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Call for Proposals: Lessons Learned Case Studies

The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) project is soliciting proposals for the development of a series of exemplary Lessons Learned Case Studies as a part of Component 2 of the project (see www.meas-extension.org for more information about all components of the project).

To ensure the inclusion of the broadest possible range of cases a principle of “first come, first served” will be adopted as part of the selection and approval process proposals, such that accepted proposals will eliminate the need for additional case studies that address the same topic.  The list of in-progress and completed evaluations is posted at www.meas-extension.org/meas-offers/case-studies.

Overall, it is expected that authors will have significant personal involvement with the cases, directly or through their graduate students or projects, which they will draw upon in preparing the cases that they propose.  To the extent possible, the involvement of qualified advanced graduate students is strongly recommended.

There is no deadline for submission of proposals; proposals will be accepted and reviewed bi-monthly throughout the life of the project until all project funds for this activity are committed (see review dates below). 

Lessons Learned Case Studies

As one of the main “research” thrusts of the project, the development of a series of high-quality illustrative case studies will serve as an important vehicle in defining and communicating our vision of MEAS guiding principles.  The identification of evidenced-based examples of good practice will further support the assessment activities undertaken in Component 3, aiding in the development of a principle-based assessment framework, and will be reflected in the skill-sets targeted and examples used in the training modules developed under Component 1.

During the life of the project the focus will be on capturing the many important lessons learned through the EAS activities implemented by our consortium partners, and others.  Case studies of successful (or not) extension investments will be selected to help show what works (or doesn't) in addressing such critical issues, such as:  the means of achieving gender equity in extension programs (both in terms of staffing and targeting beneficiaries); the extent and limitations of private sector investments in EAS; ways of addressing sustainability in NGOs involvement in EAS provision; the application of ICTs in support of extension field programs; experiences in producer association development and market integration, among others.  Cases will be carefully selected to cover key EAS issues, drawn from across an optimal range of geographic locations, cultural and organizational contexts, degrees of market integration and other factors to which successful extension efforts must respond.  As our consortium becomes increasingly engaged in implementing pilot activities and associate awards interventions, it is anticipated that future case studies will become the means of reporting on our own successes.   

Case Study proposals must follow the general guidelines outlined below:

1.       Identify a topic critical to MEAS success (see list of indicative topics at http://www.meas-extension.org/home/case-studies).

2.       Present a clearly written, 2-page (max.) statement summarizing the history of the case, the proposer’s  involvement, what lesson(s) the case illustrates, the importance to MEAS in guiding future MEAS efforts;

3.       Include a detailed one-page budget, indicating levels and sources of all cost sharing;

4.       Identify the proposed period of any field work to be conducted, and the final delivery date of the completed case study;

5.       Proposal must be submitted in MS Word format, using one inch margins and 12 pt type.

 

The completed Case Study report will:

1.       Be included as a stand-alone document in a series of MEAS Case Study publications;

2.       Typically be 10-12 pages in length, single-spaced;

3.       Include diagrams, tables, graphs and photos necessary to illustrate points included in the case;

4.       Include acknowledgement and references of all resources used in preparing the case.

 

Funding

The funding for the development of case studies will be managed through a competitive grants process, overseen by the MEAS Project Management Unit (PMU).  Applicants are encouraged to make full use of in-country research associates, project personnel, advanced graduate students and local consultants as a means of reducing costs of case study development, as well as cost-sharing available through other funded activities.  The compensation for level of effort (LOE) will be determined through USAID daily rate approval procedures.  Other norms of USAID budget preparation (e.g., per diem rates, airfare calculations, etc.) must be followed.   An upper limit for case study proposals is set at $25,000 total, inclusive of institutional overheads.  The requested level of budgetary support will be included in the review and selection process.

Unless otherwise indicated, funding for the development of selected case studies will be made through a personal services contract with Michigan State University.

MEAS obtains the right to use and distribute all case studies reports developed under the project.  No royalty payments will be made to authors since the material created will be made available for free to the clients and stakeholders in MEAS worldwide.

 

Proposal Review Process

All lessons learned case study proposals will be reviewed by the MEAS PMU.  As needed, external reviewers may be contacted to assist with the review process.  The review process will consider the following:

1)      the relevance and importance of the proposed case in capturing a key feature of lessons learned in MEAS practice;

2)      the depth and strength of the proposed case in illustrating the proposed topic;

3)      the level of budgetary support requested.  While not formally required, those proposals that include full or partial cost-sharing using MEAS sub-award resources, or those from other funding sources, will be favored all things being equal.  The level of financial support and cost-sharing are considered in order to “stretch” the available resources as far as possible, but is of less importance than the substance and quality of the cases proposed.  In the review processes efforts will also be made to strike a balance in terms of geographical distribution of the case studies, the types of organizations featured (public, for profit, non-profit, and member organizations), as well as the topical areas covered.

The decision of the PMU in selecting case study proposals is final.  In some instances, authors may be asked to revise a proposal for re-submission.  The final case study will also be reviewed for acceptance by the PMU before invoicing is approved.

At the time of acceptance of a proposal, a delivery date will be agreed upon by the author(s) and the MEAS PMU.  The reimbursement of case study expenditures will be approved upon acceptance of the completed work by the agreed delivery date.

 

Review Dates

Lessons learned case study proposals will be accepted as submitted and will be reviewed by the MEAS PMU on the following dates:

September 6, 2011*

November 1, 2011

January 3, 2012

March 6, 2012

May 1, 2012

*Proposals for case studies to be included in the Year 2 work plan will need to be submitted by 31 August, 2011.

 

Submission of Proposals

All lessons learned case study proposals must be submitted electronically in MS Word format (not as pdf) to Dr. Brent Simpson at bsimpson@msu.edu.  Questions may be submitted to Dr. Simpson by email or telephone (517) 432-0963.

 

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