The No Wasted Lives Coalition is investing in cutting edge ideas to drive forward global learning and action on acute malnutrition. As part of this effort, No Wasted Lives and the Council of Research & Technical Advice (CORTASAM) are pleased to announce the launch of a global Research Agenda for Acute Malnutrition and a call for Expressions of Interest from organisations working in research and programming for acute malnutrition and who want to support this effort. Our aim is to support coordination and concrete action across the sector, filling critical gaps and scaling-up evidence-based prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition.
Prioritising Research for Impact
The Council for Research and Technical Advice on Acute Malnutrition (CORTASAM) was assembled under No Wasted Lives with the goal to drive the use of evidence for action, in order to ultimately reach more children with effective treatment and prevention programmes.
Over the course of 2017, CORTASAM and No Wasted Lives launched a research prioritisation exercise, with the involvement and contribution of over 300 individuals from national governments, NGOs, academia, UN agencies and technical experts from around the world. In line with the priority research areas identified and a review of the existing evidence, CORTASAM has identified the following research areas with high potential impact on the effective management of acute malnutrition at scale but where further research and evidence generation is critically needed in order to achieve this:
- Effective approaches to detect, diagnose, and treat acute malnutrition in the community: taking community detection using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) to scale while building the evidence on diagnosis and treatment of acute malnutrition in the community across contexts and health platforms.
- Appropriate entry and discharge criteria for treatment of acute malnutrition to ensure optimum outcomes: building the evidence base on expanded MUAC thresholds for treatment to improve treatment outcomes for all children with acute malnutrition. Also needed is research to explore different options to identify high-risk children not selected by MUAC<115mm and analysis on the impact on burden estimates and operational feasibility, including supply and supply chain.
- Optimum dosage of ready-to-use food (RUF) for treatment of acute malnutrition: investigating the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of reduced dosage of RUF for treatment of acute malnutrition.
- Effective treatment of diarrhoea in children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM): using evidence to streamline guidance and generating implementation research to understand how the operational application of guidelines can inform improved practice and better treatment outcomes.
- Rates and causal factors of post-treatment relapse across contexts: understanding the burden of relapse post-treatment and, if found to be high, effective solutions to reduce relapse across contexts.
- Identification and management of at-risk mothers and of infants <6 months of age: generating the evidence required to influence country-level policies and implementation at scale.
- Alternative formulations for ready-to-use foods for acute malnutrition: continuation of the large amount of ongoing research to investigate the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of formulas using alternative and local ingredient.
More details about the evidence gaps and CORTASAM's call for more research can be found in the Research Agenda. Download it below.
Call for Expressions of Interest
The actions we drive today, including the generation and use of new evidence to inform programmes and policies, will yield benefits far beyond their immediate targets. Coordinated action is urgently needed; we cannot do this alone. No Wasted Lives and CORTASAM are currently seeking Expressions of Interest from organisations wishing to contribute to strengthening the evidence-base in these selected research areas. Our aim is to identify high-quality research that can be linked with funding opportunities through the No Wasted Lives Donor Forum, a group of donors interested in funding research against this Agenda.
Criteria: Expressions of Interest are not intended to be full proposals so should focus on summary information to assess strategic fit and technical competence. Applications should be no longer than three pages and should provide the information and adhere to the criteria listed in the Application Guidance.
Deadline: All Expressions of Interest should be submitted to Amy Mayberry, Head of Evidence for No Wasted Lives, at firstname.lastname@example.org by than February 16th 2018.
Enquiries: Questions can be sent to email@example.com by February 9th. All questions will be compiled into a FAQ and made publicly available on this page.
Expressions of Interest Frequently Asked Questions
How much funding is available?
We will have a pool of funding available for immediate use from March 2018. Our aim is to use this more flexible funding as soon as possible to begin moving forward with full proposal development and implementation for a first set of priority projects. As we expect a high volume of Expressions of Interest, there is no guarantee that all submissions will receive funding.
In parallel, we are working with our Donor Forum to actively raise additional funds and identify existing opportunities where Expressions of Interest not funded by the immediately available funds can be channelled. This group of donors may have more formal requirements and approval mechanisms for funding, so are expected to take longer to approve funding for specific projects.
Is there a minimum or maximum budget per project?
