This Request for Applications (RfA) seeks research that strengthens our understanding of how multilateral institutions can be reformed to more effectively build and sustain peace. Priority will be given to research which identifies the factors impacting multilateral peacebuilding and conflict prevention and offers concrete recommendations to reform, rebuild, and sustain more effective institutions at the global and regional levels. Priority will be given to proposals that draw evidence from priority countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Burma, CAR, China, Colombia, the Horn of Africa, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the Sahel, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

Problem Statement

With the emergence of China and resurgence of Russia, and the growing involvement of both great and regional powers in intrastate conflicts, accepted norms of international behavior have come under intense pressure. Faced with changing geo-politics and reliant on outmoded forms of intervention, the multilateral institutions mandated to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflict are struggling to build effective partnerships with local actors to advance peace and a number face crises of both legitimacy and funding. Recognizing the need to adapt, several of these institutions including the United Nations, African Union, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have embarked on reforms and restructuring. While welcome, the practical impact of these in conflict-affected countries and communities remains an open question, particularly absent broader changes in member state practices.

Possible Research Questions

  • Multilateral Peacebuilding in a Shifting Global Context: How can multilateral institutions adapt to the shifts in global dynamics described in the Problem Statement to more effectively prevent violent conflict and build and sustain peace? How do global and regional institutions complement each other to prevent and resolve today’s complex conflicts in light of the changing international dynamics described above? Applications should propose research with clear potential to generate recommendations for policymakers and peacebuilders on how to forge more effective international and regional institutions that more successfully build and sustain peace. Excellent applications will demonstrate how research findings will be drawn from rigorous analyses of evidence, especially evidence from priority countries.
  • Local Partnerships and Multilateral Peacebuilding: To what extent has the international system for sustaining peace evolved into a more distributed arrangement—one in which regional and non-state actors play a more significant role in preventing and resolving violent conflict? And what has been the impact of that evolution? What are the pathways for harnessing new partnerships and networks to help build more effective multilateral peacebuilding and conflict prevention efforts? To what extent have multilateral reforms led to more productive partnerships? Applications should propose research that offers clear recommendations for policymakers and peacebuilders on how to leverage new opportunities and address the challenges, including those posed by the advance of information technology and social media, and demonstrate how such recommended action will support peacebuilding efforts in the current global context. Excellent applications will demonstrate how research findings will be drawn from rigorous analyses of evidence, especially evidence from USIP priority countries.

Grant and Fellowship Opportunities under the theme "Reinvigorating Multilateral Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding"

USIP has launched two different competitions on the same theme, "Reinvigorating Multilateral Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding." Individuals may apply to either the Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship or as a part of a team applying to the grant competition. Individuals may not simultaneously apply to or be a part of both competitions.

Application Requirements

Only academic institutions or nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants should have demonstrated experience in research and a strong record of scholarship related to international relations, political science, or peace and conflict studies. Applications will be selected based on their potential to make original contributions to the field by directly addressing one or more of the two listed topics above. USIP values qualitative, quantitative, and participatory research approaches.

Registration, Application Process and Due Dates

  1. REGISTER: Registration closed on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at 4:00pm EDT.
  2. APPLICATION: After completing the registration, applicants must submit an application. The deadline for submitting the application is Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 4 pm EDT. Further instructions on completing the application are included in USIP’s online application system FLUXX. USIP will not be able to provide status updates on submitted applications at any time.
  3. REVIEW OF APPLICATIONS: Once a full application has been submitted it undergoes a rigorous review. A docket of recommended proposals, including reviewers’ assessments, is reviewed by USIP’s Executive Office and Board, which makes the final decision on awards. All selected applicants will be notified in early spring 2022.

Project Details

USIP will seek applications from a diverse pool of researchers with project budgets between $100,000 and $150,000. Project implementation periods can range up to 24 months. Please direct questions about this RfA or usage of USIP’s online grants management system to