What is Making Markets Work for the Poor Approach?

Making Market Work Better for the Poor (M4P) is an approach that aims to accelerate pro-poor growth by improving outcomes that matter to the poor in their roles as entrepreneurs, employees or consumers of markets. M4P focuses on changing the structure and characteristics of markets to increase participation by the poor on terms that are of benefit to them. It addresses the behaviour of the private sector, through a combination of changes to government policies and support to development of new business models that are more inclusive of the poor. Therefore they reinforce and strengthen market systems, rather than undermining these systems. For a more detailed description see the “what is M4P” tab on the project website: www.markets4poor.org.

What is Policy Action Research?

The policy action research aims to lead to changes in policies. The principle focus of the approach is for researchers to take a more involved role with other key stakeholders (in the private sector, government, or through business associations) in planning and implementing tangible change in the socio-economic and business realms. This varies from traditional research programmes that typically focus more on delivering research studies and results, without much consideration as to how the research can be ultimately used. See project website: www.markets4poor.org for more information and relevant examples.

What is the Policy Action Research Fund?

The action research component of M4P2 will fund research, on a competitive bidding basis, that is intended to lead to the adoption of market-oriented and pro-poor policy change in Vietnam. Grants will be awarded to research institutes and credible stakeholder groupings to support relevant research in three key thematic areas: i) value chain development; ii) public – private partnership in infrastructure services; and iii) labour markets.

The action research component is expected to fund two studies per year in each of the three focus areas of the project (i.e. value chains, labour markets, and PPP in infrastructure); a total of six studies per year. It is expected that at least 12 research studies will be undertaken by the completion of the project in 2011. The maximum grant size will be modest at US$ 50,000 per research study.

Who can apply to the Policy Action Research Fund?

The following institutions will be eligible to bid for policy action research grants:

  • Research Institutes – The bid must be led by a Vietnamese based research institute (i.e. one which is registered in Vietnam) but could be supported by other institutions including those from overseas.
  • Non Governmental Organisations – Both international and domestic NGOs which currently operate in Vietnam will be eligible.
  • Universities and Institutes of Higher Education – The bid must be led by a Vietnamese university or institute of higher education. If deemed necessary these institutions could collaborate with other local and international organisations.
  • Companies – Both local and international companies that have a track record of working in Vietnam are eligible to bid for action research grants.
  • Informal groups of researchers with relevant qualifications but who may not be attached to a specific institution for the purposes of the research project.

Organisations may associate with each other to strengthen their bid applications.

What is the time duration of each research grant?

Policy Action Research studies are expected to be concluded within 9 months from the commencement of the assignment.

What are the assessment criteria for research proposals?

Research proposals will need to address the specific issue advertised in one of the three research themes (value chains, labour markets, and public private partnerships in infrastructure). Proposals will need to demonstrate:

  • How the specific constraint or market failures identified in the call for proposals is going to be addressed;
  • A degree of innovation and originality in either approach and / or how the research findings will be disseminated / used;
  • How the action part of the research of the research will be used to support policy change;
  • Technical suitability of proposed approach and methodology;
  • The quality of the proposed team in terms of the right mix of necessary skills, experience and qualifications to undertake the work; and
  • The cost effectiveness of the proposed research
What is the maximum size of the grant?

The maximum grant size awarded under the component for a single research study will be US$ 50,000.

Do applicants need to provide counter-part funding?

Applicants are not required to provide counterpart funding. However, innovative proposals which include some financing from the institutes / stakeholders own resources will be considered favourably.

What is the grant process?
  • Step 1: Calls for research proposal are set by the Policy Action Research Unit (PARU) are advertised on the project web-site and through the media
  • Step 2: Interested parties have six weeks to submit their proposals according to the proposal templates found on the M4P2 website
  • Step 3: The PARU Assessment Panel reviews and selects potential grantees. The Assessment Panel will comprise of staff drawn from eminent researchers within Vietnam whose organisations or affiliated institutions will not participate in M4P2.
  • Step 4: PARU enters into Contract negotiations with successful applicants including agreement of milestones to be achieved and agreeing indicators for success.
  • Step 5: Contracts are signed
Is there a right of appeal for unsuccessful submissions?

No.  The Assessment Panel’s decision is final. There is no right of appeal.

What languages should I use in submitting the proposal?

English or Vietnamese.

How can I submit my Proposal?

You can submit proposals through email (as attachments), but a hard copy must also be sent by EMS to the M4P project office.

How will I know which proposals have been awarded?

The PARU will send a letter to each applicant, advising them of the decision.

How will I know when a new round of research grants is being tendered?

Please subscribe to our email alert service at the M4P2 website at: www.markets4poor.org.

Who are the partners of M4P2 Programme?

The Making Markets for the Poor Programme Phase 2 is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

I have other questions which are not covered here

If you have any further questions or queries, please contact us, by email, fax or post (no telephone calls please), for written clarification and guidance.