NOFO: Study of PRC Tactics Used to Limit International Support for Taiwan

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) from the Institute for War & Peace Reporting’s (IWPR) Information Access Fund

Application Deadline: COB (EST) March 26, 2021

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is a full and open competition.

A.  Program Description

Through the Institute for War and Peace Reporting’s Cooperative Agreement with the Department of State, this full and open competition announcement invites organizations to submit a proposal for funding via a subaward agreement.

During the past several decades, the number of countries maintaining formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan has steadily decreased as governments switch their recognition to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  In many cases, the PRC lures countries to switch recognition by explicitly or implicitly promising incentives like market access, bilateral aid, development finance, and foreign direct investment (FDI). Additionally, PRC economic threats prevent countries from bolstering unofficial relations with Taiwan, such as by hosting a Taiwan representative office or by visits to Taipei by government officials. The details of the economic packages offered or threats made to each country are poorly understood and largely non-transparent.  It is also unclear the extent to which the PRC follows through on its economic promises after countries switch recognition to Beijing, or on its threats if countries expand unofficial relations with Taiwan.

Moreover, with a GDP roughly 23 times larger than Taiwan’s, the PRC’s larger market creates a presumption that it is by default the more important entity economically. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests a more complicated picture. After the Czech Senate President, the country’s second ranked politician, ignored Beijing’s protests and travelled to Taipei in September 2020, the PRC had few economic levers to punish the Czech Republic. An AEI scholar reported that Taiwan companies have invested 14 times more in Czech businesses than PRC counterparts. The Czech case serves as a reminder that the PRC’s economic influence is limited where there are not significant trade, investment, and aid relationships with the PRC.

This project seeks to fill these knowledge gaps by sponsoring quantitative and qualitative research to answer two questions. First, to what extent do significant economic impacts on third countries materialize following changes in official or unofficial relations with Taiwan and/or the PRC?  Second, to what extent is Taiwan able to use is relatively smaller economy to nevertheless benefit its official and unofficial partners through trade, investment, and foreign assistance?

Organizations must be able to gather and analyze data to produce a study on Taiwan’s and the PRC’s economic impacts on partner countries. Case studies should include countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, those that recently switched diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, and those that have diplomatic relations with Beijing but have opened trade offices in Taiwan and/or allowed Taiwan to open reciprocal trade offices locally. Successful applicants should be able to include cases from countries with small- and medium-sized GDPs, and provide rationale for each case’s relevance to the research questions described above. 

Under the subaward, researchers will measure the quantitative impact of Taiwan and PRC investments—including, but not limited to, financial, infrastructure, human capital, research, training, philanthropic, and health—in private sector, public sector, academic institutions, tourism, NGOs, and others in the case study countries.  Methodology must include not only immediately quantifiable effects such as jobs created, exports, or assistance received, but also second and third order effects to include, but not limited to, value-chain improvements, economic growth, and improved professional capacity in the short- and long-term.  

This project will develop methodologically rigorous data, emphasizing quantitative metrics as well as qualitative analysis in its case studies. The recipient should conduct independent research in this area, and this information should be included in the reports. The implementer may use surveys, focus groups, data calls, previously published research, government reports, or other methods to gather the information.  Key to the proposal will be the applicant’s ability to provide a truly comprehensive, comparative view of the impact of Taiwan’s and the PRC’s engagements across all sectors.

Specific types of investments examined may include, but not limited to:

  • Direct Assistance: Identify the full range of direct grant assistance provided by government agencies, institutions, charitable organizations, and companies (corporate social responsibility);
  • Loans: Identify and quantify the nominal value of direct government loans as well as loans from private banks.
  • Trade: Identify and quantify the impact of bilateral trade in goods and services, including the nominal value of trade and the value of related job creation;
  • Investment: Identify the full range of direct and indirect investment supported by agencies, institutions, organizations, and companies, both private and state-owned as appropriate, and instances where promised investments failed to materialize or produce the expected benefits;
  • Employment and Human Resource Capacity:  Quantify the number of jobs created by PRC/Taiwan trade and investment, exploring examples of investment or foreign assistance that spurred local hiring vs. relied heavily on imported labor and the impact of this on local human resource development; 
  • Tourism: Identify and quantify the impact of tourism (both nominal value and job creation);
  • Remittances: Quantify the nominal value of remittances from Taiwan and the PRC, as well as how those dollars impact families/communities;
  • Training: Identify and quantify the benefit of training and technical assistance, as well as private corporate workforce development, on individuals and institutions (i.e., the impact on public services and institutions);
  • Education: Describe and quantify the educational, economic, and cultural impact of university partnerships and Taiwan and Chinese students studying at foreign universities;
  • Health: Identify and quantify the economic value and economic opportunities of health assistance on patient care and in health care systems;
  • Quality of Life: Describe and quantify (if possible) the impact of the above aid on host country companies, technologies, and standards on quality of life (e.g., improved health care, transport facilitation, franchise restaurants, law enforcement capacity, Mandarin language teaching capacity, etc.);
  • Defense: Describe and quantify the economic impact of defense assistance (i.e., the impact of training, support, humanitarian assistance projects.

