FAQS

Please note that these Frequently Asked Questions result from the first round of the research bidding process, held in 2015, and so some questions may no longer be as relevant. If you have any other questions, please email the RISE team:  submissions@riseprogramme.org  

(In the answers, ToR refers to the Terms of Reference document - which has been recently updated for the March 2016 round.)

Our two most frequently asked questions are below, with full details about the research criteria, process and timings listed in groups following:

Q1: What types of countries are eligible for research under the RISE programme?

A1: This programme will have breadth across three types of countries:

  1. countries of central importance in the medium-term to DFID programmes and policy (see DFID’s priority list here);
  2. fragile and conflict-afflicted states, also on DFID’s priority list; and
  3. additional countries that may not be on DFID’s priority list, but will offer strong lessons on reforms at scale to improve learning.

Q2: How many awards are expected under the two calls for country research teams?

A2: The RISE Directorate plans to issue two calls for country research, in which it will make up to six awards in total. Under the first call, awards will be made for work starting in March 2016 for up to four country research teams. Under the second call, issued in March 2016, the RISE Directorate will make two awards. Applicants whose proposals are not awarded funding in the first round are eligible for consideration for the second round of funding.

Full FAQs

A. Research consortia and countries

  1. How does the RISE Directorate define a ‘consortium’ or ‘consortia’ of organisations submitting an EoI? 
  2. What if I don’t know who my organization will partner with yet by the time the EoI is due? Should I indicate that in the EoI?
  3. I would like to learn more about opportunities for partnering with other researchers in my country/other countries. How can I do this?
  4. Will the RISE Directorate make more than one award per country?
  5. Can one bidder submit multiple bids for different countries?
  6. Can bidders propose one research proposal spanning different countries?
  7. Can a consortium be formed solely of organizations in the RISE preferred country?
  8. Will consortia involving local organizations be given a priority over international organizations (or international organizations consortia)?
  9. How and why was the list of RISE prioritized countries chosen? 
  10. Vietnam and Indonesia are not on DFID’s priority list, yet they are on the list of prioritized RISE countries. How likely is it that a program will be funded in either of these countries?
  11. Are “non-RISE-preferred DFID priority countries”, such as Tanzania, equally eligible as RISE preferred countries?
  12. Will RISE cover research at the regional or sub-national levels?
  13. Are the Country Research Teams expected to have some influence over decision makers such as governments?
  14. Are the RISE Directorate interested in research projects where the Research Team has (or will) play a role in implementing some of the reforms with the government?
  15. There may be a conflict of interest within my consortium, that is to say a member of our team has worked on RISE or for the UK government. What can I do about this?
  16. Can individuals form a consortium for the EoI without collaborating with an organisation or institution?
  17. How many examples of evidence of past engagements related to systems education research need to be included in the EoI?
  18. How do the RISE Directorate define a local organization? Can this be a local presence/office in the research country?
  19. Will any matchmaking occur during the Request for Proposals stage? What form will this take?
  20. How many awards are likely to be ade per country? Can multiple Country Research Teams work on the same country?
  21. Has the RISE Directorate or DfID had discussions with policy makers, governments and ministries of education within the RISE prioritized countries to determine their respective interest and commitment to the research that RISE is seeking to conduct?
  22. Is there a limit on how many organizations can be on a bid?

