Request for Proposals: Shared Water Management at Different Geographic Scales: Governance and Institutional Perspectives – REQUE002368-00001

US Institute of Peace

Request for Proposals

United States Institute of Peace

Shared Water Management at Different Geographic Scales:

Governance and Institutional Perspectives


Release Date: April 29, 2024

RFP Due Date: 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time May 31, 2024

Refer Questions to:

Submit Proposals to:

Katherine Waters, [email protected]

Katherine Waters, [email protected]

Do not use the Apply button on this page.

Pertinent responses will be made available to all offerors by e-mail. No inquiries will be accepted after specified time and date.

The response must be submitted by time and date listed above to be considered.

Introduction and Background

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is a national, nonpartisan, independent institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for the United States and global security. In conflict zones abroad, the Institute works with local partners to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict. For more information, please visit

USIP’s Program on Climate, Environment, and Conflict (CEC) was launched in the beginning of FY2022. Its focus has been on four key policy-relevant themes: understanding and mitigating the risks of conflict in a transition to a sustainable global economy; addressing the impacts of migration and displacement linked to climate and environmental change; managing conflict around transboundary water resources in a changing climate; and deepening an understanding of climate security issues and their strategic implications.

Purpose of the RFP

USIP seeks an organization or individual (including academic institutions and/or non-profits which engage on applied research and/or policy work), to develop one or more policy papers or a small research project to help guide USIP’s thinking and policy development in the area of shared water management and conflict resolution. Specifically, these publications will help USIP understand key issues that are likely to influence the shape of successful water management agreements and approaches for dealing with tensions and conflicts around water management issues over time.

Those interested in submitting a proposal should have demonstrated experience in research and strong scholarship related to water, peace, and conflict studies. Scholars at all levels, from early career to the more established, are encouraged to submit proposals.

This opportunity is for a work for hire contract.

Scope of Work


USIP may award up to two contracts either for the development of policy papers or for a small research project, with the goal of publishing the work either as USIP Peaceworks or Special Reports publications. The timeline of the project will be dependent on scope and research demands. Peaceworks publications target peacebuilding practitioners or academics (although not necessarily both at the same time), and range from 8,000 to 20,000 words, including endnotes. Peaceworks publications emphasize in-depth background, research, and analysis, and include detailed policy recommendations and conclusions. Special Reports are short, timely, policy-relevant reports that range from 2,500-10,000 words. Special Reports offer policymakers, practitioners, and scholars a distillation of expert research, lessons learned and problem solving in the topic field. The publications should offer recommendations to USIP, with a focus on the changing nature of conflict, to help guide its practical
engagement on water management and on related policy issues.

We invite offerors to submit proposals that address one of the issues outlined below. Please note that there are two separate lines of inquiry: one on the relationship around water management issues at multiple geographic levels, and capacities in institutions that support conflict management around water. We expect proposals to substantially respond to and address one line of inquiry, although researchers are encouraged to address both, if relevant.

Proposals can be based on ongoing research that is ready to be turned into a policy piece or novel research that requires more extensive work. USIP would also welcome follow-on components to an ongoing research project that addresses one of the below issues. USIP will also consider proposals that identify important related topics that do not appear on this list. It is expected that research proposals will be primarily desk-based and focus on review of existing literature and research rather than data collection from the field.

Line of Inquiry 1: Local, National, and Transboundary Scales of Water Governance, Law, and Institutions

Water management is often governed by laws, policy, and practice at different geographic scale (local, district/regional, national, and transboundary) that are unconnected, making it more likely that agreements reached at one level may exacerbate conflict around water at other levels. Research questions may include:
* Using diverse case studies, what lessons can be drawn about how laws and policy at different geographic scales are linked or disconnected? What are the risks in not having laws and policy at different scales appropriately linked?
* What lessons can be drawn from these real-life experiences about how best to nest different scales of management? What legal and policy approaches could be deployed successfully?
* How do institutions that manage water and resolve conflicts operate at different levels? What lessons can be drawn from how institutions can function across multiple geographic scales or also need to be thoughtfully nested? What types of capacities are most important at different levels?

Line of Inquiry 2: Role of Institutions in Supporting Water Management and Conflict Resolution

Institutions working on water management and conflict resolution are often uncoordinated and not connected to other institutions working on related issues that have relevance for management. Research questions may include:
* How do different institutions/institutional capacities fit into the long-term management of water resources? What types of organizations and capacities are critical to shared water management at different levels?
* What challenges do institutions face in coordinating with related institutions on shared policy issues? What enabling conditions are needed to help primary management institutions coordinate better with institutions working on related issues?
* Where do conflict resolution mechanisms sit in terms of the institutional structures working on water management? What types of capacities around conflict resolution are critical to successfully managing conflict?

