DFID-ESRC China and Africa research programme

This call is now closed. The details below are for information only.

Five grants have been funded under this call:

  • Local government, economic growth and human development: Chinese lessons for Kenya and Uganda? (ES/M004333/1), Lina Song, University of Nottingham
  • Chinese national oil companies and the economic development of African oil producers (ES/M004066/1), Giles Marcus Mohan, Open University
  • Chinese FDI and structural transformation in Africa: technology transfer, linkages and learning (ES/M004074/1), Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins University (USA)
  • Natural resources, rural poverty and China-Africa trade: equity and sustainability in informal commodities value chains (ES/M00659X/1), William Thomas Vorley, International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Assessing the employment impact of Chinese firms in sub-Saharan Africa (ES/M004228/1), Carlos Oya, School of Oriental and African Studies 

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.

For further information please contact