The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Cornell University are calling for concept proposals for the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) Fellows program. The STAARS project is a collaboration between Cornell University and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to advance in-depth, rigorous, policy-oriented research on the causal determinants of productivity and income growth, asset accumulation, rural employment and risk management in African agriculture and rural spaces. PIM has established a collaboration agreement with Cornell University to provide technical mentorship and support for selected early career African researchers.
Prospective STAARS fellows are invited to develop proposals in the following thematic areas.
STAARS fellows’ rigorous policy analysis should use existing data, such as the Living Standards Measurement Study - Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) or similar datasets from sub-Saharan Africa.
The call is open for early career African researchers, either Ph.D. students in their final year or those who completed their Ph.D. in 2014 or later. Priority is given to researchers based and working in – or soon returning to – Africa, with priority given to proposals relating to the research themes indicated above. Qualified female researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. STAARS encourages applications from fresh Ph.D. graduates who can benefit from a mentorship and additional training to become highly competent researchers. Fellows are expected to complete the proposed project by publishing findings as a working paper and submitting to a peer-reviewed journal by December 15, 2019.
The selected applicants will receive funds to cover travel and participation in a three-week mentorship program at Cornell University. No funds are available to support an individual’s time, so written permission from one’s supervisor will be required. No funds are available to support data collection or other research expenses.
The STAARS fellowship application process is managed by Cornell University, in collaboration with PIM. Applicants are required to prepare a maximum 2500 word (5 page) concept proposal, which motivates the selected research issues and objectives, outlines data sources, proposed methodology and contains a convincing plan for completing the project by December 15, 2019. All proposals shall be prepared in English. All proposals will be peer reviewed by experts from PIM and Cornell University.
The deadline to submit a concept proposal is March 1, 2019. Applicants should submit their completed proposal via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Accepted applicants will be notified in mid-April and are expected to begin remote collaboration with their mentor immediately upon acceptance.
The proposed research and capacity development is expected to be undertaken as part of an ongoing effort by the scholar; STAARS will not cover the scholar’s time allocated to this research. The program cannot support costs for any new data collection. Researchers are expected to be familiar with existing data sets and have a strong working knowledge of Stata, R or other econometric software and an interest in econometric analysis of high quality data sets.