Project Goals and Objectives

The objective of this Request for Proposals is to support rigorous, novel research that explores how to appropriately nest governance structures at different levels of water management and the institutional framework and capacities necessary to manage shared waters and water-related conflict. The goal is to inform USIP’s growing transboundary water and conflict research portfolio and enable USIP’s in-country operations to prevent and mediate water-related conflicts in the future.

Expected Contract Type

Firm fixed price (1-2 contracts expected)


The project will require the researcher(s) to complete the following during the contract term:

  1. Coordinate with the USIP program team to determine publication goal, plan research, field work, or other activities.

* Deliverable #1: Agree on goals; finalize work plan

  1. Develop a conceptual outline that includes proposed literature review, research methodologies, and timeline for approval by USIP before conducting research.
    + Deliverable #2: Conceptual outline (3-5 pages)
  2. Provide a draft manuscript that addresses one of the lines of research outlined in this RFP.
    + Deliverable #3: Draft manuscript (10,000-20,000 words)
  3. Provide a second draft manuscript that responds to USIP review.
  4. Deliverable #4: Second draft manuscript (10,000-20,000 words)
  5. Provide a final manuscript that responds to peer review and that will be of quality to publish through USIP as a Peaceworks or Special Report; and a blog post on the final report to be published as Analysis & Commentary on USIP’s website.
    + Deliverable #5: Final manuscript (10,000-20,000 words) and blog post (800-1,200 words)

Level of Effort

Estimations for the level of effort required for each deliverable are as follows:

Deliverable #1: Coordination of publication process (1 day)

Deliverable #2: Conceptual outline (5-7 days)

Deliverable #3: Draft manuscript (15-20 days)

Deliverable #4: Revision of draft manuscript (5-10 days)

Deliverable #5: Final manuscript and blog post (5-10 days)

Tentative Timeline

A tentative timeline for the completion of deliverables is provided below. USIP will work with the selected proposer to finalize deliverables and deliverable due dates upon selection.



Estimated Due Date


Researcher/author and program team will determine publication goal, plan research, field work, or other activities.

September 16, 2024


Researcher/author will provide program team with research plan and/or conceptual outline.

September 30, 2024


Researcher/author will provide program team first draft of manuscript.

February 3, 2025


Program team will provide researcher/author with revision guidance.

February 21, 2025


Researcher/author will provide program team second draft of manuscript. If this version is deemed to have publication potential, it will be sent out for peer review.

March 14, 2025


Program team will provide researcher/author with revision guidance.

April 15, 2025


Researcher/author will provide program team final draft of manuscript to be conveyed to USIP publication team. USIP publication team may need to work closely with author on edits before publication is finalized. The researcher/author will also provide a blog post related to the final manuscript to be published on USIP’s website.

June 16, 2025

Submission Requirements

Any proposal that does not contain all items listed below may be considered nonresponsive. For more detail on the selection process, including corresponding evaluation criteria, please see Section V below. To be considered under this RFP, please submit the following:

Technical Narrative Proposal

The technical narrative proposal should be no more than 5 pages and include the following sections:

Importance and Impact of Proposal

Proposals should clearly describe the importance of the issue to be addressed, research objectives, and policy significance. Proposals should also demonstrate knowledge of the research subject and literature. Further, proposals should identify which line of inquiry it plans to address. Proposals can address both lines of inquiry, if desired.

Prior Experience

Describe at least two projects of similar scope and complexity the offeror has worked on previously. Provide a point of contact with telephone number and email address for each of the described projects.

Overall Approach and Methodology

Based on the information provided, describe the proposed approach to desk research, data analysis, research methodology, and development of conclusions. As noted above, the final research methodology will be developed in consultation with USIP.

Key Personnel, Staffing, and Specific Expertise

Describe the key personnel, their role, their level of knowledge, and how their experience is related and beneficial. Describe the overall staffing plan for the project. Please note that staff may be non-US citizens and do not require a security clearance.

Exceptions to Contract Terms:

Any exceptions to the attached USIP Terms & Conditions must be clearly outlined in an annex to the Technical Narrative Proposal (the annex will not count toward the technical proposal page limit). Universities should reach out to [email protected] to receive a copy of USIP Terms & Conditions specifically for contracts with universities.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

For each of the key personnel, please provide a CV of no more than three pages. CVs will not count towards technical narrative proposal page limit.

