Call for Proposals: Operational Research on Equitable Access to Mass Drug Administration for NTDs

This page describes a call for proposals which has since closed.

A call for proposed studies to be supported by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) through a grant to the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD)


The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center at The Task Force for Global Health is currently soliciting proposals for operational research nested in national programs targeting lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. Projects will be funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) via its support for the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs (COR-NTD). 

Broad Goals of DFID Project Support 

All projects supported by DFID should improve health outcomes in developing countries, delivering gains that countries can sustain and build upon. As poor health is both a cause and consequence of poverty – and women often suffer more than men from illness in developing countries – projects should promote equitable positive health outcomes. 

Projects should be aligned with the targets of the World Health Organization (WHO) and address key barriers to the elimination of lymphatic filariasis and trachoma by 2020, the elimination of onchocerciasis by 2025, or the sustained control of schistosomiasis by 2020. Specific calls for proposals will be focused on individual program challenges requiring operational research to be resolved.


Goals Targeted in this Call for Proposals 

The principal focus for this call for proposals – the first of a series – is on equitable access to mass drug administration (MDA), with selected projects conducted by or in close coordination with national neglected tropical disease (NTD) programs.  NTD programs are aligned with reinforced efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage.  Reaching all at-risk members of endemic communities achieves health equity and the timely completion of NTD control and elimination goals.  

The research may include, but does not need to be limited to, the following topics:

  • The generation of field-applicable methods to identify groups with consistently low access to or participation in MDA, assessing the social factors that may contribute to that lack of access.
  • Tailored social mobilization strategies to increase coverage of MDA, especially targeting the hardest to reach.
  • Development of innovative strategies to increase the performance of male and female community drug distributors to improve the reach of MDA.
  • Development of new approaches to improving the equitable implementation of MDA

Subsequent calls for proposals will focus on other social science and technical challenges faced by NTD programs.


Selection Criteria 

  • Proposals must be nested in national NTD programs. 
  • Proposals should address key barriers to the success of NTD programs in countries where the diseases are endemic. 
  • Proposed activities should align with the implementation framework of NTD programs, for which guidance is available from WHO. 
  • Proposals should demonstrate value for money – maximizing the impact of funds spent to improve the lives of the poor. 
  • Priority will be given to proposals
    • Led by research teams at institutions within endemic countries.
    • Led by researchers, especially women, based in the geographic south.
    • For research that is applicable to programs in multiple endemic countries.
    • For projects that would empower NTD programs in endemic countries to deliver results.
    • With budgets below $75,000 USD, though budgets of up to and above $100,000 USD will be considered for exceptional proposals. 

Proposals matching the following criteria will not be considered

  • Academic research that is not connected to NTD programs in endemic countries
  • Support for existing programmatic monitoring and evaluation activities, such as mapping, mass drug administration, transmission assessment surveys, impact evaluations, data quality assessments, and knowledge attitude perception surveys


Proposal Guidelines

Proposals will be accepted until 5pm EST December 3, 2017. Submission is to be completed via web form, indicating the following:

  • Operational Research Study Title
  •  Thematic Area
  • Background Information
  •  Objectives
  • Country
  •  Materials and Methods
  • Principal Investigator
  •  Study Sites
  • Collaborator(s)
  •  Study Population
  • Disease Focus
  •  Data Collection Plan
    •  Lymphatic Filariasis*
  •  Study Deliverables
    •  Onchocerciasis* 
  •  Timeline
    •  Schistosomiasis
    •  Trachoma

*Proposals on loiasis to be considered as they relate to co-endemicity with lymphatic filariasis and/or onchocerciasis


Completed proposals should be two to three pages in length (approximately 750 words), with character limits in place for individual fields within the web submission form. Submissions will be declined if they do not meet the criteria set out in this call for proposals.



All proposals in response to this request for proposals should be submitted via web form no later than 5pm EST December 3, 2017. The link to the web form will be available only until that time.


Evaluation of proposals will take place between December 4, 2017 and January 18, 2018. The process will entail multiple layers of review – by the NTD Support Center, which serves as the COR-NTD Secretariat; by external consultants with social science expertise; and by DFID. If additional information or discussions are needed, prospective investigators will be notified within this window. 

Selection decisions will be made in January 2018. Upon notification, contract negotiations with selected investigators will begin immediately. 

Notifications to prospective investigators whose proposals were not selected will be completed by January 21, 2018. 

Projects may be initiated after March 31, 2018.



Please direct questions to the COR-NTD Secretariat at




The Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) is comprised of researchers, program implementers and their supporters with the shared goal of optimizing NTD control and elimination. It is coordinated by the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, which is funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.K. Department for International Development. The aim of COR-NTD is to create new synergies within the operational research arena for NTDs and align that research with the global program needs advanced by the World Health Organization.

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. DFID tackles the global challenges of our time including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity and conflict. This work is building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK too.