DFID-ESRC China and Africa research programme

Applications for this opportunity have now closed, this page remains for reference purposes only

The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are pleased to announce a dedicated programme of research to investigate in comparative perspective the economic development impact of China's engagement in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme aims to critically evaluate what lessons China's own economic development transformation can offer other developing countries - in particular in low-income Africa.

We expect research projects under this call to either take as a starting point a developmental challenge facing Africa and examine possible solutions linked to recent experience from China's own economic development, or to build understanding of an aspect of China's engagement with Africa relevant to the continent’s economic development.

The programme encourages academics from developing and developed countries to work together in any configuration of their choosing, and principal investigators can be from anywhere in the world.

Grants will be for a maximum of four years and with a full Economic Cost (fEC) value of between £200,000 and £2 million. We expect to fund a mixed portfolio of small (in the region of £200,000 to £500,000) and larger (£500,000 and above) research projects under this call. UK-based researchers will be funded at 80 per cent fEC, whilst non-UK researchers will receive 100 per cent of the direct costs of the research, plus a variable overhead. The total budget for this call will be £4.5 million.

The full specification and other relevant documents can be found below. Deadline for applications: 16.00 UK time, 13 March 2014.

Important reminder: Any UK and non-UK applicant(s) and their institutions intending to apply to this call must ensure they are registered with the Joint Electronic Submission System (Je-S). It is essential to allow sufficient time to secure Je-S registration – we strongly recommend that applicants register with Je-S at least four weeks prior to the call deadline, as no exceptions can be made for late submission of applications.

If you and your research organisation are already registered for Je-S, electronic applications can be accessed via the Je-S website

Further information

An event on China’s engagement with Africa was held at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London on 20 January 2014.

The event examined our understanding of the relationship between China and Africa, reflected on China’s actual and potential role in the continent’s economic development and highlighted priority areas that warrant further exploration. Speakers on the day included:

  • Prof. Raphael Kaplinsky, Open University
  • Prof. Xiaolan Fu, University of Oxford
  • Prof. Christopher Alden, LSE.

The debate was followed by an introduction to the DFID-ESRC China-Africa Research Programme.

The meeting was an opportunity for prospective applicants to learn more about the programme and to network with others in the field. 

Video-recordings of the presentations and further information on the event can be found on the ODI website.

To assist you in linking up with others interested in applying under this call, we are also providing a contact sharing facility. If you would like to share your contact details, please send us a ‘virtual business card’ with your email address and one paragraph about your institutional affiliation, research interests and expertise. The ‘virtual business card’ should be sent by email to decarp@esrc.ac.uk

Your ‘virtual business card’ will then be deposited in a secure online folder which can be accessed by others who have also shared their business cards. Please note that sharing of contact details will be on an entirely voluntary basis. Please also note that, beyond the provision of this contact sharing facility, the ESRC cannot take any responsibility for facilitating or negotiating partnerships between potential applicants.

For further information please contact