B. Funding and contracting

  1. What is the approximate amount of funding per country expected to be awarded? How will the £21 million be allocated across countries?
  2. The currency in my country can fluctuate. Who bears the change rate risk?
  3. To what extent does the proposed research plan and budget have to be locked in for the entire duration of the project?
  4. Five or six years is a long time to expect political/administrative stability. What about situations in which a research team is awarded a contract and the project stalls because of political factors outside the control of the research team (say after a smooth two years)? Is there an exit option in mind in such settings?
  5. When the ToR says that the RISE Directorate is willing to fund the incremental cost of doing research about reforms, but not implementation, what does this mean?
  6. What if my organization has not managed a contract for £1 million or more? Is my organization still eligible?
  7. Who is responsible in terms of oversight and quality assurance of country research teams?
  8. Should outputs be expected by the 6 year end? Should the fieldwork have ended and been evaluated by the 6 year end? 
  9. Should the budget have been spent by the 6 year end?
  10. Who do the CRTs ultimately report to?
  11. Who will the CRT contract be with?
  12. What is the CRT relationship to DFID?
  13. What is the difference between key and non-key staff?
  14. Is a budget outline required in the Expression of Interest?
  15. Are the EoI Criteria scored against all members listed in a consortium or against the consortium as a whole?
  16. Is there an age limit on bidders of an EoI?
  17. Do we need to specify the roles of Country Research Team members in the EoI?
  18. Is it possible to have PhD students work on this project?
  19. Is there a budget for proposal development?
  20. Which organization manages the funds awarded if a consortium is chosen?
  21. Can the bid be divided between an organization which will manage the fudciary aspect of the bid and an organization with a weaker fiduciary capacity but strong local knowledge?

C. Reform and methodology

  1. Does the RISE Directorate prefer that we study multiple reforms or a single reform?
  2. Will the RISE programme focus on the study of currently implemented reforms (such as current government reforms) or new innovations and system reforms?
  3. Given the multiple levels of complexity and facets of an education system, how large a systems diagnostic is the RISE Directorate expecting Country Research Teams to produce? What is the balance between asking clear research questions with clear methodologies and studying enough aspects of a system to create a system diagnostic?
  4. Will the RISE programme fund RCTs?
  5. Does the RISE Directorate have a bias against experimental research designs limited to for example, a single city’s education system?
  6. Does the RISE programme aim to have an emphasis on capacity building?
  7. Does the RISE Directorate prefer to fund qualitative or quantitative research?
  8. How much should research teams to anticipate and mitigate political/bureaucratic risk in their proposals?
  9. In some countries it might be difficult to identify the initial reform which has caused a variation in learning outcomes across a country. How important is it to have identified a reform to study? Would it be possible to submit an EoI where a strong methodology to study learning outcome differentials had been developed but the reform was not clear yet?
  10. Would the RISE Directorate consider EoIs where the Country Research Team had developed a theoretical model and then proposed empirically validating the model within one of the RISE countries?
  11. What level of education will the RISE programme's research focus on?
  12. Would the RISE Directorate be interested in research into private sector involvement in public sector schools?
  13. What is the focus of the RISE programme's research?
  14. What academic research support is available during the programme?
  15. Does the RISE Directorate have a theoretical framework in mind for developing a systems diagnostic?
  16. Should the research questions be described in detail in the EoI?
  17. How does the RISE Directorate define a reform/ innovation/ system element?
  18. Does a reform have to be a large scale policy failure or success?
  19. Does the country reform justification have to outline government support of a reform or can the reform be at the level of civil society?
  20. When using an RCT a Country Research Team might choose to not include a certain group in the treatment group. How would the Country Research Team deal with these ethical issues?

D. Other

  1. How much dissemination and research uptake will be the responsibility of the RISE Directorate versus country research teams?
  2. Do I need an invitation to attend any of the supplier meetings taking place June – August? 
  3. The initial Country Research Teams will work for 6 years whereas the secondary Country Research Teams will be taken on later and so have less time for research. What is the difference in the workload of these Country Research Teams?
  4. Where can I find Washington DC RISE launch event presentation slides?
  5. Where is the Expression of Interest form, criteria and guidelines?
  6. When will more information about the Request for Proposals stage be made available?

A.
Consortia and Countries

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1. How does the RISE Directorate define a ‘consortium’ or ‘consortia’ of organisations submitting an EoI?

A Consortium could involve arrangements such as a Lead Organisation with sub-contractors or a Joint Venture Agreement between 2 (or more) Lead Organisations. 

2. What if I don’t know who my organization will partner with yet by the time the EoI is due? Should I indicate that in the EoI?

We expect you to use the time between 10 March and 10 May 2016 for consortium building. If you have not yet formed a consortium by the time the EoI is due, you may still submit an EoI, however you will be assessed against competitors who do have a consortium set up. If we see complementarity between your proposal and that of other bidders, we may suggest, after EoIs are due, that various organisations contact each other. We would discourage bidders from outlining hypothetical partnerships which, at time of EoI submission, do not exist.

