The Land Deal Politics Initiative

LDPI Small Grant Competition Part 2 – 2011-12: Call for applications
13 October 2011

The Land Deal Politics Initiative calls for applications to their small grant competition. Grants are available to undertake original field research, carry out follow up fieldwork on an ongoing related initiative, or write up a paper based on research. 

For all relevant detailed information see the attached pdf.

A convergence of factors has been driving a revaluation of land by powerful economic and political actors. This is occurring across the world, but especially in the global South. As a result, we are seeing a dramatic rise in the extent of cross-border, transnational corporation-driven and, in some cases foreign government-driven, large-scale land deals unfolding worldwide. The phrase ‘global land grab’ has become a catch-all phrase to describe this explosion of (trans)national commercial land transactions revolving around the production and sale of food and biofuels, conservation and mining activities.

Encouraged by the success of last year’s LDPI small grant competition, and confronted by the challenge of having a deeper understanding of the dynamics of land grabbing, LDPI is launching a Small Grants Competition Part 2: 2011-12. Grants of up to US$3000 per study are available to successful applicants who wish to undertake original field research, carry out follow up fieldwork on an ongoing related initiative, or write up a paper based on research that is being/has been undertaken on any of the following themes (or combinations). 

For the 2011-12 small grants competition, we are particularly keen on themes around resistance and alternatives – although we remain open to broader topics around political economy, political ecology and political sociology.

The research must be original, policy-relevant and based on detailed, case-specific field study. General review papers will not be accepted. Final papers will be around 10,000 words long, and guidelines for their production will be issued to successful grant holders. The final papers will become part of an international series (the LDPI working paper series) that will be published on the internet and widely disseminated among regional and international research institutions, donor community, policy makers’ circles, NGOs, and agrarian movements – with the possibility of more formal academic publication, either in an edited volume or a special issue of a journal.

To be eligible:

  • The applicant must a doctoral or post-doctoral (graduating within the last five years) researcher.
  • Non-doctoral/non-postdoctoral researchers may apply but will have a different requirement – see further below. 
  • The research must be based on recent (over the last 5 years), field-based, site-specific research.

Short proposals (500 words maximum) for the research/paper must be submitted by email to by 15 December 2011, together with a short CV. For non-doctoral/non-postdoctoral applicant, a longer proposal is required, at 1,500 words, together with the names of two referees.

A review committee, drawn from the sponsoring institutions, will award small grants in January 2012. Successful applicants will have until 31 July 2012 to complete a paper. All papers will be peer-reviewed and final versions will be submitted before 30 September 2012. Papers will be published (electronic format only) in the LDPI working paper series. Some papers might be selected for presentation at the LDPI International Conference on Global Land Grabbing in October 2012 in Cornell University. Details about this conference will be released soon.

The ‘Land Deal Politics Initiative’ (LDPI) is initially a joint effort of Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS) and the Resource, Environment and Livelihoods (RELIVE) Research Cluster at the International Institute of Social Studies (Saturnino ‘Jun’ Borras Jr. – the LDPI international secretariat, and Ben White), the Future Agricultures Consortium at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex (Ian Scoones), the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape (Ruth Hall), and the Polson Institute for Global Development at Cornell University (Wendy Wolford).

More on the LDPI can be found at

For additional information, you may contact one of the LDPI convenors:

  • Saturnino (‘Jun’) Borras Jr.,
  • Ruth Hall,
  • Ian Scoones,
  • Ben White,
  • Wendy Wolford,

Painting: Deep South by William H. Johnson