Call for Proposals: Workshop on tracking international aid from emerging economies

Submit a one-page proposal to receive pre-publication access to unpublished datasets, including AidData's forthcoming China global dataset, and to present at Heidelberg University this September.

April 13, 2017
Sarina Patterson
Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, Germany, lights up on a warm summer night. Photo by Raul Lieberwith , licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, Germany, lights up on a warm summer night. Photo by Raul Lieberwith , licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Heidelberg University and AidData are pleased to invite submissions of one-page proposals due May 1st for papers to be presented at the workshop “Tracking International Aid and Investment from Developing and Emerging Economies,” at Heidelberg University in Germany from September 22-23, 2017.

Proposals are expected to engage with new datasets on emerging donors’ aid and investments around the world. Authors of accepted proposals will receive pre-publication access to unpublished datasets, including AidData’s forthcoming China global dataset tracking all Chinese finance worldwide (see Table 1 below for a full list of available datasets). Draft papers presented at the workshop will be publicly released in October as AidData Working Papers.

The workshop is sponsored by AidData, Heidelberg University, and the German Research Foundation (DFG), and travel and accommodation costs for the twelve participants selected to present papers will be covered by the sponsors. Three distinguished scholars will serve as keynote speakers: David Dollar of The Brookings Institution, Helen Milner of Princeton University, and Nancy Qian of Northwestern University.

The deadline for submission of a one-page proposal is May 1, 2017. The proposal should briefly describe the research question, the planned methodological approach and the dataset(s) required to answer the research question. Applicants may submit their proposals online here or read the full call for proposals here.

Proposals should address the changing environment of international development finance

Academic research on international aid and investment has largely focused on OECD countries as primary providers of such financing. In recent years, however, aid-like financial flows and foreign direct investments originating from developing and emerging economies, such as China and India, have become sizable.

Proposals may either answer novel questions in economics, political science or other social sciences, or propose methodological advances related to the challenge of tracking developing and emerging countries’ aid and investments.

Potential research questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the factors influencing emerging donors’ aid and investment flows?
  • What are their economic, political, social and environmental effects?
  • What are the methodological shortcomings of existing datasets, and how can these be addressed?
  • Are the datasets made available by AidData and/or Heidelberg University reliable? How does the reliability of these data compare to alternative methods to estimate aid or investment flows from developing and emerging economies?

Researchers are also encouraged to take advantage of an extensive repository of satellite, survey, and geolocated development finance data available through the beta release of GeoQuery, AidData's new data extraction tool. GeoQuery helps researchers access and use geospatial data more easily: users can assemble and request customized joined datasets, and receive their data by email in a simple file in the desired units of analysis, all for free. Watch a tutorial introducing the tool, or go straight to GeoQuery to get started.

The Organization Committee at Heidelberg University and AidData look forward to receiving many engaging submissions. For questions, please contact Angelika Müller at

Table 1: List of available datasets

Links to download these datasets and their documentation can be found in the full call for proposals.

Sarina Patterson is AidData's Communications Manager.