sparking innovation in land and housing through research

Supported by

unlocking innovation in land and housing

security of land tenure and stable access to housing have the potential to unlock massive economic and social value for India’s poorest. secure rights to property form the basis for physical safety, livelihoods, wealth accumulation and social status. however, the numbers paint a stark picture: according to the Socio Economic & Caste Census 2011, 54 million landless households in rural India derived their income from manual casual labour. a Prindex survey in India showed that one in four people are afraid of losing the homes, which prevents them from investing in and utilizing their assets fully.

The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation and Omidyar Network India invite research proposals that will shed light on issues of land and housing and lead to breakthrough innovation. we believe that high-quality research that uncovers bottlenecks and opportunities in the land and housing ecosystem will help entrepreneurs, nonprofits, philanthropists and policy-makers develop meaningful interventions for the economically disadvantaged. we invite grant proposals under the following categories:

category A
grants between ₹ 3-6 lakhs for desk research, legal research, and research that utilizes secondary sources or pre-existing data. expected turn around time for research outputs is upto 6 months.

category B

grants upto ₹ 25 lakhs for field research and primary research. expected turn around time for research outputs is upto 1 year.

grant winners will be expected to produce market-ready research and at least one journal-level article. other outputs can include: editorials, workshops, case studies, policy briefs and assets that make the research more accessible (websites, data portals, repositories). additionally, grantees are encouraged to maintain open source data sets as far as possible.

thematic areas

we invite research proposals on the the thematic areas below and in closely allied areas. applicants are encouraged to integrate a class and gender perspective into their research projects. this will be part of the selection criteria while awarding grants.



1. Tenure security for low-income households, and the role of tenancy reform.

2. Financing mechanisms that facilitate access to decent housing and home improvements for the informally employed, and those with informal property documents.

3. Bundling access to civic amenities with housing, including the access to formal proofs of identification and residence at location.
sustainable livelihoods

sustainable livelihoods

Call for research in this area as pertaining to economically disadvantaged groups including  women, small and marginal farmers (including tenant farmers), pastoralists, miners, fishing communities, Scheduled Tribes, migrants and the urban poor.

1. Facilitation of property ownership, tenure security and land markets by governmental and non-governmental entities as a means to create and sustain livelihoods tied to housing and land.

2. Pathways that link property rights to sustainable livelihoods. Issue areas can include:
a) How aware are disadvantaged persons of their rights?
b) Do historical and present-day institutional arrangements including laws, policies, programs, schemes, intermediaries and courts enable access to property rights? (Special focus on the Swamitva Scheme)
c) What are the market linkages needed to access property?


1. Strengthening the collection of critical data related to low-income,  circular inter and intra-state migrant households, and their key policy implications related to land, housing and property.

2. The relationship between low-income circular migrants and their ownership of property & tenure security at source and destination.

3. The relationship between access to housing at destination and the decision of low-income households to participate in circular inter and intra-state migration.

4. Programs and pilots that facilitate easier access to housing and livelihoods for low-income migrant households.  What are traditional means that migrants use to overcome these information asymmetries? What are the policy implications?
tenancy reform & land leasing

tenancy reform & land leasing

1. Developing a robust evidence base on tenancy law and practices across different social groups (including women, SC/STs) and geographies, and their key policy implications.

2. Impact of Model Agriculture Land Leasing Act, 2016, including adoption, challenges and the status of implementation on ground. Have tenancy practices changed in states which adopted this Act? What should be the path forward?
environment & natural resource management

environment & natural resource management

1.  Sustainable agricultural practices that decrease emissions and improve food security, agricultural resilience including agroecology, conservation agriculture, sustainable intensification, new land stewardship models and efficient nutrient management.

2. Role of secure land/forest tenure and participatory forest management in protecting ecosystems and biodiversity conservation.

3. Analyzing land-use based policy implementation, interventions and public investment programs towards environmental and social outcomes.
social and economic empowerment of women

Social and economic empowerment of women

Women’s rights to property are often hampered by social norms, customs, and legislation, which inhibits their ability to climb out of poverty. In India, 78% of female workers are employed in agriculture. However, they are routinely denied rights to the land they cultivate and support their families with. Property rights for women enable them to build their livelihoods, cater to the welfare of their children, and provide security during desertion, divorce or widowhood. We invite research that studies models and solutions that have economically empowered women using the vehicle of property rights, and in turn also given them agency in social and political spheres.

grant details

Grant amount

category A - ₹ 3-6 lakhs
category B - ₹ 25 lakhs


category A - upto 6 months
category B - upto 1 year

Types of research

qualitative or quantitative research, bias for technology

WHO CAN apply

individuals, centers of research, nonprofits, collaboratives

application process

Round one

open for all

deadline: 6 September

submit research concept note
shortlisted applicants will be invited
to submit detailed proposals

Round TWO

shortlisted applicants

deadline: 2 weeks after shortlist notification

submit detailed proposals
up to 15 proposals will be reviewed
by the expert jury

Round three

final shortlist


interviews with expert jury
proposals selected will receive the Research Innovation Grant



research proposals will be selected for grant awards by our distinguished panel of jury members.



for queries, please email us at

what will the research lead to?

high-quality research facilitated by the Research Innovation Grant will be made available to potential problem-solvers in the ecosystem for land and housing including entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, investors, donors and policy-makers. apart from facilitating publication in leading journals, we will also host an annual research symposium on land and housing , inviting all relevant stakeholders.

will my research proposal be shared with anyone?

The research proposals will only be viewed by the selection committee, including the The/Nudge Team and the jury. it will not be shared with anyone else, and will be treated as confidential.

what are the criteria used to shortlist grant proposals?

the criteria used to shortlist grant proposals are:

quality and integrity - does the proposal clearly define the research questions, activities, methodologies, and target audience? is the need to use certain methodologies used through the course of the study well-supported?

impact - is there clarity and significance of the impact of the proposed activities? is the research solution-oriented and will it lead to action?

team - does the team demonstrate strong knowledge of the problems they are addressing and an understanding of the setting in which their research innovations will be tested?

innovation - Is the research about innovative practices or will the findings of the research make room for innovations that are easier, faster, less costly, or more feasible to implement/replicate.

intersectional perspective - does the research integrate an intersectional perspective of gender and caste?

how are you making accommodations for Covid - 19?

we understand that it may be difficult and unsafe to conduct field research at the moment. therefore we have introduced smaller grants that can be used for desk research, legal research or research from secondary sources.

we are keen to receive applications where the researchers have devised innovative primary research methodologies that are safe, rigorous and circumvent the pandemic. in case this is not possible, we are also open to funding the research only once it safe to be in the field.

my research proposal requires funding that does not fit Category A or B. will you still consider it?

we understand that different types of research requires different amounts of funding. if we are convinced that your research is valuable, we can consider supplemental funding or partnering with other organizations that fund research. if you still have a doubt, please email pioneer@thenudge.org.

my research timeline does not fit category A or B. will you still consider it?

yes, we will consider it. please write a strong justification for the timeline you have chosen in the research proposal.

my topic of research is not mentioned in the thematic areas. can I still apply?

yes, you can. however, the research must have a direct linkage to land and housing, and be closely aligned to the thematic areas mentioned above. if you still have doubts about your research topic being eligible for the grant, please email pioneer@thenudge.org.

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