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ODA Eligibility

What to look out for when writing ODA applications



The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (with 169 targets and indicators), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

ODA projects need to support one or more of the SDGs.


Is  my project ODA eligible?

In order for the proposal to be considered for ODA funding, it will have to be deemed to be ODA eligible. Please make sure you can answer yes to (most of) the following questions:

  1. Does your proposal meet the call criteria?
  2. Is the country(ies) of focus on the DAC list? Is it likely to stay on the list for the duration of the project?
  3. Is the main aim of your proposal the economic and welfare development of that country(ies)?
  4. Does your proposal directly and primarily address the development challenges of this country(ies)?
  5. Is there a development need that my project or activity is addressing? Do you have credible evidence that this is a challenge identified by that country? e.g. government policy document, workshop outputs etc.
  6. Does my project or activity contribute to sustainable development?
  7. Would this lead to a reduction in poverty in a developing country?
  8. Is the research focussing on those most underprivileged geographical areas or groups of people in the country(ies)?
  9. Does your proposal include collaborations with institutions in the country(ies) of focus? e.g. universities, hospitals, policy makers etc.
  10. Does your proposal include collaborations with interdisciplinary organisations (e.g. international organisations, NGOs) active in the area of research?
  11. Does your proposal engage with the people whose challenges you are addressing? e.g. farmers, patients etc.
  12. Is it an equitable partnership? i.e. clearly articulated equitable distribution of resources, responsibilities, efforts and benefits
  13. Are the pathways to impact clearly identified? Do they address cultural, social, economic, academic and other impacts? What would the impact of my project or activity be, and who would benefit? What would success look like? How will you measure it? Can you quantify the impact, e.g. x number of lives saved, % increase in income, etc?
  14. Does your proposal include capacity building in the country?
  15. Does your proposal include provisions for long term sustainability of the project/activities after the end of the funding period?
  16. Are the outputs of your research transferable to other DAC list countries/regions?


How do I demonstrate that my proposal meets ODA requirements?  (based on the ODA compliance questionnaire)


1. Which country/countries on the DAC list will directly benefit from this proposal?

Make sure you are working with DAC list countries. Pay attention to countries that might ‘graduate’ from the list. It might be that the project is based in one country or more; or that even though based in one country it might benefit others either indirectly or because whatever the research output it will be applicable to them. the PI will need to say which country the research will benefit and by benefit it is welfare and economic benefit we are looking for.

2. How is your proposal directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of these countries.

The PI will need to identify what is the challenge/need that the research will be addressing. It will be very good to show that this is a challenge identified by that country and not something the PI came up with, i.e. provide evidence. How will the proposal deal with the challenge? How is the proposal different to what has been done in the past or by others? How does it build upon other activities? How will it overcome implementation difficulties, e.g. policies, farmers, gender issues. Also, ODA is linked to SDGs. So, it will also be very good to identify which (one or more but not many) SDG the proposal will help to address and how it will do that, but not just pay lip service. Also, it would be good to show the interlinkages between the SDGs addressed in the proposal, but also other SDGs, the latter only briefly.

3. How do you expect that the outcome of your proposed activities will promote the economic development and welfare of a country or countries on the DAC list?

What will the outcome be? What do you expect to be different? Can you quantify it? How will it support the welfare and economic development of that country/ies? Where is the impact?

4. What approach(es) you will use to deliver development impact within the lifetime of the project and in the longer -term. Please consider the potential outcomes, the key beneficiary and stakeholder groups and how they will be engaged to enable development impact to be achieved.

Is the impact and the pathways to it realistic and appropriate to the county(ies) and the context? When is impact likely to materialise? Who and how many people are likely to affected by the research?  How does the stakeholder and engagement activities strengthen the impact? Have any institutions or other partners committed to adopting or applying research outcomes? Have they been actively involved throughout the lifecycle of the research? How will this enhance local innovation and research capacity in either an individual, institutional or whole system level?


Successful Proposal Library (Internal webpage)

Our Successful proposal library contains some previous successful applications to GCRF schemes which are a good source of support when writing a new application.