DROP Program


 PIDP logo ADB logoEast-West Center Logo

Development Research for Oceania Pipeline (DROP) 


The Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) and the East-West Center (EWC) are pleased to launch the Development Research for Oceania Pipeline (DROP) program, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The purpose of DROP is to increase awareness and understanding of the development challenges of the Pacific. This program was established to provide support for graduate (Master and Doctoral) thesis and dissertation research related to priority Pacific development issues identified in consultation with senior officials of Pacific Developing Member Countries (PDMCs). Awardees will engage in policy-oriented field research with outputs developed in coordination with EWC and in line with ADB and regional development priorities.

Harnessing PIDP and EWC Pacific connections, networks, and expertise, the DROP program will support and mentor graduate student researchers in completion of policy-relevant research on Pacific development issues. In addition, EWC will leverage its communications and publications platforms to maximize the reach and impact of the DROP outputs. Sustained over time, the program will create two complementary pipelines: an expanding cohort of Pacific development experts, and a stream of policy-relevant Pacific development research. DROP supports ADB’s approach of strengthening knowledge services and working with developing Pacific countries to identify their needs, undertake high-quality research, and generate and share relevant knowledge products through partnerships with policy and academic institutions.

The 2022 competition is now accepting applications. Please read below for details.

Award Period

Commencement of research is expected to begin in January 2023 and end within twelve months. This should include research in one or more PDMCs as well a residency at the EWC for writing and publication.

Required Outcomes

During the award period, the researcher will participate in monthly check-in meetings with DROP staff via phone or online communications technology (e.g., Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom) and submit a written monthly progress report to designated DROP staff.  Before the end of the award period, the researcher will prepare a Research Summary to be considered for print and digital publication. The researcher will also be required to deliver a seminar on the research findings and recommendations at two events, one EWC seminar and one regional convening. The seminar will be recorded and posted online by PIDP.


  • Eligible graduate students will be at the writing stage of their thesis or dissertation by the beginning of the award.
  • Applicants must be officially enrolled in a regionally accredited graduate program.
  • Research must be policy-oriented field research related to priority development issues in Pacific Development Member Countries. 
  • Research much be undertaken in Pacific Development Member Countries.

Award Components

Award Component 1, up to $35,000. The EWC awards each researcher up to $35,000 for educational studies and research in a Pacific Development Member Country. The funds can be used for tuition and/or institution fees, books, living expenses, equipment, travel (including visas), internet service, supplies, software, language interpretation/translation, and other expenses that are directly related to conducting this research. Please refer to the DROP Budgeting document for guidance on allowable expenses. 

Award Component 2, up to $15,000 to support residency at the EWC and possibly other policy institutes in the Region and participation in relevant regional meetings, dialogues, strategy sessions, academic conferences, and other events to share their research and engage with regional actors.

Funds can be used for travel (to and from the EWC and to relevant conferences, meetings and events), lodging in the EWC guest house and during travel, an allowance based on fixed rates for living expenses in Honolulu and during travel, and other allowable expenses directly related to research residency and research dissemination events.

Award Component 3, DROP Mentoring. In addition to the funding, EWC and PIDP staff will work with the researchers in building research connections with Pacific scholars, engaging in policy dialogue through EWC-sponsored and related fora, and finalizing research studies and summaries for dissemination. Note: EWC will cover costs for preparation and publication of research summaries on EWC/PIDP platforms.

Application Requirements and Procedures

All applications must be completed using the online application system and submitted no later than 11:50pm HST on September 30, 2022.

Contact Information

Each applicant must enter their name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and information about their graduate institution into the online application form.

Curriculum Vitae

Upload your current curriculum vita in PDF. Applicant's curriculum vitae, no longer than two (2) pages, to include the following:

  • Research and academic employment history
  • Relevant graduate courses in statistics and methodology
  • Relevant publications and presentations
  • Relevant professional affiliations and/or memberships

Thesis or Dissertation Research Prospectus

Provide a general overview of your thesis or dissertation research with the following information:

  • Research Study Title
  • Abstract (300 words maximum)
  • Statement of the research questions and how this research advances the current state of knowledge in the field and addresses development in Pacific Developing Member Countries
  • Theoretical and/or conceptual framework
  • Overview of research design and description of methodology including organizational affiliations pertinent to the research, e.g., university, governmental agencies, community organizations
  • A work plan which specifies: geographic location of activity, tasks to be performed, who is responsible, who is to be involved, specific activities to be carried out, deadline and timeline perspective for the study proposed
  • Discussion on researcher's positionality focusing on connections to Pacific Developing Member Countries
  • Proposed Budget: Provide a general sense of how you might allocate the funds for Award Component 1 (up to $35,000). Please refer to the DROP Budget Guidelines for guidance on allowable items, how to determine cost of living, documentation requirements, and other financial information prior to composing your budget. A budget for Award Component 2 will be created by the researcher in consultation with DROP staff.
  • Statement of Objectives: Describe the objectives of your graduate study, your area of specialization within the graduate program, and your long-range professional goals.
  • Commitment to the Pacific: Describe any prior or current employment that relates to your interest in the Pacific and to your field of study. What are your long-range professional goals in the Pacific region? 


Submit official graduate school transcript(s).

Letters of Recommendation

Two (2) academic letters of reference are required, one of which must be from the applicant's graduate advisor at their home institution confirming advancement to candidacy or thesis.

Evidence of Affiliation from Host Country Institution

Provide a letter of affiliation from an institution or organization in the country where your research will be conducted. The letter should address the institution’s willingness to support the researcher, how long and/or in what capacity the institution has been acquainted with the applicant and his or her research, how the applicant’s proposed research is connected to or builds on the mission of the institution, what resources the institution is willing to accord the researcher (e.g., institutional mentors, office space, access to libraries or other facilities), any other information that you find to be relevant or useful for the selection committee, contact details, including e-mail and phone number. The letter must be on official letterhead and signed.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval for Research Study

Provide a copy of the approved Human Subjects IRB (or equivalent) application for your research study.

Apply now


Please email us at [email protected]