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Fund Details
The Weiss Fund, COVID-19
Academic Year
Sponsor Deadline


The Weiss Fund for research in development economics is interested in supporting research by students and ladder faculty working in development economics, broadly defined, at the following institutions:

  • Boston University 
  • Columbia University 
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • University of Chicago
  • University of California San Diego
  • Yale University
The Weiss Fund is funded by Child Relief International and aims to sponsor research that will positively affect the lives of poor people in poor countries. 

The potential impact of research on the poor can be long run, research can duplicate an existing study in a different context, or it can investigate a negative result – showing that something that is widely done has no impact or less impact than is normally believed. 

The research could seek to discover flaws in past research findings. Research that challenges the conventional wisdom is encouraged. Cross-disciplinary work is welcome.

The Program only funds research in countries, regions, or populations with per capita GDP below $10,000 in 2018 USD; and has a preference for supporting work in countries, regions, or populations with per capita GDP below $5,000.

The Program does not fund research in developed countries, even on low-income populations within these countries.

Application Information:

The Weiss Fund is requesting applications for research that contributes to understanding and addressing the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic on disadvantaged populations in the developing world. This is an open call, and all relevant proposals will be carefully considered. However, applications for research that aims to understand how the pandemic has impacted regular health service provision for disadvantaged groups in developing countries, and how policy in those contexts has responded to address potential disruptions, are encouraged. 

Applicants are asked to submit the following (this information will be repeated again on the applicant dashboard)
  • Outline of the research hypothesis
  • Identification strategy (for empirical proposals intended to estimate a causal effect)
  • A budget narrative
  • An explanation of the availability of data to be used in empirical proposals
  • A current CV
  • For student applicants, unofficial transcripts
  • A detailed budget in Excel

Eligibility Criteria:

•Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled as degree-seeking students
•Junior and senior ladder faculty at the participating institutions (Boston University, Columbia University, Harvard University, MIT, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Diego, University of Chicago, and Yale University) who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply and serve as the corresponding principal investigator (PI) for the project. 
•Visiting or temporary students and faculty are not eligible.
All applicants should have sufficient training to conduct research using current techniques and 2 methods in economics. 

The PI applying for funding (i.e., corresponding PI) must also meet the following criteria: 
• Undergraduates must be enrolled as regular students in a program leading to a bachelor’s degree at one of the participating institutions. They may major in any field but must have taken intermediate micro, statistics and econometrics (or the equivalent). Their research must be supervised by a faculty member with expertise in economics. The proposed project should be completed before graduation. 
• Master’s students should be enrolled in a program leading to a master’s degree with a specialization in development and a strong quantitative/economics component. Their research must be supervised by a faculty member with expertise in economics. 
• PhD students should be working under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise in economics and should have sufficient time to devote to completing the project before graduating. The Weiss Fund ordinarily will not provide support to new projects being started by PhD students during their last year of the program. 
• Postdoctoral fellows and non-ladder faculty are only eligible if they have already obtained a position from one of the participating institutions as ladder faculty. 
• Junior faculty should be working on research projects on economic issues that affect developing countries. 
• Senior Faculty proposals should be for long-term projects and projects that are designed to capture spillover effects. Applications that do not meet this criterion will not be considered.

Review Criteria:

Projects will be judged by a committee of PhD economists. Expected impact per dollar spent will be the overriding criteria. Projects will be judged based on:
  1. The ability of the applicant(s) to successfully implement the proposal.
  2. Letter of recommendation.
  3. Potential long-run impact on the well-being of people in less developed countries.
  4. Appropriateness of proposed budget, alternative sources of funding being adequately pursued, and catalyzation of additional funding. The budget should be as frugal as possible and clearly justified.
The Weiss Fund will aim to notify applicants of their decision within five to six weeks of the application deadline. The review committee will evaluate each submitted application and either 1) approve project funding, 2) decline the request, or 3) ask the applicant to revise and resubmit a full proposal either in the same round, or the following round.

Additional Information, Related Websites, and Proxy Instructions:

Please visit The Weiss Fund website for more information

This competition is not enabled for Proxy Applicants.


Contact Information:

For questions about this application, please contact Weiss Fund at

Search Filters:

  • Other (Non Harvard) Institution
  • Harvard Business School
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Graduate School of Design
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Harvard College (Students Only)
  • Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Harvard Kennedy School
  • Harvard Medical School (Quad)
    Begin Accepting Applications Date:
    Deadline Date (EST Time Zone):
    5/23/2020 11:59 PM