3. I would like to learn more about opportunities for partnering with other researchers in my country/other countries. How can I do this?

Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend RISE information events, which will include research collaboration sessions and informal networking as an opportunity for participants to introduce themselves and discuss potential research collaborations. Further information about these events can be found under the Events section of the website.

4. Will the RISE Directorate make more than one award per country?

RISE does not anticipate making multiple awards per country.

See ToR p13

5. Can one bidder submit multiple bids for different countries?

Yes – bidders can submit as many country bids as they wish (a bid for Ghana and a separate bid for Ethiopia, for example). Should multiple bids including one person get through to the full proposal stage the RISE Directorate will review the person’s total time commitment across projects and gage if it is realistic for the person to commit to multiple bids.

See ToR p13

6. Can bidders propose one research proposal spanning different countries?

If bidders wish to propose research programmes spanning more than one country, this is permissible, but cross-country programmes will be funded at the same level as individual country research programmes. This research is complex and so could present difficulties in isolating a simultaneous reform across a panel of different countries. Multiple country proposals will only be considered for neighbouring countries with strong economic and political linkages which could form a coherent whole for RISE research. RISE is open to exceptionally interesting and intelligent multi-country proposals with the potential to produce academically rigorous results on system level reform.

See ToR p13

7. Can a consortium be formed solely of organisations in the RISE preferred country?

Yes.

8. Will consortia involving local organisations be given a priority over international organisations (or international organisations consortia)?

The RISE Directorate is looking for proposals from bidders strengthened by a variety of consortium members. Proposed teams should have been selected to maximise the intellectual background and in-country knowledge necessary to produce exceptional research. Provided that research quality is not compromised, the Directorate prefers consortia where the lead organisation is based in the RISE priority country of choice, under the belief that higher quality research is produced when country research teams are heavily embedded in their country of research.

See ToR p22

9. How and why was the list of RISE prioritised countries chosen?

A report explaining the country selection criteria developed by the RISE directorate can be found here.

Also see ToR p12

10. Vietnam and Indonesia are not on DFID’s priority list, yet they are on the list of prioritised RISE countries. How likely is it that a program will be funded in either of these countries?

The country selection criteria developed by the RISE Directorate can be found here.  These criteria were used by the RISE Directorate to determine a list of countries of interest and, following an extensive process involving country visits, in-person and telephone interviews, and background research, this list was narrowed down to seven key countries prioritized for this research programme. These countries were selected based on their potential for being home to RISE-relevant reform(s), innovation(s) or system element(s). That is, we think the changes underway in these countries present the greatest opportunities for interesting, relevant research.

These countries will be prioritized unless an overwhelmingly compelling example of system reform or transformation consistent with the programme’s research goals is submitted. 

See ToR p12-13

11. Are “non-RISE-preferred DFID priority countries”, such as Tanzania, equally eligible as RISE preferred countries?

No. The seven preferred countries were selected based on their potential for being home to RISE-relevant reform(s), innovation(s) or system element(s). If bidders want to propose studying reform(s), innovation(s) or system element(s) in DFID priority countries not among this seven, they are welcome to. Proposals from countries not among these seven will be evaluated with priority given to overwhelmingly compelling examples of system reform(s) or transformation(s) consistent with RISE’s research goals.

See ToR p12-13

12. Will RISE cover research at the regional or sub-national levels?

In larger countries, where sub-national authorities have significant influence over education policy and implementation,  proposals are welcome to include research that is limited to sub-national regions (states, etc.), as long as the reforms or innovations meet the the RISE Directorate's parameters.

See ToR p13

13. Are the Country Research Teams expected to have some influence over decision makers such as governments?

Country Research Teams are expected to engage with but need not have sway over governments. It must be demonstrable that the reform will (or has) take(n) place and that the Country Research Team is capable of carrying out their research. The reform must be politically viable. Reforms studied do not have to have been initiated by government, but can be led by civil society of other stakeholders, provided they are at the system level.

