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Applying for funding

What financial support does IDRC offer to international development researchers?

IDRC offers grants, funding, and awards to researchers and institutions to find solutions for global development challenges.

There are two basic types of grants: competitive grants and institutional grants.

Competitive grants

IDRC launches competitive calls for proposals to fund research that is intended to achieve specific results in international development research, e.g. reducing crop losses or improving climate change adaptability.

Successful research proposals must:

  • align strategically with the objectives of the call;
  • present appropriate technical designs;
  • complement existing programs; and
  • respond to operational requirements and other considerations specific to each call.

For information on current calls, please consult the list of “Open calls” on IDRC’s website under Funding.

Category of funding

Solicited grants

The vast majority of funding that IDRC provides is through solicited calls for proposals. Many institutions work directly with IDRC to develop their proposal. For the details and requirements specific to a call, please check the current list of open calls. In addition to these requirements, institutions must also ensure that all application requirements are provided to the Centre.

Unsolicited grants

IDRC rarely funds unsolicited proposals. If you are interested in submitting an unsolicited proposal, it is best to approach a member of the relevant IDRC Program Division Team to discuss your idea first. Furthermore, submitting an unsolicited proposal does not guarantee that it will be assessed. It must meet minimum requirements and propose relevant programming in order to be reviewed. Applicants may submit a preliminary proposal to IDRC for eligibility screening. Following the pre-screening stage, the applicant may be invited to submit a full proposal. 

Types of grants

Contributory grants

Typically these grants are awarded only to institutions and on the condition that the grantee makes a financial or in-kind contribution to the overall cost of the project (for example, paying salaries or assuming overhead costs). Payments are made based on the achievement of predefined outputs or results.

Non-contributory grants

In some instances, IDRC grants may be provided to an institution or to an individual with no expectation of a financial or in-kind contribution. Payments are typically made up front or in annual installments. These grants include:


Grants-in-aid include all grants awarded to an individual (for example, travel grants, fellowships, research internships, and scholarships, in addition to research-related awards) and grants awarded to an institution where progress reporting is minimal.

Core grants

Core grants are intended to provide financial support to cover the basic (or core) organizational and administrative costs of an institution such as salaries, office costs, IT, equipment, etc.

Program grants

Program grants are similar to core grants, but the funding is limited either to one specific program, a predefined set of activities within a program, or for a purpose common to several programs.

How do I know if my proposal is eligible?

For requirements specific to an individual call, please see current open calls. In general, the following applies:

Is the research topic aligned with IDRC's priorities and activities?

  • Does it relate to one of the Centre’s areas of focus?
  • Is its intention to generate new knowledge and avoid duplication of previous research?
  • Is its rationale evidence-based?

Where will the research occur?

IDRC funds research in many countries in the Global South, but the Centre is bound by Canadian law, which may restrict or prohibit funding for research and organizations in specific countries and/or regions. For example, if the law limits banking transactions by Canadian financial institutions in a particular country, IDRC will not undertake any form of programming in the country.

Who will participate?

IDRC will not undertake any form of programming with individuals or organizations prohibited by Canadian law.

Is your organization a financially solvent legal entity?

The proposing institution must have independent legal status (or “legal personality”) and be capable of contracting in its own right and name. Any applicant selected to receive IDRC funding must be financially solvent and will be subject to a financial and administrative assessment before the grant agreement is finalized.

How do I apply for a research grant?

The information requested in the kit is the minimum required by the Centre, therefore every response is mandatory (unless indicated as optional). Failure to provide all of the mandatory information and required documents and/or providing unsigned documentation will result in processing delays and/or your application may be rejected. Please also see the requirements specific to an individual call in the list of current open calls.

Applicants should consult the funding opportunity or follow guidance from IDRC on whether the application must include a Data Management Plan (DMP). If so, complete the Stage 1 or Stage 2 DMP.

Before you apply

✔ Read the full Application for an IDRC Research Grant form to learn more about the information you will need to provide.

✔ Read and complete DMP template as directed by the funding opportunity or IDRC staff.

✔ Review the General Terms and Conditions of the Grant Agreement to ensure that your organization understands and has the capacity to respect the terms. These terms represent the standard working practices of IDRC and reflect the underlying financial and governance framework in place.

✔ Verify the legal status of your organization. IDRC can only provide funding to legal entities. Canadian organizations must be a legal entity with a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) number.

✔ Ensure that your concept/idea is aligned with IDRC’s priorities and programming.


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