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The Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) fellowship program managed by Cornell University in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and other partners announces a call for concept proposals from early-career African researchers seeking to become STAARS fellows in 2018.
The fellowship will cover travel and training. STAARS fellows will be paired with mentors at Cornell University with whom they will jointly author a paper on a topic of mutual interest relating to structural transformation in Africa south of the Sahara. PIM will support the publication of resulting research findings in high quality journals and as working papers. In addition, PIM and Cornell will facilitate fellows’ participation in scientific and policy conferences.
The STAARS project is a collaboration between Cornell University, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), and the World Bank. The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) established a collaboration agreement with Cornell University to provide technical mentorship and funding support for selected early-career African researchers.
The STAARS project builds on the predecessor Agriculture in Africa: Telling Myths and Facts project led by researchers at the World Bank and relies heavily on the data from the Living Standards Measurement Study Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) initiative. One of the STAARS objectives is to provide opportunities for African and Africa-based researchers to work with and alongside researchers at Cornell University. Read more about STAARS and its objectives here.
The STAARS Fellowship began in 2016 and to date has supported 14 fellows from diverse backgrounds.
Prospective STAARS fellows are invited to develop proposals in the following thematic areas:
- Dynamics of agriculture input use, technological change, and productivity growth in Africa south of the Sahara.
- Rural factor market performance, labor exits and productivity in Africa south of the Sahara.
- Food security, nutrition and health linkages in Africa south of the Sahara.
- Poverty dynamics and resilience against shocks in Africa south of the Sahara.
The call is open for early-career African researchers, either late stage Ph.D. students or those who completed their Ph.D. in 2013 or later. Researchers must be based and working in Africa, with priority given to proposals relating to the research themes indicated above. Qualified female researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. While a Ph.D. is not mandatory, STAARS encourages fresh Ph.D. graduates who can benefit from a mentorship and additional training. Fellows are expected to complete the proposed project by publishing findings as a working paper and submitting to a peer-reviewed journal by December 15, 2018.
The STAARS fellowship application process is managed by Cornell University, in collaboration with PIM. Applicants are required to prepare a maximum 2500 word (5 page) concept proposal, which motivates the selected research issues and objectives, outlines data sources, proposed methodology and contains a convincing plan for completing the project by December 15, 2018. All proposals shall be prepared in English. All proposals will be peer reviewed by experts from PIM and Cornell University.
The deadline to submit a concept proposal is March 15, 2018. Applicants should submit their completed proposal via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Accepted applicants will be notified in mid-April and are expected to begin remote collaboration with their mentor immediately upon acceptance.
Not covered under this call
The proposed research and capacity development is expected to be undertaken as part of an ongoing effort by the scholar; STAARS will not cover the scholar’s time allocated to this research. The program also cannot support costs for any new data collection. Researchers are expected to be familiar with existing panel data sets and have a strong working knowledge of Stata or other econometric software and an interest in econometric analysis of large panel data sets.
Template for preparation of concept proposal
- Completed 2018 STAARS Fellowship Applicant Information Form (PDF, Excel)
- Concept Proposal:
- Title of the proposed research
- Targeted country (countries)
- Introduction and motivation that includes 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, summarize any preliminary results
- Proposed timeline for the research
- Bibliographic references (not included in the 2500 words)
- CV of the applicant (not included in the 2500 words)