14. Are the RISE Directorate interested in research projects where the Research Team has (or will) play a role in implementing some of the reforms with the government?

No, the county research team can monitor and evaluate a reform as well as implement research related activities, but it cannot deliver the reform. 

15. There may be a conflict of interest within my consortium, that is to say a member of our team has worked on RISE or for the UK government. What can I do about this?

Begin by consulting section 2 of our Expression of Interest Document (here). If a member of your consortium has worked for RISE directly, they need to contact their manager or colleague within RISE to fill out an internal Conflict of Interest Form. If a member of your team has worked for DfID, this needs to be explained clearly within the Expression of Interest.

16. Can individuals form a consortium for the EoI without collaborating with an organisation or institution?

The RISE Directorate expects institutions to apply, institutions can then form a consortium or partnership with individuals. It is also important that the lead organisation (or one of the joint partners in a joint partner venture) has experience leading a £1 million research study.

17. How many examples of evidence of past engagements need to be included in the EoI?

At least two pieces of evidence of past engagements need to be included in the EoI,one being from education systems research and the other of highest value managed, irrelevant of thematic area. Note that both need to be within the last 5 years.

18. How do the RISE Directorate define a local organisation? Can this be a local presence/ office in the research country?

The RISE Directorate are ideally looking for consortia with a variety of skills sets, this includes local contextual knowledge. We would expect that proposals lead by local teams would have more local knowledge and be better proposals. However, if the international group has a deep local engagement, RISE have nothing against that. RISE will not consider proposals from consortia with very little local knowledge or presence.

19. Will any matchmaking occur during the request for proposals stage? What form will this take?

Bidders are expected to pass the EoI stage. However, if a lead organisation has passed the EoI stage and would like to partner with an organisation that did not figure on the EoI, this would be permissible, though we would expect it to be rare and encourage bidders to contact RISE if this should happen. The RISE Directorate reserves the right to suggest partnerships between bidders who submitted EoIs. Bidders who successfully passed the EoI stage individually, may partner.

20. How many awards are likely to be made per country? Can multiple Country Research Teams work on the same country?

RISE does not anticipate making multiple awards per country.

See ToR p13

21. Has the RISE Directorate or DfID had discussions with policy makers, governments and ministries of education within the RISE prioritised countries to determine their respective interest and commitment to the research that RISE is seeking to conduct?

A foundational principle of RISE is that research must be closely linked to country policy objectives and debates. Hence one of the core criteria for country selection was the extent of political enthusiasm for this research, and the existence of systemic reforms underway. From a very early stage in the development of this programme, discussions were held with policymakers and government officials in potential RISE countries: the enthusiasm and demand for this programme has driven progress so far. Ministers of Education at the World Education Forum in Incheon, Korea in May 2015 welcomed this research.

Bidders should be clear that the proposed reforms and system elements to be studied are retrospective, ongoing, or prospective and highly likely – indicating policy maker support for the reform being studied. We expect bidders to demonstrate the strong relationships they have with stakeholders, including policy makers, in-country. These relationships and experience of stakeholder engagement will contribute to successful future engagement and outreach for research impact in the study countries. Bidders should outline how they will engage stakeholders to ensure sufficient support for the research programme throughout RISE’s duration to maximise research impact. In addition, bidders may describe what engagement they have already had with relevant policy makers to secure the initial interest of stakeholders in the proposal.

22. Is there a limit on how many organizations can be on a bid?

A consortium may have any number of organizations working within it.

B.

Funding and contracting

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1. What is the approximate amount of funding per country expected to be awarded? How will the £24 million be allocated across countries?

The RISE Directorate is not specifying the amount to be awarded per country since this will depend on the types of programmes proposed and on country context. The Directorate will award a total of £24 million across up to six selected country research teams, recognizing that costs may vary by context. For the second call for country research teams (issued in spring 2016), RISE will not review proposals under £3 million and will not accept proposals above £3,750,000.00.

See ToR p10

2. The currency in my country can fluctuate. Who bears the change rate risk?

Awards funded will be made in pound sterling. Bidders bear the exchange rate risk.

