Request for research proposals
Regional growth and development for Southern Africa’s prosperity

UNU-WIDER, together with SA-TIED partners the National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa (NT) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), invite proposals from qualified researchers for high quality economic and/or political economy analysis in any of the five focus areas of the work stream on regional growth and development for Southern Africa's prosperity. Submission deadline: 21 July 2019 23:59 UTC+3

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) is implementing, together with its partners over the period 2017–20, a research programme entitled Southern Africa – Toward Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED) with the aim of enhancing economic research, capacity-building, and policy dialogue in Southern Africa. This request is for research proposals relevant to South Africa’s role in the larger regional economy of Southern Africa.

As Southern Africa’s largest economy, South Africa’s national economic policy decisions often have regional repercussions. This area of research is designed to enhance our understanding of the South African economy within the larger Southern Africa regional context. It consists of five focus areas:

  1. South Africa, SADC and Beyond 
  2. South Africa as a Regional Investor
  3. the Spatial Economy of Southern Africa
  4. the Political Economy of Regional Growth
  5. Strengthening Regional Value Chains

An important aspect of the research design is to encourage systematic integration of political economy perspectives under each focus area.

While submissions of research proposals in any of the above five focus areas are welcome, the organizers are particularly interested in receiving proposals for research on focus area 3. the Spatial Economy of Southern Africa. Proposals for comparative, country-level research on the different approaches, implementation experiences, and outcomes — positive and negative — of industrial development zones (IDZs), special economic zones (SEZs) and/or export processing zones (EPZs) in Southern Africa would be especially welcome.

Read full announcement for more details (please note that the original deadline for submissions has now been extended to 21 July).


UNU-WIDER, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), and Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) invite proposals from qualified researchers for high-quality economic and/or political economy analysis in any of the five focus areas set out above. Key research and policy questions in each of the five focus areas are given in Annex A of the full request for research proposals (RFRP).

The objectives of this RFRP are to:

  1. Provide an opportunity for researchers to conduct policy-relevant research on topics of relevance to South Africa’s role in the larger Southern African regional economy.
  2. Facilitate policy dialogue through engaging with researchers on policy-relevant issues and ensuring that the research findings are communicated effectively to stakeholders — including the academic community, policy makers, and civil society via policy summaries and dialogue.

Proposals from individuals, groups of individuals, as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Researchers can be based in Southern Africa or internationally and can combine researchers from different countries and institutions. Special consideration will be given to Southern African research teams that include junior and early-career researchers, as well as researchers from previously disadvantaged groups.

22 June 2019 Final opportunity for questions on the request for research proposals
21 July2019 Proposals due
02 August 2019 Target date for informing on final decisions
16 August 2019 Target date for completion of necessary administrative procedures
29 November 2019 Target window for submission of first draft of papers and work-in-progress workshop
29 February 2020 Submission of final paper
Proposal submission details

The submission of proposals is done electronically using the appropriate form on the left column of this page. There are three forms to select from; one for individuals, another for groups of individuals, and a third for NGOs. The deadline for submitting proposals is 21 July 2019 23:59 UTC+3.

Details (such as address, gender, nationality, date of birth) of all researchers involved are required to be entered into the form. Uploads of the proposal document and brief CVs (two pages or less) of the researcher(s) are also required. Applicants should familiarize themselves with the form in advance.

Any questions on the proposal process should be sent to by 22 June 2019. All queries and responses will be published on this page after this date.

See full request for research proposals