There is no minimum or maximum budget per Expression of Interest. Each EoI should propose a budget that demonstrates value for money and would support the full activities required to successfully answer the identified research questions. We expect that the cost will have a wide range from smaller literature reviews to multi-country effectiveness and implementation studies. Please note that there is an overhead limit of 10% in line with our donor requirements.
What are the timeline limits for research activities and use of funds?
There are no limits to the timelines for activities or funding and this will depend on specific requirements of the various donors. However, all proposed research should aim to generate, at minimum, preliminary findings by 2020.
How many Expressions of Interest will receive funding?
As we expect a high volume of Expressions of Interest, there is no guarantee that all will receive funding. EOIs will be reviewed by CORTASAM for technical quality and overall strategic fit. Shortlisted EoIs will be shared with the Donor Forum to allocate funding to priority projects.
What are the timelines for projects and funding?
- February 16th: Deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest
- Early March: Expressions of interest will be reviewed by CORTASAM for quality and overall strategic fit. This will produce a shortlist of Expressions of Interest that been approved by CORTASAM. We will contact all EoIs that have been shortlisted with more details on next steps.
- From March onwards: for shortlisted EoIs:
- Proposal Development: For shortlisted EoIs where immediate funding has been identified, the NWL Secretariat will work with the research team to develop a more detailed project proposal and budget. This will be reviewed and signed off by CORTASAM and the donors in April/May before proceeding with funding and implementation. These timelines will depend on the capacity of your team to develop this proposal and begin activities.
- Donor-specific discussions: For shortlisted EoIs where immediate funding is not available but opportunities with specific donors have been identified, the NWL Secretariat will support a discussion with the donor on further proposal development and submission for funding. These donors will likely have specific criteria that will need to be incorporated into a more detailed proposal in order to make a funding decision. These timelines will depend on the capacity of your team to develop this proposal and begin activities.
Does the seventh priority area also apply to this call for EOIs?
‘Alternative formulations for ready-to-use foods for acute malnutrition’ is a priority research area and one where CORTASAM and No Wasted Lives feel there is a significant potential for impact over the next few years. However, given the large amount of recently completed and currently ongoing research on this topic, the Council felt that there was not a strong need to call for new additional research. Instead, the focus for this area is to promote the ongoing research on this subject and support uptake of new evidence to support national and global level discussions on scale-up of proven, effective formulas.
Can Expressions of Interest be submitted by a group or coalition of partners?
Yes, we welcome collaborative Expressions of Interest.
What types of organisations can submit an Expression of Interest?
We are open organisations of any type. Private sector, academia, and non-profit implementation and research organisations are all welcome to submit an Expression of Interest. Please note that any potential conflicts of interest will be reviewed by CORTASAM
Is it possible for an individual to submit an Expression of Interest?
There are some activities outlined in the Research Agenda that are feasible to implement as an individual, including literature reviews and analysis of existing data. We would welcome Expressions of Interest from individuals for these areas of work. If you would like to submit an Expression of Interest for a larger piece of research, such as a study, we would ask that you outline potential partners who you would need to collaborate with in order to conduct the research activities in the field.
Can a single organisation or individual submit multiple Expressions of Interest?
Individuals/organisations are welcome to submit multiple Expressions of Interest for different research activities across the Research Agenda. There is no guarantee that all EOIs submitted will be shortlisted or funded, one EOI could get funding and the other one may not if they are submitted separately.
Is it possible to submit different proposals, with different research questions?
Yes. In some cases, you may be able to answer multiple related research questions in one research project so you could submit one Expression of Interest. In other cases, if you feel it is best to split into multiple proposals that is fine. There is no guarantee that all Expressions of Interest submitted will be shortlisted or funded, one Expression of Interest could get funding and the other one may not if they are submitted separately.
Which regions/countries are being funded/are preferred?
Expressions of Interest will need to propose activities in geographies where there is a significant burden of acute malnutrition and where research activities are feasible.
Is it possible to submit a single Expression of Interest that includes multiple countries?
Yes, this is welcome if multiple countries are important to answer the research question.
What format and how many pages should the proposal and attachments be?
Expressions of Interest are not intended to be full proposals so should focus on summary information to assess strategic fit and technical competence. Applications can be in any format but should be no longer than three pages and should provide the information outlined on the website. Please do not submit annexes or supplementary attachments at this time.
Do you have another query? Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 9th. All questions and answers are made publicly available on this page.