See ToR p10

3. To what extent does the proposed research plan and budget have to be locked in for the entire duration of the project?

Bidders must propose how they will spend the full funding amount in proposals. RISE will for example not accept proposals that just map out how half the funding will be spent, leaving the remaining amount unprogrammed.

The RISE Directorate expects all proposals to include a brief workplan for carrying out the research for the entire program duration, with a more detailed workplan expected during inception. CRTs can propose and justify changes in workplan or shift budget lines throughout the life of the project.

4. Five or six years is a long time to expect political/administrative stability. What about situations in which a research team is awarded a contract and the project stalls because of political factors outside the control of the research team (say after a smooth two years)? Is there an exit option in mind in such settings?

For incipient reforms or those not yet underway, proposals should explain the conditions under which this reform will or won’t take place, and why the bidder thinks the reform or policy will be carried out. This should include the risks and limitations of the reform or innovation. Should a political or administrative change be so drastic that the proposed project is no longer implementable, the Directorate will work with the CRT to discuss other study options. In the worst case scenario, if the situation no longer lends itself to RISE research, the Directorate may consider terminating the contract.

5. When the ToR says that the RISE Directorate is willing to fund the incremental cost of doing research about reforms, but not implementation, what does this mean?

The Directorate is willing to fund the incremental cost of doing research on reforms, such as outreach, policy engagement, advising, and technical assistance, meaning that RISE country research teams are welcome to act as advisors or even play a role in reform or innovation design. But the RISE programme will not fund the core cost of project implementation, such as teacher salaries or bonuses, educational materials, educator training, school fees, school monitoring, etc.

See ToR p17

6. What if my organization has not managed a contract for £1 million or more? Is my organization still eligible?

No, lead organizations should have experience leading large-scale studies over £1 million, or studies of equivalent scale (e.g., staffing, beneficiaries, sample, etc.). However, if you do not have experience leading studies of this scale, we recommend you seek a partner to form a consortium. See questions #1 and #3 for details on matchmaking.

Also, note that the RISE Directorate will not accept proposals for under £3 million. An organization does not need to have led a £3 million project to bid, but the RISE bid must be for £3 million or above.

See ToR p10

7. Who is responsible in terms of oversight and quality assurance of country research teams?

Oversight and quality assurance will be provided by the Program Managers who are part of the RISE Directorate. Find out more about Who we are.

See ToR p8-9

8. Should outputs be expected by the 6 year end? Should the fieldwork have ended and been evaluated by the 6 year end?

The RISE Directorate expects that Country Research Teams will use the 6 years to study a reform and measure their results, leading to the preparation of analyses and publication of high-level analytical work. Given the time period publications need not have been published in journals by the end of that period, however the core of that work should have been completed by the end of the 6 years.

9. Should the budget have been spent by the 6 year end?

Yes.

10. Who do the CRTs ultimately report to?

OPM. The contract for country research is with OPM. Some OPM staff are members of the RISE Directorate.

See ToR p9

11. Who will the CRT contract be with?

The contracts for research will be held by OPM.

See ToR p9

12. What is the CRT relationship to DFID?

The research teams have no direct reporting or contractual relationship to DFID. The DFID Education Research Team will review deliverables and potentially observe research implementation, any feedback from DFID will be channeled through the RISE Directorate.

See ToR p9-10

13. What is the difference between key and non-key staff?

Key staff are individuals who will play important roles in the research team, with a focus on research and country-specific experience. Non-key staff are additional resource persons who do not play a major role but are included in the budget.

All key and non-key staff should be included in CRT budgets. The proposal requires that CVs of key staff are included in proposals (10 staff max). Non-key staff CVs are not included in proposals. It is permissible for bidders to include bios of non-key staff in an annex.

14. Is a budget outline required in the Expression of Interest?

No.

15. Are the EoI Criteria scored against all members listed in a consortium or against the consortium as a whole?

Consortia will be judged as a whole.

16. Is there an age limit on bidders of an EoI?

No, there is not.

