The deadline to submit a research proposal is January 19, 2024 at 11:59 PM New York time.
The STAARS program spans 15 months from the date of expected selection to the delivery of final outputs by the STAARS fellow. Selected STAARS fellows are matched with at least one main mentor who is faculty, senior research staff, or an affiliate researcher at Cornell, the World Bank, or PEP and who shares an interest in the proposed topic, as well as with a (more junior) peer mentor. Upon selection, mentorship and collaboration begin immediately with a series of launch workshops involving the fellows, mentors and STAARS leadership occurring during the first several weeks of the fellowship period. A period of regular remote collaboration follows, with weekly or biweekly virtual meetings. During this period, training workshops are held at relevant points in the team’s research process. Training workshops are designed to assist in fellows’ professional development and supplement their skills. Topics may include but are not limited to coding and data management skills; reproducible research processes; technical writing; presentation skills; time management; grant writing; navigating peer review; research ethics; and policy engagement planning. In September 2024, the STAARS fellows spend 3-weeks visiting their mentors at the mentor’s institution, during which the STAARS fellows work intensively on the research project, participate in feedback workshops, hold a public seminar, and participate in network-building activities.
The call is open to early career researchers, either Ph.D. students in their final year before degree completion or preferably those who completed their Ph.D. no earlier than 2018. Priority is given to researchers who have earned at least one degree from an African university, plan to work professionally in low- and lower-middle-income countries, and have proposals relating to the research themes indicated above. Qualified female researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. STAARS welcomes applications from fresh Ph.D. graduates who can benefit from mentorship and additional training to become internationally respected and recognized researchers. Fellows are expected to complete the proposed project by submitting findings as a draft working paper by December 13, 2024, and proceeding to submit the paper to a peer-reviewed journal and/or conferences by June 30, 2025.
Researchers are expected to be familiar with and have demonstrated access to existing data sets and have a strong working knowledge of appropriate software, typically Stata and/or R, and an interest in econometric analysis of high-quality data sets. Knowledge of geo-referenced data and GIS software to manage them is an asset. Knowledge of Stata and/or R will be assessed at the finalist stage.
The selected applicants will receive funds to cover travel and participation in a three-week mentorship program at Cornell University or the World Bank (based on mentorship). The remainder of the research coordination and professional development training will be conducted virtually. Fellows are expected to commit significant time to the proposed research and capacity development activities. A modest honorarium will be provided to each Fellow. No salary support is available; STAARS will not cover the scholar’s time allocated to this research. A letter of support from the candidate’s current advisor/supervisor/or manager is required, explicitly indicating that adequate work time will be made available for full participation in the program if selected. The program cannot support costs for any new data collection.
The STAARS Fellowship application process is managed by Cornell University, in collaboration with the World Bank and PEP. All proposals will be peer-reviewed by experts from Cornell, the World Bank, and/or PEP.
The deadline to submit a research proposal is January 19, 2024 at 11:59 PM New York time. Applicants should submit their completed proposals via the STAARS online application link. A worksheet that outlines the questions and can be used to collect answers before submitting them online can be found here. Accepted applicants will be notified by mid-March 2024 and are expected to begin remote collaboration with their mentor and be prepared to join launch activities immediately upon acceptance. Any questions about the application process or program should be directed to email@example.com.
Research Proposal Template
Within the online application, please complete the applicant information and research sections. At the end of the application form please attach, as a ZIP folder or merged PDF, the following materials:
- Research Proposal (2500 words max.):
- Title of the proposed research
- Targeted country(-ies)
- Introduction and motivation that includes a clear statement of research objectives and hypotheses
- Description of data source(s) and any prior experience working with the proposed data
- Proposed methodology
- If applicable, a summary of any preliminary results
- Proposed timeline for the research
- Bibliographic references (not included in the 2500 words)
- CV of the applicant
- If proposing to use data that are not publicly available, a letter or other documentation from the data steward(s) indicating that the applicant will have access to the data to use in the proposed project
- Letter of support from the applicant’s current supervisor, clearly indicating that the applicant will be granted time to work on this project if selected
- Photocopy of the passport biodata page and, if applicable, any current US visa
Applicants should submit their completed proposals via the STAARS online application link.