must be completed to ensure eligibility. Reference is made in the form to SUMERNET website where information on the programme’s goal, objectives and priority themes, as well as operating approach, boundary partners, capacity development etc is made. Please refer to this when submitting the EoI.

All applications must submit an Expression of Interest using the SUMERNET online submission platform at:

Attachments  to  be included in the submission

* CV of Project Leader

* CV of project team members

* Excel file with activities, outputs and budget

Sustainable Mekong Research Network

Building research for policy towards sustainable development in the Mekong Region

Read more about SUMERNET

Sign up for our newsletter