The Cross-border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) welcomes research proposals that examine the intersectionality between women and girls and other identity markers, such as youth, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, and religion.
Research proposals are expected to integrate gender considerations into the entire research cycle – from research design through data collection, analysis, and evidence uptake.
The UK aid-funded Cross-border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research programme examines how violent conflicts connect across borders. XCEPT views conflicts as complex systems that connect across borders and ensnare conflict actors and communities, intertwining the licit and illicit, the formal and informal.
Building on the UK Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan 2023-2027, XCEPT has a particular interest in research on women and girls that can contribute to the following issues:
- Women’s meaningful participation, leadership and representation in decisionmaking processes in efforts to prevent, reduce and resolve conflict;
- Preventing, reducing, or responding to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in crossborder conflict environments;
- The role of women and girls in systems and structures that design, implement, monitor, and evaluate lifesaving humanitarian responses in cross-border conflict environments;
- The extent to which security actors, institutions and systems are accountable to women and girls and responsive to their rights and needs in cross-border conflict environments;
- How gender can drive and exacerbate transnational threats such as terrorism and violent extremism, climate insecurity, weapons proliferation, and cybersecurity threats, and the gendered impacts of interventions designed to tackle these threats.
Scope of work
- This funding opportunity seeks research that examines how the transnational dimensions of conflict interact with issues related to women and girls. Applicants are invited to come up with a research question(s) and proposal that responds to the information provided in this document. Both individual researchers and research organisations can apply
- Applicants can respond to these themes or come up with their own.
- Women and girls and the transnational dimensions of conflict
- How women and girls are affected by the transnational dimensions of conflict.
- The role of women as active participants in violent conflicts and the transnational networks that fuel them.
- How gender norms shift as a result of – or in response to – conflict and conflict drivers.
- The impact of border securitisation on women and girls.
- The effects of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), including conflict-related sexual violence, as either a consequence of or driver of conflict.
- Inclusion-focused policy and programming
- The link between the international Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the transnational dimensions of conflict. The successes and challenges of the WPS agenda in contexts where conflict plays out in border areas.
- How gender plays into the challenges faced by migrant communities or host communities affected by violent conflict, and interventions aimed at supporting these groups.
- Conflict resolution and peacebuilding
- The ways in which conflict response efforts can actively contend with the interaction between conflict and issues related to women and girls.
- The ways in which women and girls are included or excluded from cross-border conflict resolution mechanisms.
- The ability of conflict-affected communities in border areas, or those who have migrated across borders, to access peacebuilding dialogues, and how those who shape dialogues can work toward inclusion of excluded communities.
- The impact of regional conflict resolution interventions on women and girls.
- They expect to make awards between £10,000 and £35,000. The amount awarded will be commensurate with the proposed research, taking into account cost drivers such as travel, field data collection, use of innovative technologies, etc.
- The main research output will be a manuscript prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. As appropriate, XCEPT also will consider proposals for peer-reviewed research reports geared to a policy and expert audience, for publication by the XCEPT programme. All projects should include policy-focused outputs, such as summary briefing notes and presentations to policy audiences. They should also include outputs geared for a wider public audience, such as commentaries, blogs, podcasts or videos.
- Successful applicants will, at a minimum, carry out the activities/deliverables listed. Applicants may propose additional outputs as part of their proposal.
- Participate in a kick-off meeting with the XCEPT programme team, and other parties as relevant, to discuss the research approach, ways of working, reporting requirements, and other items relevant to the project.
- Conduct rigorous research: This should include, as appropriate: rigorous research, adaptation of methodology as needed, and analysis and assessment of implications as research progresses.
- Produce a manuscript (5,000-7,000 words) which draws together research findings in response to the research question(s).
- Produce a briefing note (maximum 3,000 words) for policy audiences that summarises the findings of the research and offers considerations for policy and programming. XCEPT will support peer review, editing, and typesetting of the briefing note.
- Contribute to XCEPT policy and public uptake of research through briefings to policymakers, participation in panel discussion events, and/or publication of short articles or a podcast to accompany the dissemination of the report. XCEPT will support authors in research uptake.
- The expectations are that projects funded under this funding opportunity will:
- undertake novel research;
- use rigorous and robust research methodologies, including adherence to internationally recognised ethical standards;
- achieve policy impact and public benefit.
- They are interested in a range of different methodological approaches, from desk-based reviews of evidence to analysis based on primary data collection, and any combination thereof that is appropriate to the research question. Likewise, they welcome approaches that explore single case studies or compare across multiple cases. Researchers are encouraged, though not required, to consider the potential benefits of leveraging big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance their research.
- XCEPT has in-house capacity to conduct research using satellite imagery and open-source investigations. Applicants are encouraged, though not required, to consider how these technologies could be integrated into their research, but do not need to consider budgeting for this service as it is funded separately.
- This research is intended to inform policy and programme officials at the national, regional and international levels, but the research should also benefit the wider public good.
- The research proposed should focus on the roles that women and girls play in crossborder conflict systems, and the prevention, stabilisation, and resolution of conflict. There is particular interest in research that examines relevant policy or programme intervention(s), whether at the multilateral, regional, bilateral, national or local levels.
- The research should focus on geographies relevant to XCEPT. These are: Africa, particularly West Africa, Sahel, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa; Middle East; Asia, particularly Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar; Ukraine and its bordering countries; and the Western Balkans. The research may focus on one geography or multiple geographies.
- The research proposed must demonstrate a clear link to both violent conflict, addressing its transnational dimensions, and to women and girls. For example, the research may examine a particular intervention focused on preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), or tackling organised crime, or improving governance, or increasing stability, and so on. Whatever the case, the link to violent conflict and its transnational dimensions should be clearly described in the proposal, as should the link to issues related to women and girls.
- This funding opportunity is aimed at both individual researchers and/or research organisations or institutions.
- Researchers and research organisations based in or from countries in the Global South are strongly encouraged to apply, independently or in partnership / collaboration with researchers or research organisations based in the Global North. Applications by – or in partnership with – Global South researchers or research organisations will be scored more favourably.
- Individual applicants should be advanced practitioners, subject matter experts or academics engaged in research, policy or programme activities. Applicants will usually hold a PhD, but other equivalent academic or professional qualifications will also be considered – for example, they encourage applications from former policymakers with several years of experience working on these issues.
- Any research organisation or institution applying for funding must be an organisation incorporated or legally organised under the laws of its place of business and must have the proper licenses or registration or be able to obtain the necessary approvals to deliver the services required.
- XCEPT encourages collaborative research. Proposals should consider whether the research would be strengthened through the participation of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds, or through partnerships between academics and policy professionals.
For more information, visit XCEPT.