Middle East Centre Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme

Internal Call for Proposals

The Middle East Centre invites applications for academic collaborative research projects in social, political, and economic sciences between researchers at LSE and at Arab Universities. These projects may involve collaborative research or capacity building.

Aims of the Programme

  • To promote high calibre research by scholars at LSE and Arab universities;
  • To support academic excellence at Arab universities;
  • To strengthen long-term academic collaboration and knowledge transfer between LSE and Arab universities.

Eligibility and Procedure

  • Projects must involve topics covered by the social, political or economic science disciplines and must also contribute to Middle East studies. Proposals involving multi-disciplinary teams are welcome.
  • Projects must involve a Principal Investigator (PI) from the London School of Economics and a Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) from at least one Arab university.
  • LSE PIs must be members of academic staff, research fellows, research officers, resident visiting professors or resident visiting fellows who hold a PhD and whose employment or fellowship at LSE runs for the duration of the proposed project.
  • Co-PIs must be permanent members of academic staff at their host university who hold a PhD and are employed by their university in teaching or research positions.
  • PIs and Co-PIs who have previously been awarded funding through the programme cannot reapply in the same academic year that the previous project finished.
  • Applications are limited to one application per person per year.
  • In the event of reapplication (following an academic year’s gap), preference will be given to new applications, and the success of the former project will be taken into consideration.
  • An Arab university is defined as a university which is based in a member state of the Arab League. Universities that are subsidiaries, branches or departments of non-Arab League member state universities are ineligible as hosts for Co-PIs.
  • Other universities and organisations as well as individuals employed by other universities and organisations may be involved as sub-partners engaged under the direction of the project leaders. Projects may involve more than one university.
  • At least two awards will be reserved for projects which involve collaboration with universities in the United Arab Emirates. UAE universities that are subsidiaries, branches or departments of non-UAE universities are ineligible. 
  • Eligible project expenses are salaries, conference attendance and organisation, travel, publications, research assistance, administration, consultancy fees, translation, and small equipment and consumables.
  • Salary costs are eligible for LSE PIs who are not full members of faculty and for consultants and research assistants. If salary costs are requested, these should be restricted to a small proportion of the total budget. PI salary costs may amount to no more than 40% of the total budget. 
  • Ineligible expenses are Co-PI salaries, physical infrastructure, rent, permanent resources and large equipment.
  • MEC administration costs will be added to each budget. 
  • An overhead of 10% of LSE costs will be added to the LSE's share of each budget. 
  • Partner institutions may claim an overhead of up to 10% of the costs of their share of the budget.

Level of Award

  • Individual projects may have a total budget of up to £120,000.
  • Projects should run for a minimum of 12 months and maximum of 36 months.
  • There is no minimum budget for projects.

Selection Process

Proposals will be considered according to the following criteria:

  • Originality, significance, rigour and impact of the research or capacity building activity;
  • Extent to which the proposal fits with MEC research activities; 
  • The contribution made towards academic excellence at Arab universities and towards strengthening cooperation between LSE and Arab universities; 
  • Evidence that the individuals and institutions involved have the capacity to execute the proposal and deliver on stated outcomes;
  • Value for money.

The first criterion is worth 35% of available points, the second 20% and the other three 15% each. 

Award of Funds

Proposals selected by the committee will be awarded funds subject to the School’s Research Ethics Policy. The awards will be announced in March 2019 with funding available from August 2019.

The Middle East Centre will host and administer all awards, with oversight provided by LSE’s Research Division. Funding will be managed by the Middle East Centre with the exception of transfers to Arab partners as agreed. LSE PIs and Research Assistants will be affiliated to the Middle East Centre for the duration of the award.

Application Process

Stage One – Expression of interest

Applicants should submit an expression of interest outlining the project in no more than 500 words. This allows the Centre to ensure proposals fit with the programme criteria and goals before full applications are made.

Deadline: 23 November 2018, 17:00 GMT

Stage Two – First draft of application

If the application fits with the programme criteria and goals, a full first draft of the application, of no more than 4,000 words, should be submitted. The Centre is happy to offer advice and assistance to applicants during the preparation of full applications.

Deadline: 11 January 2019, 17:00 GMT

Stage Three – Final submission of application

Following the submission of the full first draft, the MEC and LSE Research Division will then ensure the full applications meet the eligibility criteria and will assist with finalising budgets before the final submission of applications.

Deadline: 22 February 2019, 17:00 GMT

Final Submission of Application

Proposals are invited for projects which would commence between 1 August and 31 December 2019. These should be submitted electronically in Word format to Sandra Sfeir (s.sfeir@lse.ac.uk).

Proposals should be submitted jointly by the LSE PI and the Arab university Co-PI. Please complete a proposal in Word format of no more than 4,000 words. Proposals should address the five evaluation criteria laid out in the Selection Process section and should be structured under the following subheadings:


  1. Cover Page: project title, name of partner university, names and affiliation of PIs, project start and end dates, total budget figure.
  2. Context and Aims of the Project (including literature review if relevant).
  3. Methodology.
  4. Activities and Outcomes (including a clear timeline).
  5. Impact.
  6. Personnel (including brief biographies and expected roles within the project).
  7. Research Ethics (consideration should be given to the LSE Research Ethics Policy).
  8. Annex 1: Budget. Please complete the Excel budget template provided.

Proposals must include a letter confirming that the Arab university partner institution supports the application. This should be signed by a person with authority to confirm institutional approval.

For submissions and all enquiries, please contact Sandra Sfeir, Projects Coordinator, at s.sfeir@lse.ac.uk and +44 (0)20 7955 6198.