South African Foreign Policy Initiative (SAFPI): General Grant Proposal Call--Research Projects

Thursday October 27, 2011 - Wednesday November 30, 2011
South Africa
Organization:Open Society Foundation for South Africa

South African Foreign Policy Initiative (SAFPI)

General Grant Proposal Call – Research Projects



OSF-SA is committed to promoting the values, institutions and practices of an open, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. Fundamental to the pursuit of such a society is the ideal of a deliberative and responsive government as reflected in actions taken and policies pursued. Foreign policy, no less than domestic policy, should reflect the ideals of responsiveness and deliberation, in accordance with South Africa’s constitutional commitments to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

OSF-SA believes that new developments, domestically and internationally, impacting on South Africa’s foreign policy behaviour and engagements are an opportunity to stimulate deliberation and debate of South Africa’s international ambitions and global strategic interests.

The South African Foreign Policy Initiative (SAFPI), a programme recently established by OSF-SA, is opening a general call for research projects from organisations and individuals which can provide critical insights and expand and strengthen the debate on the influences and choices that impact South Africa’s foreign policy in the 21stCentury.


In a changing world order, South Africa both seeks the status of, and is treated in many circles as, an emerging world power.  It now enjoys an elevated prominence in the international system. It is a member of IBSA; has recently joined BRICS; co-chairs the Development Working Group of the G20 with South Korea and is about to enter the second year of its two year (2011-2012) non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The focus in South Africa’s foreign policy behaviour throughout the Mandela and Mbeki Presidencies and now by the Zuma government is inextricably aligned to an African destiny – a stable and prosperous Africa. These engagements are simultaneously informed by its apartheid history.

Yet, South Africa’s foreign policy track record has clashed between rhetoric and reality. While Pretoria places a premium on human rights as a guiding principle in its foreign policy engagements, its behaviour and the decisions it makes in multilateral institutions often deviates from such a foundation.

South Africa’s apparent ambivalence on these issues, without communicating salient countervailing motivations for its decisions, raises concern about how South Africa’s elevated global status should be conceptualised or interpreted.

Is South Africa adding meaningful substance to regional and global leadership by becoming a member of these multilateral institutions? Or is Pretoria merely satisfied to just capture a seat at the table? Moreover how are these strategic interests defined? What is the African Agenda? And to what extent does domestic public policy inform South Africa’s foreign policy choices?

Thus far there has been little systematic, informed discussion, debate and inquiry about South Africa’s role as an emerging power in a changing world order.

In view of this SAFPI seeks to:

  1. Engage premier think-tanks (domestically and internationally) on matters relating to South Africa’s foreign policy.
  2. Function as a prominent forum for convening South African and international statesmen and women and opinion leaders.
  3. Serve as a platform for forging consensus on the priorities, terms and conditions of South Africa’s global engagement.
  4. Become a dedicated resource for government officials, civil society, the private sector, journalists, educators, students and the interested public in order to help them better understand the world and foreign policy choices facing South Africa

 Call for Proposals

 In light of the above questions and the SAFPI objectives, a public call for proposals is underway to encourage individuals and organisations to apply for grants that provide innovative and critical analysis of South Africa’s foreign policy behaviour and impact.

 OSF-SA wishes to award grants to suitably qualified organisations and individuals that undertake empirically focused research projects on South Africa’s global role as it relates to the following issues:

  • Deliberating South Africa’s 2ndyear on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
  • Understanding South Africa’s Role in Development Cooperation and the Implementation of the Development Partnership Agency
  • South Africa’s identity in IBSA and BRICS
  • Comparing South Africa’s corporate footprint in Africa with BRIC partners: Complementarities and Competition
  • South Africa’s Foreign Policy after 2014: Continuity and/or Change?

Your Proposal should include the following:

  1. A one-page executive summary
  2. A Discussion of the design of the project you or your organisation wishes to undertake.
  3. The goals, objectives, and activities as well as motivation for why these have been selected.
  4. A detailed budget and time-frame for the completion of the project.
  5. A short resume documenting your or your organisation’s track record and qualifications in terms of undertaking this type of work.

Expected Principles and Standards

OSF-SA (SAFPI) subscribes to the following principles and standards:

Systematic Inquiry: Applicants are required to conduct systematic, rigorous, evidence-based inquiries about the subject.

Competence: Applicants are required to have proven competence in relation to work of this nature.

Integrity/Honesty: Applicants are required to ensure the honesty and integrity of the entire project process.

Respect for People: Applicants are required to respect the security, dignity and self-worth of the respondents, programme participants, clients and other stakeholders with whom they interact.

Responsibilities for general and public welfare: Applicants are required to articulate and take into account the diversity of interests and values that may be related to general and public welfare.

In addition, the following criteria for selection will be considered when evaluating applications:

  1. Originalityof the proposed project
  2. The background policy context of the proposed research
  3. The empirical nature of the study (i.e. a clearly defined hypothesis that the research focus intends to undertake and how this is developed through the way the project seeks to test the assumption. Applicants are encouraged to consider how projects can provide a good balance between long-range and applied research).
  4. Methodologythat clearly states how the research objectives are going to be achieved i.e. the research questions, data collection (including interviews with actors and observers in foreign policy/diplomacy circles, surveys to be conducted), the type of data analysis that will be applied and so forth. 
  5. Projects that are multi-disciplinary/trans-disciplinary in nature.
  6. Who will be impacted by the results of the study?
  7. Risks associated with the research project.
  8.  How will the results of the study be disseminated, including into the policy space?
  9. What advocacy strategies will be undertaken to target constituencies outside of the mainstream general public?
  10. Project leaders and senior analysts must demonstrate a strong competency in research and good publication record on the proposed thematic area of study and related subjects.
  11. The inclusion, training and mentoring where possible of post-graduate scholars engaged in studies on South Africa’s foreign policy.

General Information

  1. Consideration will be given to proposals that overlap with more than one theme but it must be clear in its focus, research design and activities.
  2. Only ONE application per individual or organisation will be ACCEPTED.
  3. Submissions from consortiums[1]of two or more organisations and/or individuals will be ACCEPTED.  
  4. Applicants are encouraged NOT to duplicate existing studies.
  5. Eight grantswill be awarded valued between R440 000 – R450 000.
  6. The time-frame for each project will be one-year.


Kindly submit proposals together with supporting documents to Ms Sanusha Naidu, Senior Researcher, South African Foreign Policy Initiative, at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa by email: [email protected]or fax (021) 511-5058.

Strict confidentiality is assured.

Deadline for Submissions:  30 November 2011.


[1] These can include collaboration with overseas partners.