17. Do we need to specify the roles of Country Research Team members in the EoI?

Bidders should include in their EoI the roles that each of named staff members will play. Bidders are required to name the team leader and lead researcher. (Bidders can assign roles/titles for the other up to eight staff members, but this is not required.)

  1. The team leader should have deep knowledge of the country and its education system, and at least ten years of experience leading research or project implementation projects. He or she should have a history of working with leaders of education reform, and be connected to the local education community.

  2. The lead researcher should be a nationally prominent or an internationally-recognized expert demonstrated through publications relevant to education in the country of study.

See ToR p21, Section 3.5.2

18. Is it possible to have PhD students work on this project?

Yes, it is.

19. Is there a budget for proposal development?

No, there is not.

20. Which organisation manages the funds awarded if a consortium is chosen?

One organisation has to manage all funds, that is to say each Country Research Team should have one system of fund management. If the consortium wishes to set up a bespoke organisation, that is fine. We will not disburse funds to more than one organization per award. Internal fund and risk management of the partners is the responsibility of the bidder.

21. Can the bid be divided between an organisation which will manage the fiduciary aspect of the bid and an organisation with a weaker fiduciary capacity but strong local knowledge?

If the local partner lacks fiduciary capacity, we could envisage an arrangement whereby administrative functions, such as financial planning and contract management is done through an office with higher fiduciary capacity. That is to say an arrangement where control of ideas and research strategy is local but control of money is international. However, this way of working would need careful explanation at bidding stage.

C.

Reform and methodology

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1. Does the RISE Directorate prefer that we study multiple reforms or a single reform?

Proposals that study multiple reforms or characteristics within a system that meet the RISE criteria listed below are welcome. That is, research teams can propose to study one reform or system element, or a package of reforms or system elements that may be related or unrelated, i.e., these can be linked or separate reforms. However, any reform proposed must include justification for how it is pivotal in improving learning.

See ToR p17

Proposed reforms or system characteristics need to:

  • Be appropriate to the context (meaning make sense for the students and other actors affected by the reform, e.g., a curriculum change that is tailored to the learning abilities of students rather than being under- or overambitious)
  • Be hypothesized to have the potential for success, i.e., improved learning, within the context of the larger system. Any discussion of a reform should consider what other system level changes need to take place for the reform to be successful and sustained. Well-intentioned reforms or policies implemented in a paralyzed system are unlikely to be successful unless fundamental system features are also addressed. For example, raising teacher pay across a system in an environment without concomitant improvements in teacher accountability or skills may be ineffective.
  • Have the support of those implementing them. This could be the government, NGOs, the private sector, etc.

2. Will the RISE programme focus on the study of currently implemented reforms (such as current government reforms) or new innovations and system reforms?

A priority of the RISE research will be to create a systems diagnostic by identifying the causes of positive effects on learning outcomes. This might be easier to do through a prospective study where there is more potential to monitor the causality of reform successes and failures. However, all applicants must make clear in their EoI that the new reform is going to actually happen, this is where an already implemented reform might be easier to identify. Below is a table from the video presentation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z02Jflm0ueQ&list=PLYYFN3UE-ZKGA39neDC4Wkvbfa3xkPi_T) which works as a guideline.

 

Retrospective

Ongoing

Prospective

Proximate determinants of learning (‘inputs’)

No

No

No

Components of systemic reforms

Yes

Yes

Yes (but must be highly likely)

Major systemic reforms

Yes

Yes

Yes (but must be highly likely)

 The RISE Directorate expects proposals to study system changes or reforms without inciting or financing system changes or reforms. Policy agenda’s in the chosen country should be taken as given. However RISE would be interested in proposals where policy reformers, such as ministries and governments or civil society initiatives, within that country are seeking technical assistance and input.

3. Given the multiple levels of complexity and facets of an education system, how large a systems diagnostic is the RISE Directorate expecting Country Research Teams to produce? What is the balance between asking clear research questions with clear methodologies and studying enough aspects of a system to create a system diagnostic?

The RISE Directorate expects research questions to be clearly defined but also well-framed to the context of a whole system reform.  The Directorate acknowledges that proposed research will likely have two facets; a minimalist view and a maximalist view.

