The Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics will award exploratory grants to Masters students, PhD students and junior faculty to finance travel to meet with organizations working in developing countries (non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and governments are all eligible) that are interested in collaborating with researchers on a project that could potentially qualify for Weiss Fund support, and to finance other exploratory work, including piloting projects in the field.



Award Amount

Funding for piloting and travel grants will typically not exceed $15,000. In special cases where the project is closely linked to evaluation of a large implementer, the Weiss Fund would consider larger proposals. While there may be exceptions, funding will typically not exceed $5,000 for undergraduates and master’s degree students.


Master’s Students

  • Master’s Students should be enrolled in a program leading to a master’s degree with a specialization in development and a strong quantitative/economics component. Their research must be supervised by a faculty member with expertise in economics.

PhD students

  • PhD students should be working under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise in economics and should have sufficient time to devote to completing the project before graduating. The Weiss Fund ordinarily will not provide support to new projects being started by PhD students during their last year of the program unless they can demonstrate continuation in an academic position after graduation that will enable them to successfully complete the project and publish its findings.


The Weiss Fund is funded by the CRI Foundation and aims to sponsor research that will positively affect the lives of poor people in poor countries. The potential impact of research on the poor can be long run, research can duplicate an existing study in a different context, or it can investigate a negative result – showing that something that is widely done has no impact or less impact than is normally believed. The research could seek to discover flaws in past research findings. Research that challenges conventional wisdom is encouraged. Cross-disciplinary work is welcome.


The Program only funds research in countries, regions, or populations with per capita GDP below $11,000 in current USD, and has a preference for supporting work in countries, regions, or populations with per capita GDP below $5,500. Countries’ GDP per capita is determined according to the most recent data available from the World Bank Open Data portal. The Program does not fund research in developed countries, even on low-income populations within these countries.

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