The deadline for submissions and UK institutional approval is 22 May 2019 at 5pm (UK time).

This British Academy programme, funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), supports research geared towards informing policy-making in the education and broader learning domain. More information can be found here:

More about the programme aims

Early childhood is a critical stage of development that forms the foundation for a child’s future learning and well-being. Research demonstrates that there are larger returns to investing in a child’s early years than any other time in their development. However, more than 250 million children under five years of age in developing countries still do not reach their developmental potential.

The projects funded under this programme aim to provide critical knowledge to inform policy-making in the education and broader learning domain, while recognising the necessary interplay of education with health, nutrition, gender equality and other disciplines and sectors.

Applications under this programme should seek to address either or both of the following areas:

  • Enhancing our understanding of how and why education interventions (formal and / or informal including community-based, parenting and caring) work within their current and historical contexts, whether impact lasts (and how this is understood locally), and how this could be replicated in different circumstances and at scale. The research conducted could, for example, focus on how education and learning interventions have not only educational outcomes and impact but also have wider implications and impact on other early childhood development factors. In consideration of this, research teams may wish to explore issues such as female economic empowerment or the most marginalised and disadvantaged such as girls and those with disabilities.
  • Investigating how child development outcomes are impacted by the learning cultures and environments which children are exposed to that are often complex and varied. This is understood in a cross-sectoral and diverse way, so not simply as schooling but broadly, and including, the underlying political economy and historical context in which education takes place. This could include a consideration of how lessons might be transferable across contexts, for example from conflict and crisis-affected settings through to stable, lower-middle income countries.

Eligibility requirements

Principal Investigators must be based in the UK, however, equitable international collaboration is strongly expected to be detailed in any application. We particularly encourage collaboration with institutions and partners in the Global South and expect to see applications demonstrate fully how researchers from the Global South will be involved as equal partners in the research proposed.

The Principal Investigator and any Co-Applicants must be of postdoctoral or above status, or have equivalent research experience, and hold an established role that will last at least the duration of the grant funded by the British Academy.

ODA requirements

The Early Childhood Education Programme will only fund projects which are ODA-eligible. Only research that has a primary objective which is directly and primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. ODA eligibility is an essential criterion – projects will only be deemed eligible for funding if they can demonstrate that they satisfy ODA eligibility criteria. The British Academy, with the other Global Challenge Research Fund delivery partners, has made an additional ODA guidance document available to applicants.

Only proposals which aim to support the economic development and welfare of developing countries will be supported under this call.

Value and duration

Projects must be 21 months in duration, with a maximum value of £300,000 (and will be offered on a 100% full economic cost basis). All projects must begin on 9 September 2019.

Application process

Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy’s Grant Management System (GMS), Flexi-Grant®.

For more details about the programme and the eligibility requirements, please see the scheme notes.


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