Request for Research Proposals for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Research Awards

Organisation:  Water for Women

Apply By:  20 Dec . 2018

Request for Research Proposals for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Research Awards

Background and Introduction

Research is a key pathway for development innovation and to inform policy-making and program delivery. Investments in research facilitate access to diverse partnerships and networks, contributing to Australia's aid policy and wider diplomatic engagement in partner countries. Providing access to high-quality research and analysis that addresses key water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector gaps assists partner governments, private sector and civil society to improve access to these essential services.

The WASH Research Awards is a $10.6 million Research Component associated with the wider Water for Women Fund (Fund), which supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to implement gender and socially inclusive WASH projects in Asia and the Pacific. It will provide funds for high-quality, policy-relevant research that is available, accessible and communicated to the policy development and program design community in Australia, Asia and the Pacific and the global WASH sector. Research undertaken through this Research Component will focus on key sector research gaps and on knowledge gaps associated with CSO implementation towards the outcomes of the Water for Women Fund. All research processes will be expected to be gender and socially inclusive. The geographic scope of the Research Component will be the Asia and Pacific region, specifically the three sub regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific where Water for Women projects are being implemented.


The WASH Research Awards aim to contribute to the goal of 'Improved health, gender equality and socially well-being of Asian and Pacific communities through inclusive, sustainable WASH in Asian and Pacific countries WASH'. The Awards will support that goal by contributing to the Water for Women's fourth end-of-program outcome:

  • Strengthened use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable gender and inclusive WASH by other CSOs, national and international WASH sector actors. This key outcome in turn will be supported by the Fund’s intermediate outcome of
  • Documentation and sharing of gender and socially inclusive evidence and effective practices with other CSOs, national and international sector actors.

The three key strategies that will support these outcomes include:

  • Quality research engagement, partnerships and networks.
  • Quality research capacity building.
  • Quality research management, processes and outputs.
  • ·

Priority themes and proposal types

The WASH Research Awards will award funding for research under the following five priority themes (examples are indicative only):

  • Gender and social inclusion and WASH (for example, including areas of intersection such as menstrual hygiene, women’s leadership or women’s economic empowerment in relation to WASH, violence and safety and WASH, disability and WASH, maternal health and health facilities or a wide range of other topics).
  • Safely managed water and safely managed sanitation and hygiene (both urban and rural contexts) (for example, including beyond Open Defecation Free (ODF), progression to safely managed, innovations in technology and process to achieve safe standards, effectiveness of and innovation in hygiene behaviour approaches etc.).
  • Achieving SDG6 – integration of water resources management (WRM) and WASH, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and WASH, climate change adaptation (CCA) and WASH, water security (for example, including vulnerability and resilience, water scarcity, water allocation and decision-making, risk-based approaches, climate preparedness etc.).
  • Strengthening sector systems (for example, planning, monitoring, governance, coordination, financing, service delivery models, sustainability outcomes including through longitudinal research, political economy, government, private sector and community roles at national and subnational levels).
  • Cross-sectoral WASH and its impacts: particularly health, nutrition, food security and education (for example, health and non-health impacts of WASH, links and synergies between WASH and nutrition, links between menstrual hygiene and school absenteeism etc.).

Two types of proposals are being sought under the Water for Women Fund:

  • WASH sector research addressing key knowledge gaps (Type 1 Award).
  • Research closely linked to CSO implementation and outcomes of the Water for Women Fund (Type 2 Award).

Organisation eligibility

Applications must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applications must be submitted by research organisations or institutions (and not by individual researchers).
  • The Principal Investigator must nominate an organisation with which s/he is affiliated to administer the grant and provide support.
  • The Funding Round is open to all Australian and international not-for-profit institutions or organisations where research is a core component of the organisation’s mandate and where the organisation has demonstrated capacity to carry out quality research and manage grant funds according to Australian Government policies
  • The administering organisation must have access to a recognised Ethics Approval process.
  • Project teams, administering organisations and partners funded by DFAT through the Water for Women Fund Coordinator must demonstrate that they are ethically sound and, where applicable, seek ethics approval from their nominated administering organisation. Ethics approval requirements in the research project target location (country/countries) must be taken into consideration and met.
  • Demonstrated alignment with one or more of the five priority themes and specific knowledge gaps

Proposal eligibility

In order to be eligible your proposal must:

  • Be completed in accordance with the ‘Invitation to Submit an Activity Proposal’ (Appendix A).
  • The WASH Research Awards will fund research that has investigation as its main objective and that has observable outcomes relevant to the Australian aid program and partner countries. The WASH Research Awards does not fund bio-medical research, product development or organisational linkages (except as they relate to capacity building).
  • These Awards do not provide funding specifically for the sole purpose of hosting, organising or attending conferences or workshops; producing research publications; consultancy fees for projects that do not meet the definition of research; or specifically for travel to conferences/workshops and/or meetings.
  • These Awards will not provide financial support for the conduct of individual researchers’ masters or doctoral projects. However, if an organisation’s proposed research project is eligible for support, then any nominated masters or doctoral research that convincingly forms an integral part of the proposed research project may be included.


Applicants may apply for between AUD 100,000 and AUD 400,000 per year of Australian Government funding for up to 2 years at differentiated levels of funding over the course of the research project. Grants will be paid in annual tranches subject to ongoing annual monitoring of the project and acceptance of Progress Reports (templates provided in Appendix E). While proposals of up to two years in duration will be accepted, the length of time must be justified by the nature of the research project

WASH Research Awards grants cover the following eligible costs:

  • the direct costs of research (researcher salary, fieldwork costs, travel, insurance)
  • communication and engagement.
  • capacity building activities

The deadline for submission of proposals is 17:00 (Canberra time), 20 December 2018.

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