  • Under the minimalist view we expect expects Country Research Teams to at least produce systems research which shows that some variables within an education system interact with other variables. For example, teacher pay increases alone do not affect education improvements, this is because teacher pay clearly interacts with other professional expectations and civil-service rules. Under this view the Directorate would like to at least have a model of the variables which need to be put in play when talking about a future teacher pay increase for example.
  • Under a maximalist view we expect Country Research Teams to produce a holistic model of all the accountability and reporting relationships of the entire system. The RISE Directorate is open to ambitious conceptualisations of how Country Research Teams would describe and research the system.

Exceptional proposals will navigate these two and be able to formulate clear researchable questions that are relevant and holistic enough to inform understanding of the education system as a whole. 

4. Will the RISE programme fund RCTs?

The RISE programme is not wedded to any kind of research methodology. If bidders propose studying a compelling reform (or reforms), system element or innovation, and an RCT is the most appropriate method for studying how such a reform affects learning, then the Directorate welcomes RCT proposals.  However, the Directorate does not only consider funding RCTs.

The key criteria for funding is not the type of methodology but if the methodology is appropriate to the interesting and relevant research questions.

See ToR p20-21

5. Do the RISE Directorate have a bias against experimental research designs limited to for example, a single city’s education system?

The RISE Directorate are open to funding experimental proposals but expect a diversity of approaches across research and methodology. Any reforms studied must be both scalable and implementable to the entire system level. Hence, unless the single city in question has significant autonomy, a single city would not offer reforms which fit the RISE criteria. The RISE Directorate aims to produce a systems diagnostic which can be used within the real world.

See ToR p13 all of section 3.3

6. Does the RISE programme aim to have an emphasis on capacity building?

RISE is primarily a research programme and not a capacity building programme. The main criteria for the RISE Directorate's selection will be the potential for world-class research.

7. Does RISE prefer to fund qualitative or quantitative research?

As mentioned in #19, the RISE program is not wedded to any kind of research methodology. RISE is looking for the highest quality research in a relevant discipline.

A key principle of the methodological approach supported by RISE is that research methods should be driven by the research question and tailored to the context. This means that RISE expects proposals to include a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches, as well as a variety of disciplines to be represented in the CRTs.

See ToR p20-21

8. How much should research teams anticipate and mitigate political/bureaucratic risk in their proposals?

For incipient reforms or those not yet underway, proposals should explain the conditions under which this reform will or won’t take place, and why the bidder thinks the reform or policy will be carried out. This should include the risks and limitations of the reform or innovation.

See ToR p19

9. In some countries it might be difficult to identify the initial reform which has caused a variation in learning outcomes across a country. How important is it to have identified a reform to study? Would it be possible to submit an EoI where a strong methodology to study learning outcome differentials had been developed but the reform was not clear yet?

All EoIs must have identified the reform(s) or system change(s) which they propose to study.

10. Would the RISE Directorate consider EoIs where the Country Research Team had developed a theoretical model and then proposed empirically validating the model within one of the RISE countries?

Yes, as long as the theoretical model involves a change at the system level and identifies the levers of change as well as policies that may affect them.  

11. What level of education will the RISE programme's research focus on?

The RISE initiative is primarily interested in reforms or system characteristics related to basic education (i.e., primary and secondary school). The reforms or system elements should meet the criteria that they are expected to impact learning meaningfully for a large portion of children/young adults, and are part of transformative systematic reform. An example of secondary education the RISE Directorate may be interested in would be the importance to a successful system reform of secondary level education for primary school teachers.

See ToR p18

12. Would the RISE Directorate be interested in research into private sector involvement in public sector schools?

Yes, as long as the research related to the education system of a country or sub-national region.

See ToR p15

13. What is the focus of the RISE programme's research?

The RISE programme seeks comprehensive, practical answers about how education systems innovate, improve learning outcomes, and better serve children and communities. Research questions under RISE centre around the capabilities of education systems to catalyse innovation and improvement. The ultimate goal of the RISE programme is to accelerate progress in learning for all children globally.

