Frequently Asked Questions


RTAC is a newly established contract mechanism that will provide scientific and research-based technical assistance to USAID by leveraging the technical and research expertise of the global higher education community. Through RTAC, USAID offices, bureaus, and missions around the world can release research opportunities for the RTAC Research Network to bid on. These research opportunities will be utilized to inform USAID’s policy and/or programming decision making, thus enhancing the quality of USAID international development work worldwide.

RTAC aims to build a pool of researchers, from graduate students to professors, who can apply to take part in different short-term research activities sponsored by USAID. This pool of researchers is called the RTAC Research Network. Research may take place in any of the sectors or countries in which USAID works.

RTAC research opportunities focus on the following sectors:

  • Agriculture and Food Security
  • Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
  • Economic Growth and Trade
  • Education
  • Environment and Global Climate Change
  • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
  • Global Health
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Working in Crises and Conflict

Learn more about the sectors in which USAID works.

RTAC research opportunities focus on the following regions:

  • Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe and Eurasia
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Middle East

Learn more about the regions in which USAID works.

RTAC Research Network members come from diverse backgrounds and hold expertise in the wide array of technical sectors and regions in which USAID works. The network is comprised of a global pool of researchers and higher education institutions.

RTAC Research Network Members

USAID offices, bureaus, or missions will release research-related requests for RTAC Research Network members to apply for different types of research and technical assistance opportunities.
While some research opportunities may require the collaboration of specialists across several fields and may take several months to be completed, other opportunities might require the participation of a single individual over a shorter period of time. For instance, collaboration is expected in more complex research projects, but individual engagement can be expected for conducting literature reviews, providing consultation regarding research design, or participating in a technical panel.

RTAC Research Network members will receive an email when a research opportunity becomes available. Included in the notification will be directions on how to apply for the opportunity as well as the timeline for submitting your proposal.

Due to the urgent needs of most requests, the timeline for responding to research opportunities will be tight. The timeline varies depending on the nature of the request, but it may range between one to two weeks. Once RTAC Research Network members submit their applications through the RTAC online portal, qualified candidates may be asked to sit for a preliminary discussion with USAID and RTAC to discuss the opportunity. In most cases, the successful applicant will receive official notification from RTAC that they have been selected for the opportunity within a couple of weeks of submitting his/her proposal.
Upon selection, the researcher or research team will engage with RTAC and USAID to jointly refine the scope of work and timeline, based on discussions around the proposed work.

As an RTAC Research Network member, you are part of a global network of researchers and higher education institutions. RTAC Research Network members have the opportunity to network with researchers around the world specializing in the sectors and regions in which USAID works, if they wish to do so. RTAC Research Network members may increase their visibility in the academic space by having their expertise and achievements featured on the RTAC website, including links to recent publications, and by supporting the development and/or publication of RTAC-funded studies.

Contact with questions about the RTAC Research Network.

The frequency of RTAC research opportunities is dependent on the needs of USAID offices, bureaus, and missions. It is hard to predict how frequent the opportunities will become available. RTAC will arrange for professional development and networking opportunities for RTAC Research Network members to maintain engagement throughout the year.

The majority of RTAC research opportunities require English proficiency. However, research opportunities may also be available in other languages as appropriate.

When selected to carry out a research-related activity, RTAC Research Network members must obtain a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. A DUNS number is a unique nine-character identification number. The U.S. government uses DUNS numbers to track how federal money is allocated. Most U.S. higher education institutions already have a DUNS number. If your U.S. or foreign institution does not have a DUNS number, please learn more about how you can apply for a DUNS Number and register with .

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