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Grant opportunities

Initially, we are offering two types of grants: an early-career grant for master's students and PhD candidates and a grant for senior researchers and organisations. In a first step, interested candidates are required to send in an abstract and will then be contacted in case their project is selected for the proposal round. More details can be found under the individual grant types below.

On this page candidates can also find a list of topics EPIB is interested in. Please also see the FAQ for further information.

Grant types

Early-career grant

For masters' students and PhD candidates

Senior Grant

For senior researchers and research organisations

FAQ

Frequently asked questions for both types

Abstract writing

Find more information about how to write an abstract

Topics

For both the early-career and the senior grant, we are particularly interested in research covering the following topics:

1. Financing quality education for all

 

Building on earlier research such as the PAISA studies, we are looking for research that provides insights about the current state of financing of education in Bihar. This includes studying budget documents, fund-flows (including under the newly restructured Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) such as Samagra Shiksha), and tracking expenditure. This also includes research that generates insights about how additional revenue can be generated at state-level or how CSS and other central transfers can be restructured to ensure an equitable distribution of resources across states.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in public finance, management, or economics.

2. Teacher recruitment, training, and management

 

We are looking for research that provides insights about how teacher recruitment processes can be improved, including how selection criteria matter for teacher performance. We are also interested in studies that investigate the impact of different recruitment methods (such as decentralised vs centralised), fraud detection, and equity aspects. Additionally, teacher posting policies and retainment of existing human resources are of interest. A further focus is on teacher training on scale, including the academic support infrastructure at cluster, block, district, and state level. We are also interested in research that compares the efficiency of different modes of delivery, such as in-person instruction vs distance courses.

 

Some relevant existing research for this topic includes Teacher Performance in Bihar, India, Getting the Right Teachers into the Right Schools : Managing India's Teacher Workforce, or Does the Government’s Monitoring of Schools Work? A Study of the Frontline Education Bureaucracy in India.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in education, public policy, public administration, management studies, legal studies, or economics.

 

 

3. School administration & bureaucracy

 

We are interested in studies that investigate the role of the bureaucracy for quality education. This can focus on different levels of the administration, including the block and district levels. A special focus is on ways how the bureaucracy can be leveraged for improving learning on scale.

 

Some relevant existing research on this topic includes The Post Office Paradox or Bureaucratic Norms and State Capacity in India.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in education, public policy, public administration, management studies, legal studies, or economics.

 

 

 

4. Beyond Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)

 

We are interested in research that discovers how FLN became dominant in the policy discourse or how a low-capacity system like Bihar can move beyond a focus on basic numeracy and literacy to ensure quality education for all children.

 

There appears to exist little research till today on this emerging topic. Yet, general literature around the framing of public policy and policy networks seems relevant. Some research on the latter (not focusing on FLN) includes Following policy: networks, network ethnography and education policy mobilities.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in education or public policy.

 

 

 

5. Reform education systems – challenges and opportunities

 

We are interested in research on reforming education systems on scale. If a government wants to change an education system, what challenges do they face? How can those be overcome? What can past experiences tell us about future attempts?

 

Relevant research on this topic includes Rewriting the Grammar of the Education System: Delhi’s Education Reform (A Tale of Creative Resistance and Creative Disruption) or Education Reforms, Bureaucracy and the Puzzles of Implementation: A case study from Bihar.

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in education, public policy, management studies, economics, or ethnography.

 

 

 

6. Quality nutrition

 

The Midday Meal Program has been a huge success in India. Despite this, some issues remain, including ways to make MDMs more nutritious. We are particularly interested in research on the financial implications of better meals and fairer salaries for midday meal cookers and helpers as well as the potential for sourcing ingredients locally while preventing fraud. Research might also include studies researching the financial impact of adding a breakfast. Another focus might be the right balance between centralisation and local discretion, e.g. regarding the composition of ingredients.

 

Some recent relevant research highlights the enormous benefits of the MDM scheme in India: Intergenerational nutrition benefits of India’s national school feeding program and Estimating the impact of school feeding programs: Evidence from mid day meal scheme of India.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in nutrition studies, public policy, management studies, economics, or ethnography.

 

 

 

7. Creating healthy school environments

 

This topic includes research on the impact of air pollution on learning and ways to address these given the infrastructure constraints in Bihar’s government schools. It also aims to specify the infrastructure gap for ensuring all schools have functioning toilets or fans and how this can be addressed.

 

Relevant research on the infrastructure gaps includes, e.g., Resource requirements for Right to Education (RTE): Normative and the Real.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in economics or public finance.

