Call for Research Proposals CSO – Private Sector Engagement for Promoting Civic Space


BCSDN Call for Research Proposals

CSO – Private Sector Engagement for Promoting Civic Space


Within the framework of the activities that the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) is conducting with support from and in partnership with the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), BCSDN is opening a call for research proposals in the area of CSO – Private Sector engagement aimed towards promoting civic space.

In an era of shrinking civic space, pandemic and post-pandemic challenges, CSOs need to build coalitions with other stakeholders to ensure broader support for what they aim to achieve and to promote civic space effectively. The shared benefits of an open civic space – the rule of law, accountable governance and civic freedoms – require collective responsibility from a wide range of stakeholders. Recognizing the ever greater need to get broader stakeholders on board for achieving ambitious sustainable goals, CSOs need to better engage with other actors beyond their usual suspects, such as the business sector, trade unions and informal groups, to work towards more accountable and effective development cooperation that is based on the respect of human rights and common objectives that bring positive changes in our communities.

Objectives of the call
With this call, we aim to support civil society actors in the Balkans to explore the potential for the private sector to play a greater role in strengthening and promoting civic space, explore the extent to which private sector actors are accountable to the people and respect human rights, gather evidence of current practices and lessons learnt, and identify potential routes for effective coordination and/or collaboration.

In line with our mission of empowering CSOs and building their capacities, BCSDN is looking for research proposals from civil society actors in the Balkans that will shed more light to the topic of CSO-Private sector engagement. At least 3 CSOs/researchers or research teams will be award small research grants of maximum 2.500 EUR, to conduct research of interest within the following two strands:

  1. CSO-Private sector cooperation (e.g. examples of successful CSO-private sector partnerships; challenges, drivers and barriers to such partnerships; good practices and practical strategies for CSOs and or/businesses, etc.)
  2. Private sector/corporate accountability (e.g. monitoring concrete projects or any private sector engagements to ensure if human rights, the welfare of communities and/or the protection of the environment are upheld, monitoring attacks on activists/human rights defenders)

Note: The research could be done in any of the local languages, but the final research product must be available also in English language. Successful applicants shall coordinate and cooperate with the BCSDN Executive Office staff during the research implementation and finalization of the product.

Eligibility Criteria
This call is open for CSOs/ think-tanks in the Balkans with interest and/or experience in the topic of CSO-private sector engagement and a background in conducting research.

To participate, please submit the following documents:

  1. Registration document issued by the relevant public entity/ organization, according to legislation in the country of the establishment of the CSO;
  2. Organisational portfolio and CV(s) of the researcher(s) to be engaged;
  3. Research proposal (including draft methodology for the research, working timeframe and budget).

Evaluation Criteria
Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria (100 points total):

  • 30 points: Qualifications of the applicant (relevant experience, evidence of previous related projects or relevant research done);
  • 50 points: Quality of the written proposal, i.e. clarity, organization and design (relevance, feasibility, methodology);
  • 20 points: Impact on applicant’s practice and core work (the value of the research for the work of the applicant, contribution to the knowledge base).

How to apply?
Applications should be submitted electronically to with the subject: Application for the Call for Research Proposals (CSO-PSE).
Applications should be written in English only.

 Expected Timeline:

  • Submission of proposals: until 25 March 2022
  • Evaluation of proposals: until 10 April 2022
  • Start of the assignment: 15 April
  • Implementation of research: until 30 May 2022
  • Final research product delivered/presented: until 10 June 2022.

For any questions or more information, please contact us at


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