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Call on legitimate stability to be launched on 7 May


On 7 May 2018, NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development will launch the sixth call for applied research proposals of the Security and Rule of Law research program, a subsidy scheme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The theme of this call, chosen and developed by the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law, will be ’The political dilemma of legitimate stability’.

Focus on legitimacy

‘Legitimacy’ is central to the language of state building, institution building, security sector reform and good governance interventions. Many such interventions are based on the idea that durable stability requires functioning institutions to maintain public order; promote justice; safeguard the integrity of territory, person and property; and ensure peacefully-contested politics and impartial public services. An implicit assumption is that capable and inclusive state performance in these arenas forges a social contract, builds trust, and reduces people’s recourse to violence in pursuit of their economic and political aspirations or basic needs. But how does this play out in reality?

This call aims to interrogate this premise, and generate empirical insights into processes of legitimation and the role of security and rule of law interventions therein. The results of the research projects need to directly feed into Security & Rule of Law policies and/or programs. Key questions include:

  1. What evidence do we have of how governing authorities build and maintain legitimacy?
  2. What can external actors realistically do to encourage inclusive processes of legitimation?
  3. How do (or should) donors recognize or seek to affect the legitimacy of local actors when they make their decisions of who to support in fragile and conflict-affected settings?
  4. What are the experiences of longer-term legitimation processes in the context of an external military intervention?

Each research project should contribute to both of the two objectives: develop evidence-based insights into how donor-supported Security & Rule of Law policies and/or programs can become better attuned to, or encourage inclusive processes of legitimation; and unlock the knowledge generated by this research for practitioner organizations, including public policy organizations, in such a way that these organizations can easily use the knowledge to (re-) design their Security & Rule of Law policies and/or programs.

The call for proposals

The call will be published on 7 May on the websites of NWO and the Knowledge Platform. Preliminary proposals can be submitted to NWO until 5 June, and will be reviewed by a societal panel, coordinated by NWO. Successful applicants will receive an invitation to submit a full proposal based on their preliminary proposals. The deadline for full proposals is foreseen for the beginning of August.  Project consortia should include both practitioner and research organisations, with a track record of successful cooperation. The ‘end user’ (e.g. a policymaker, program lead, or similar target audience) of the research must be actively involved in the design of the project and consulted in the ongoing development of the research.

Granted projects will have a duration of a maximum of nine months, with an anticipated start date in December 2018, and a budget of 100,000+ euros. Specific conditions and criteria, as well as an elaboration on the content of the call, will be shared on 7 May.

Security and Rule of Law

Security and Rule of Law is one of the priority policy areas of Dutch development cooperation. In Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) security and rule of law interventions seek to tackle the underlying causes of conflicts, instability and exclusion and, from the viewpoint of human security, support positive forces in society.

To strengthen the knowledge base of this policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law. This independent platform plays a central role in identifying and articulating knowledge demands, formulating research questions and promoting knowledge exchange and uptake amongst its members.

About NWO-SRoL

The Security & Rule of Law (SRoL) research program was developed by the Knowledge Platform and NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development to promote research that contributes to the SRoL knowledge base. NWO-WOTRO manages the calls for proposals and granted projects. This call is developed for the Security and Rule of Law (SRoL) Applied Research Fund (ARF) of the NWO-SRoL research program. NWO-SRoL aims to contribute to enhancing the knowledge-base of security and rule of law policies and intervention programs in fragile and conflict-affected settings, in order to improve their effectiveness. The ARF specifically focuses on strengthening policy and implementation in the fields of security and rule of law. Five calls for proposals have already been launched under this fund, with fifty projects funded in total.