Budget: Estimated available funding is up to $207,000 for one award.

Proposals: Proposals should be no longer than five pages in length. Proposals should outline submitting organization’s background and expertise to take on this project, proposed research and study plan/treatment and duration, as well as ideas for the release of the final products. Proposals should include a budget and a budget narrative as well as plans to measure the study’s impact and outcomes.

Proposals might also consider and include beyond the studies themselves, how the research and findings could be re-presented and repackaged in accessible ways to improve ease of understanding and utility of raw data sets for end consumers.  

Proposals should include a theory of change as well as clear objectives, outcomes, outputs, and activities organized in a logical framework. The theory of change should be a brief if/then statement that describes why the proposed program is expected to achieve the anticipated results among possible target audiences. To explain how the applicant proposes to achieve the project's results and meet the objectives, the proposal should describe the activities of the proposed program, the expected outputs (goods, services, or deliverables) from those activities, and the expected outcomes (how those activities will achieve the objective). Additionally, some forethought should be given to cost-effective indicators that will measure the outcomes and outputs. Anything regarding monitoring and evaluation will not count against the 5-page limit for proposals.

Length of Project Period: Up to eight months. Preference will be given to proposals that include providing quarterly updates/drafts of data gathered and analysed to date.

Project Objectives: 

  1. Identify the full range of direct or indirect investment supported by Taiwan and PRC agencies, institutions, organizations, and private and state-owned companies. Examine the extent to which flows of trade and investment between a country and the PRC/Taiwan are affected by changes in diplomatic or unofficial relations, such as a “flip” in recognition from Taipei to Beijing or the opening of a Taiwan trade or representative office.
  2. Collect data that will support the development of fact-based narratives and analysis to promote the absolute and relative benefit for foreign countries partnering with Taiwan and the PRC across multiple sectors.
  3. Determine the extent that publics associate Taiwan and the PRC with specific projects, policies, and fields of knowledge or expertise (e.g. science and technology, entrepreneurship, Mandarin language teaching, etc.).
  4. Assess the extent to which Taiwan and the PRC follow through on public promises or threats related to partner governments’ recognition.

Project Outputs:

  • A report that uses interviews, research, reports, and other methodology to capture the scope and value of activities conducted by Taiwan and PRC private sector, academic, non-governmental, and other institutions. This report will also assess the extent to which Taiwan and the PRC follow through on public promises or threats related to recognition. The reports must be issued in English. They must be in MS Word and pdf format:
    • Required report elements include: 
      • Executive summary
      • 5-10 representative stories of the depth and breadth of the impact of Taiwan engagement on other countries
      • One-page infographics illustrating findings for each funding/benefit stream, with an emphasis on cumulative investment totals, length of time the program/funding/benefit has been active in country, and the geographic and cross-sectorial impact of those investments.
  • This study will need to be produced in English and translated into other languages (languages and mechanism for translation to be determined later).
  • Proposals should detail roll-out plans for the report that target potential key audiences. 

Project Outcomes: 

  • Increased comprehensive data resources available to global stakeholders.
  • Elevated quality of discussion and increased awareness of PRC efforts to the true costs/benefits of engaging with Taiwan. 

B. Process and Regulations:

Any questions concerning this NOFO should be submitted in writing to IWPR via email. Please address any questions to by COB March 5, 2021. If need be, answers to any questions will be publicly announced.

To be eligible for the award, applicants must provide all required information. Applications that are submitted late, incomplete or are non-responsive will not be considered. 

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of IWPR or the U.S. government, nor does it commit IWPR or the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. In addition, final award of any resultant grant agreement cannot be made until funds have been fully appropriated, allocated, and committed through internal IWPR and USG procedures. While it is anticipated that these procedures will be successfully completed, potential applicants are hereby notified of these requirements and conditions for award. Applications are submitted at the risk of the applicant. All preparation and submission costs are at the applicant's expense. All applicants must have a valid DUNS number.

The successful organisation will be responsible for ensuring achievement of the program objectives. An award will be made to the applicant whose application best meets the requirements of this NOFO. IWPR reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. 

IWPR will confirm receipt of all proposals and their eligibility.

Application Deadline: COB (EST) March 26, 2021

Principals only. No calls please. Women and minorities encouraged to apply. Only those who have been selected for interviews will be contacted. IWPR will never ask for payment for recruitment.

This position description is not an exhaustive list of all functions that the incumbent is expected to perform, but is instead a summary of the primary responsibilities and requirements of the job. The incumbent may be asked to perform duties not included in this position description. IWPR reserves the right to revise position descriptions at any time based on changes to the required job responsibilities. Staff will be informed of any changes to their job responsibilities.

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