Cost Proposal

The cost proposal shall include a detailed budget and a budget narrative. Budget must be in US dollars and in a spreadsheet format (e.g., Excel). Please note that USIP allows nonprofit organizations to include up to 15% indirect cost recovery on total direct costs for contracts.

Financial Management Assessment Form

Organizations must complete the Financial Management Assessment Form unless they have received Federal grants, contracts or cooperative agreements in the past two years and can provide their audited financial statement from their most recent fiscal year. Please reach out to Katherine Waters ([email protected]) to request a copy of the Financial Management Assessment Form if it is not attached to the solicitation.

Certification Page

Complete and sign the Certification Page below and submit with the proposal.

  1. Selection Process
  2. Schedule



April 29, 2024

RFP issued

May 13, 2024

Questions concerning RFP and project emailed to [email protected] no later than 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

May 17, 2024

Answers to questions will be made available to all offerors.

May 31, 2024

Proposals are due no later than 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Late submissions may not be accepted.

June 21, 2024

Notification to selected offeror

September 1, 2024

Estimated project commencement date

USIP may adjust dates in the schedule or cancel this RFP at any time prior to contract award.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on the criteria below. For more detail on each submission requirement, see Section IV of this RFP. The USIP Selection Committee will review all proposals received on time using the evaluation criteria established below based on the best value offered to USIP. The Selection Committee reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, in whole or in part, to award multiple contracts, and/or to enter into negotiations with any party, in the best interests of the Institute.

Evaluation Criteria


Technical Narrative Proposal

Importance and Impact of Proposal


Overall Approach & Methodology


Specific Expertise and Experience




Cost Proposal


  1. General Instructions and Terms
  2. Complete proposals must be submitted by email to [email protected] by 5:00 pm EST on May 31, 2024.
  3. The Institute is not liable for any costs incurred by offerors prior to issuance of an executed contract with the Institute.
  4. Submissions must be typed and submitted electronically and must include all submission requirements outlined in the Submission of Requirements section of this RFP. No changes or corrections to a response will be allowed after the deadline.
  5. All submissions should be in English and US dollars.
  6. Any questions concerning this RFP should be directed to Katherine Waters at [email protected]. Pertinent responses will be made available to all offerors by email. No inquiries will be accepted after specified time and date.
  7. Any proposal not addressing all RFP requirements may be considered non-responsive. Late proposals may be rejected as non-responsive.
  8. This RFP is not an offer to enter into an agreement with any party, but rather a request to receive proposals from offerors (organizations or persons) interested in providing the services outlined herein. Such proposals shall be considered and treated by USIP as offers to enter into a contract.
  9. USIP shall not be obligated for the payment of any sums whatsoever to any recipient of this RFP until and unless a written contract between the parties is executed.
  10. Unless stated otherwise within this RFP, the selected Contractor shall be responsible for providing all equipment and/or supplies required to perform the services.
  11. The selected Contractor shall not discriminate against any person in accordance with Federal, state, or local law.
  12. The submission of any materials to USIP in response to this RFP will constitute (i) a representation that the Offeror owns or has unrestricted license to use and license such materials and all intellectual property expressed therein; and (ii) the grant of a non-exclusive license to USIP to use such materials and intellectual property for any purpose, including specifically the evaluation, negotiation, and documentation of a contract with any party.
  13. Offeror will commit to adhering to the attached USIP Terms & Conditions, else risk removal from consideration. Exceptions to these terms must be clearly outlined in an annex to the Technical Narrative Proposal. Please reach out to Katherine Waters ([email protected]) to request a copy of USIP Terms and Conditions if they are not attached to the solicitation. Universities should reach out to [email protected] to receive a copy of USIP Terms & Conditions specifically for contracts with universities.

Certification Page
(Please submit with the proposal)

A. The Offeror certifies that: (1) Prices in the offer have been arrived at independently without consultation, communication, or agreement with any other competitor; (2) Prices in the offer have not been and will not be knowingly disclosed by the offeror, directly or indirectly, to any other competitor before bid opening or contract award unless otherwise required by law; and (3) No attempt has been made or will be made by the offeror to induce any other competitor to/not to submit an offer for the purpose of restricting competition.

B. Has the offeror received funding from USIP? Yes/No
If yes, provide the grant or contract number and the offeror’s main point of contact at USIP:___________________________________________________________________________________

On Behalf of Offeror:

Name of Organization or Independent Contractor

Signature of Authorized Official

Printed Name of Authorized Official



How to apply

To apply for this position, please use the following URL:

Deadline: 31-May-24