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For EMR Region: Mini-grants Opportunity (COVID-19 Response) Application Open Dates

Dear Health Professionals

GHD/EMPHNET is pleased to announce the “EMR Operational Research Studies” mini-grants opportunity aimed at Improving COVID-19 pandemic response in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). Applications will be accepted via email during April 28th – May 10th, 2020. Review results will be announced on May 2020. Projects should be implemented during June-September 2020. Researchers, PHEP and FETP residents, graduates and other public health professionals in EMR countries are welcome to apply by completing the application form here and send it to Dr. Omar Al-Hadeethi via email: by 5:00PM Amman Time, May 10th, 2020.


As of April 21st, 2020, 22 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have reported cases of COVID-19 with multiple international concerns about countries that have not yet reported cases. Several calls have been urging these countries to enhance surveillance systems and lab capacities. Data reporting continues to be a challenge as some case reporting forms are not submitted by countries and those submitted are partially complete.

The global efforts to response to the pandemic is continuous to mitigate the outcome of the disease that has affected EMR region in health, economy and other sectors. Countries in the EMR are at different levels of risk of COVID-19 spread. Several EMR countries experience immense challenges in containing the disease due to political unrest, complex emergencies, humanitarian crises, and socio-economic hardships affecting this region. Furthermore, countries are constrained by limited institutional and workforce resources and capacities, a deteriorated or weakened health systems and difficulties in sustaining effective and well-functioning surveillance and emergency response systems. These challenges and adversities put EMR countries at risk of uncontrolled spread of the disease with high mortality and morbidity rates.

With the overall goal of supporting research that will enable stakeholders to understand and contain the new COVID-19, GHD/EMPHNET will support operational studies aimed at improving the response to COVID-19 in the EMR.


The major objectives of this opportunity are as follows:

  • To enhance understanding of the evolving COVID-19 outbreak in EMR and the nature and impact of ongoing containment measures.

  • To share knowledge on COVID-19 response and preparedness measures being implemented in countries affected by or at risk of importations of COVID-19.

  • To generate recommendations for adjusting COVID-19 containment and response measures in EMR and internationally.

  • To establish priorities for a collaborative programme of work, research and development to address critical gaps in knowledge and response and readiness tools and activities.

  • Eligibility:


Public health specialists, PHEP and FETP residents and graduates will have the opportunity to propose operational research studies for potential funding and implementation in targeted countries. Proposals need to address priority issues related to COVID-19 and should be approved by the Ministry of Health of the respective country—if applicable.

The call for proposals is not limited to any specific group and any eligible researcher can apply for funding. Only one completed application per priority area will be funded.

Proposals must address urgent research questions in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak. All proposals must show how progress within the period of the award can make a significant contribution to the understanding of the epidemiology of the disease, diagnosis, prevention, control, and management. We welcome proposals under the below research scopes:

  • COVID-19 epidemiology

  • COVID-19 surveillance

  • COVID-19 data reporting, management, and visualization

  • Public Health Measures for COVID-19

  • Clinical characterization and management of COVID-19

  • Health system preparedness and responsiveness to COVID-19

  • COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures

  • Best ways to protect health care workers dealing with COVID-19

  • Rapid response to COVID-19

  • Ethical considerations for COVID-19 research

  • Integration of social sciences into the COVID-19 response

  • Impact of COVID-19

  • Other priority areas related to COVID-19

Evaluation Criteria

  • Necessity and urgency of the research, its contribution to the investigated solution and applicability/impact in clinical practice and/or public health in the short to medium term for management of the COVID-19.

  • Quality of the research methodology including research design, research feasibility, work plan and budget.

Eligible Countries

Countries in EMR as follows:

  • Afghanistan

  • Egypt

  • Iraq

  • Jordan

  • Morocco

  • Pakistan

  • Somalia

  • Sudan

  • Syria

  • Yemen


The duration of the grant period is a maximum of six months from date of release of funds. The proposal must clearly indicate that the budget requested is essential, and the itemized expenditures in the budget must be matched with items presented in the proposal narrative.


  • Applications must be submitted via email no later than 5:00PM Amman Time, May 10th, 2020.

  • The Technical Committee will complete review of proposals and make funding decisions on May 2020

  • Notifications of awards and release of initial funds will be made in May 2020.

  • Awarded projects must be completed by September 2020 and final reports must be submitted by the end of September 2020

Important Notes

  • If the proposal was selected for funding, the project lead must ensure the country’s ministry of health or relevant institution will provide assistance as needed for the duration of the project

  • Projects that involve cost-sharing and/or collaborative undertakings are strongly encouraged and should be indicated in the application

  • Mini-grants may not be used to fund salaries or honorariums. All funds must be used to support implementation of project activities as detailed in the submitted budgets

Project Implementation

  • During the implementation of the projects, each team lead must provide a monthly progress report to GHD/EMPHNET until implementation of the project is completed.

  • The final report should be submitted by the end of September 2020, the final report should include:

  • A maximum of 300 words summary of the project

  • Detailed description of the project implementation process

  • Evaluations or feedback from involved parties

  • Any audio and/or visual materials

  • Findings of the project must be shared with the relevant authorities at the national and regional level to serve as a reference for decision-making and policy revisions.

Best Regards,

Dana Shalabi

Knowledge Exchange and Networking Team Leader

Knowledge Exchange and Networking/ Center of Excellence for Applied Epidemiology

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