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British Council

What is the opportunity?  

The British Council wishes to commission research and analysis from an academic institution, think tank or consultant/expert (or a consortium of these) which enables a comparator analysis based on understanding the history, origins and motivations behind the establishment and evolution of international cultural relations/soft power organisations in a small number of focus countries. 

The study should focus on a minimum of ten states, including the UK itself. Previous British Council studies have included Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA. The core of the existing dataset are the networks of the P5 states (China, France, Russia, the UK and USA) and providing updated data on these is a mandatory requirement. 

Research objectives:

The primary focus of the study is international cultural relations institutions broadly analogous to the British Council. By way of example for France the data should include AEFE, the Alliance Française, Campus France and the Institut Français, as seen in 2020’s Soft power and cultural relations institutions in a time of crisis report. In addition, data on the international broadcasting activities of the focus countries. 

In addition to the high-level data collection on operating models, reach and networks highlighted above the study should also include an in-depth comparison of the nature, scale and impact of the soft power activities of each of the focus countries in five key priority markets for the British Council: Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. 

The purpose here is to examine the relationship between inputs and demonstrable influence and impact. Note that while we are particularly interested in the five markets listed above, we will consider alternative suggestions. If making a case for alternative market case studies please present a clear rationale for doing so, e.g. the country/market is a key ‘swing state’ in the Indo- Pacific, and of great strategic significance to the UK Government. 

Qualifications required:

  • Experience in delivering reviews and recommendations for large international organisation
  • Demonstrably strong analytical, writing and communication skills
  • Strong understanding of cultural relations, soft power and their role in international relations and foreign policy
  • Strong understanding of the UK political context, particularly around international relations and foreign policy
  • Offering good value for money
  • Ability to deliver on tight time frames and meet deadlines.

Outputs and deadlines:

The selected supplier(s) will be expected to engage closely with British Council colleagues and stakeholders throughout the research. This approach will help to determine the exact focus of the research and its outputs.

Outputs from the research process are expected to include:

  • A review of academic literature and data
  • Identification and use of publicly available datasets
  • Gathering of data from online/published official documents by relevant governments and institutions
  • A detailed exposition of each comparison country’s approach and comparative analysis of relative inputs vs outputs of each of the focus countries efforts in the five key priority markets.
  • A comparison of the relative strengths and limitations of the different models
  • Identification of the implications for the UK.

Final deliverables for the project are expected to include:

  • A report which lays out clearly the profiles, comparison, analysis key findings and conclusions
  • An accompanying document (or files) which provide all the qualitative and quantitative data gathered
  • Comprehensive referencing of all the data sources used
  • Attendance by researchers at a roundtable to present the findings and receive feedback from the British Council and stakeholders.

How to apply:

A full outline of the proposal request, the instructions for responding and evaluation criteria are available as part of the tender opportunity on our procurement portal, reference number BC/02153.

RFP Issued to bidding suppliers: Friday 12 November 2021 

Deadline for clarification questions (Clarification Deadline): Friday 19 November 2021 

British Council to respond to clarification questions: Friday 26 November 2021 

Deadline for submission of Proposals by potential suppliers (Response Deadline): Friday 3 December 2021 

Final Decision: Wednesday 15 December 2021 

Contract concluded with winning supplier: Monday 20 December 2021 

Contract start date Wednesday 5 January 2022.