See ToR p4

14. What academic research support is available during the programme?

The ILT will provide intellectual guidance and advice to the research teams through the RISE Directorate, offering a diverse set of skills and perspectives to support and strengthen the programme’s knowledge base. More information can be found on the ILT and RISE directorate here.

15. Does the RISE Directorate have a theoretical framework in mind for developing a systems diagnostic?

The theoretical framework is currently in progress. Please check back on our Resources page.

16. Should the research questions be described in detail in the EoI?

More information about what to include in an EoI can be found in the EoI scoring criteria. Criteria 1 asks that bidders consider these four questions when writing their EoI:

  • System’s focus: Is/are the reform(s), innovation(s), or system element(s) that are the focus of the research at the system or sub-system level? Does the research focus have potential for learning about education systems?

  • Relevance: Do/does the bidder(s) make a compelling case for why the reform(s), innovation(s), or system element(s) will affect large-scale changes in learning for all? Does the bidder demonstrate recognition of potential constraints to the implementation of the reform?

  • Do/does the bidder(s) make clear what elements will lead to better performance in learning outcomes across subgroups such as gender, wealth, ethnicity, and rurality?

  • Ambition: Is the research focus ambitious enough in scope and scale? That is to say, does the research focus inform and generate change at the system level and examine how to improve learning outcomes for substantial proportions of national or state-level populations?

17. How does the RISE Directorate define a reform/ innovation/ system element?

See section 3.3.2 of the ToR for examples of potential system reforms which would be interesting from the RISE Directorate’s perspective.

See ToR p14

18. Does a reform have to be a large scale policy failure or success?

RISE is primarily interested in reforms which have potential to succeed. However, failures may also yield important insights. It is important that the Country Research Teams try to identify the causality of a failure or success. To identify the causality of a success or failure, the research should also identify any bottle necks found that caused a problem which meant the learning level went down. The causality and any bottlenecks should all feed into a better understanding of the education system and result in a system diagnostic.

19. Does the country reform justification have to outline government support of a reform or can the reform be at the level of civil society?

Either is acceptable. However it must be clearly shown in the EoI that the reform has a very high chance to be implemented, either by the government or by Civil Society.

20. When using an RCT a Country Research Team might choose to not include a certain group in the treatment group. How would the Country Research Team deal with these ethical issues?

All EoIs will have to pass an ethical review before proceeding through the review process. As for including RCTs, please read up on the scope of research we will fund. http://www.rise.ox.ac.uk/content/scope-and-focus-research-0

D.

Other

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1. How much dissemination and research uptake will be the responsibility of the RISE Directorate versus country research teams?

The RISE Directorate is responsible for comparative synthesis products across Country Research Teams, while Country Research Teams are expected to provide in country results dissemination. The RISE Directorate will consult with the Country Research Teams when developing cross-country results dissemination strategies. Country Research Teams are expected to share results with relevant communities (e.g., parents, educators, government, policy, private sector, NGOs) in a format that best resonates with the audience. The RISE Directorate will not impose standard dissemination tools across countries.  

See ToR p31-32

2. Do I need an invitation to attend any of the supplier meetings?

No, but you should check our Events page and register to attend a supplier engagement meeting if you are interested. Please also email the RISE contact listed on the event page confirming your interest in attending.

For bidders unable to attend these events, one RISE supplier engagement event has been taped. The video has been made available online.

3. The initial Country Research Teams will work for 6 years whereas the secondary Country Research Teams will be taken on later and so have less time for research. What is the difference in the workload of these Country Research Teams?

The amount of time spent on research by RISEs second group of Country Research Teams has been left open but will be specified by the time the second call is released. Both groups are expected to have the same scale of studies.

4. Where can I find Washington DC RISE launch event presentation slides?

Event presentation slides and background papers can be found here.

5. Where is the Expression of Interest form, criteria and guidelines?

Link to the Expression of Interest guidelines

Link to the Expression of Interest Scoring Criteria

The Expression of Interest form for online completion will be available from 1 August

6. When will more information about the Request for Proposals stage be made available?

Please check back to our RISE Information for Bidders page in July for more information on the Request for Proposals or sign up to our Mailing List.