 

 

8. The impact of climate change on education

 

Climate change leads to more frequent and more severe heat and cold waves as well as other weather extremes. This impacts education by forcing schools to shut down for more and more days every year. We are interested in research that aims quantify the influence of climate change on the Right to Education (such as learning outcomes, nutrition outcomes, holistic child development, or days of schooling lost). We are interested in work that looks at how the negative impacts can be mitigated (including alternative school timings and improving infrastructure) as well as their financial implications. Additionally, we are interested in how this affects seasonal migration patterns and ways to address these. Furthermore, we are interested in research from a legal perspective and how the fundamental Right to Education can ensure that governments prepare schools for such events.

 

We are not currently aware of much research on this topic from the Indian context.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in economics, public finance, legal studies, or environmental studies.

 

 

9. Participation & collaboration on scale

While participation is theoretically institutionalized with School Management Committees at the school level, they are often rendered dysfunctional. We are interested in research, including case studies from individual Blocks or Districts, that highlight how meaningful and inclusive participation for quality education can be achieved.

 

Relevant research includes Pitfalls of Participatory Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Education in India, Enhancing pro-poor governance in Eastern India: participation, politics and action research, or Community Participation and Empowerment in Primary Education (book; for a review see https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/097318490400100211?journalCode=ceda ).

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background social work, ethnography, or public administration.

 

 

 

10. Leveraging transparency for accountability

 

Transparency is often seen as a way to improve public service provision by strengthening accountability. Evidence on this direct causal impact is mixed. We are interested in case studies that document positive examples on scale (at least at a Block or District level) that show how transparency was able to improve service provisioning.

 

We are not aware of much relevant research on leveraging transparency for improving government schools in the Indian context.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background social work, ethnography, or public administration.

 

11. The legal Right to Education

 

We are interested in legal research on the Right to Education and its ability to enforce quality education for all. Research might include the impact of past legislation, but more importantly generate suggestions for amendments of existing acts to ensure that governments fulfil their duty to provide quality education for all children.

 

Relevant literature includes the Abidjan Principles.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in legal studies.

 

 

 

12. Inclusive education

 

We are looking for research that investigates the state of education for Children with Disabilities (CWDs), including whether they receive aids they are entitled to and whether schools provide inclusive environments. We are not interested in case studies of individual schools, but on research that provides evidence how their education can be improved on scale.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in special education, public administration, or economics.

 

 

 

13. Empowering change agents on scale

 

We are interested in research that explores how frontline bureaucrats can be empowered to act as change agents that can challenge patriarchal views or caste discrimination.

 

Relevant recent research includes Social conflict on the front lines of reform: Institutional activism and girls' education in rural India.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in social work, public administration, management studies, or economics.

 

14. Leveraging technology beyond edtech for profit

We are interested in research that takes stock of the current state of edtech in the public education system with a focus of Bihar. This includes mapping actors and their abilities to influence public policy and funding decisions. We are equally interested in research that discovers how edtech can be regulated to allow it to move from profit-oriented pseudo-solutions towards a useful contribution for quality education.

 

Relevant research includes Commericalising education: profiting from reform!

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in public policy, ethnography, sociology or legal studies.

 

15. The political economy of quality education for all

 

We are interested in the political economy (nationally, at state level, but also at the district and local level) around quality education for all. What actors try to push for desegregation and more equitable education? Who opposes attempts to improve government schools for the masses?

 

We are not aware of much contemporary research on this topic. Research on the historical experience includes, e.g., Caste, Colonialism and Schooling: Education in British India.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in public policy, ethnography, sociology or legal studies.

 

 

16. The impact and role of philanthropy

 

Philanthropy is playing a major role in India’s education system, not least due to its influence on policy decisions. Unlike democratically elected representatives, private philanthropy lacks accountability. We are interested in research that maps out the private philanthropy network that impacts education in Bihar. This research should provide new insights about how these actors approach policy makers, how they influence policy, whether these actions are transparent or hidden, and how their role could be regulated in the public interest.

 

Research on the role of philanthropies includes Global Education Inc.: New Policy Networks and the Neoliberal Imaginary.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in public policy, ethnography, sociology or legal studies.

 

 

 

17. The role of Anganwadis for quality education

 

We are interested in research investigating the role and impact of Anganwadis and how they contribute to quality education. We are particularly interested in positive case studies at the scale of blocks or districts.

 

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in social work, public policy, management studies, or ethnography.

 

 

18. Gender equity to reach quality education for all

We are interested in research that discovers policy instruments aiming at gender equality. This might include research on how barriers to education for girls can be overcome on scale. A clear policy link must be established.

Candidates for this topic most likely have a background in social work, public policy, economics, or ethnography.