Policy effectiveness research opportunity 2020

Policy effectiveness research opportunity

Pilot Funding for Impact Assessment for Policy Innovations

The WZB department Institutions and Political Inequality (IPI) calls researchers in the social sciences to apply for funds to evaluate the impact of interventions in the realm of political and economic inequality.

The 2018 science prize of the Stifterverband and Leibniz Association “Society Needs Science” („Gesellschaft braucht Wissenschaft“) was awarded in part in recognition of field experimental work that seeks to assess the effects of policy innovations on development outcomes.

The use of experimental trials to assess the impact of interventions in Germany is quite rare. Putting policies to the test sometimes shows that innovations have powerful effects and provides justifications for scale up. But sometimes it suggests that long standing practices do not work as supposed, which calls for a rethink of the use or design of policies. This pilot funding seeks to promote the rigorous evaluation of impact assessment as well as policy innovation.

Scope: Interventions should seek to evaluate the impact of an intervention on outcomes related to political or economic inequality, broadly conceived using experimental methods.

Projects could assess the impact of:

  • interventions implemented or policy innovations by the German government or its agencies in Germany or elsewhere that address questions of political or economic inequality in Germany, or
  • interventions or policy innovations implemented by non governmental groups touching on questions of political or economic inequality in Germany

Funding: Two to three projects will be financially supported of up to EURO 10,000.

Duration: Projects should last no more than 12 months, with financial costs incurred in calendar year 2020, and result in a design for a scale up study (or a report indicating that such a scale up is not possible). Core activities, should take place, and funding spent  in 2020, with write up and analysis in early 2021.

Eligibility: Strong applications would have a partner identified and a letter of support indicating the partner’s willingness to work collaboratively on piloting an impact evaluation. PIs chosen for project funding would be affiliated to a WZB research unit for the duration of the project. 

Use of the grant: Direct research costs can be funded including data collection, travel, materials. PI salaries cannot be funded.

Project: An ideal project would identify a question of social science importance and policy relevance, identify a plausible feature of an intervention or program that is ethically and practically amenable to variation to assess causal effects. The application would describe a strategy to implement a small scale pilot demonstrating feasibility of assessing the impacts of an intervention. Applications should outline a strategy that involves the generation of an intervention, identification of subjects, random assignment, baseline and endline measurement, and data analysis. The expected budget should be indicated in the application. For research partnerships we urge adherence to the egap statement of principles, as appropriate:  https://egap.org/egap-statement-of-principles.

Ethics: Ethical approvals should be sought for all pilots engaging human subjects and consent processes should normally be used for all engaged subjects.

Presentations: PIs will be expected to present designs as well as pilot findings at a small virtual workshop hosted by IPI in June/July  2020 and 2021.

Applications: Applicants should complete the short on line application form available here https://forms.gle/tcF3NqhmQRAHyWSP8 by 20 May 2020 and send a recent CV to application-ipi [at] wzb.eu (subject line: “Society Needs Science”).