The GBIF Secretariat is seeking contractors to support the team developing a community of practice in sub-Saharan Africa through the European Union-funded Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme. Individuals and institutions located in BID-eligible countries in the region will support these efforts by:
- Providing technical help-desk assistance, training and mentoring to support project teams in meeting their goals and objectives on mobilization and use of biodiversity data
- Facilitating exchange of guidance, best practices and expertise between the project teams and other volunteer experts from the broader GBIF community
- Encouraging project-team members’ long-term engagement in the GBIF network
Biodiversity Information for Development, or BID, is a programme funded by the European Union and led by GBIF. The programme aims to enhance capacity for effective mobilization and use of biodiversity data in support of decision- and policymaking for sustainable development.
Funding from BID's first phase supported capacity enhancement activities and projects to mobilize biodiversity data and to strengthen national and regional biodiversity information facilities. The programme’s second phase opened in 2020 with a call for project proposals from sub-Saharan Africa. A set of 19 selected projects under four different grant types will start in April 2021 and run for two years.
GBIF places strong emphasis on capacity enhancement to support the project teams in achieving their goals, recognizing that there are significant challenges to successful implementation of what are often first-time data mobilization projects.
The role of the project support contractors
During BID’s second phase, the regional support contractors will apply their skills and experience in sub-Saharan Africa to provide on-going assistance to the project teams. As well as supplementing the project support already provided by GBIF Secretariat, the contractors will also address the challenges of coordinating project work due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The regional project support approach centres on developing a community of practice involving the members of the funded project teams and the broader GBIF community. The contracted roles will complement but not replace the volunteer mentors, who remain an essential component of GBIF’s capacity enhancement activities. While either individuals or organizations may apply to provide support on a contractual basis, the aim is to create a team of dedicated individuals enhancing the work of the GBIF Secretariat through their presence in and knowledge of the target region.
GBIF’s regional sub-committees serve as platforms for communication, coordination and collaboration among GBIF Participant nodes at the regional level. The contractors will work in collaboration with the GBIF Participant nodes and the elected Regional Representatives to strengthen the coordination of regional participation in GBIF.
Scope of work
The contracted individuals or institutions will support the BID coordination team at the GBIF Secretariat and have responsibility for delivering:
- Regular group meetings with the project teams, supporting the development of the community of practice
- Help desk assistance as the primary technical point of contact assisting with regional data mobilization and data quality issues, in coordination with the relevant GBIF Participant nodes and the GBIF Secretariat Data Products team
- Project mentoring focused on technical support for implementing the project teams’ data mobilization plans
- Support for BID capacity enhancement workshops and project-level replication workshops following the projects’ knowledge dissemination plans
- In coordination with GBIF regional representatives and relevant GBIF Participant nodes, support in recruiting and assigning appropriate mentors to strengthen the community of practice
- Recommendations on future development of the community of practice, including identification of key capacity needs and training opportunities
- Bi-monthly status reports for the BID community of practice summarizing activities undertaken personally and by the community, in addition to participating in regular BID planning meetings involving the GBIF Secretariat and other regional contractors.
Required skills and experience
The ideal contractor would already have substantial experience in data mobilization and publishing through GBIF, and a solid working knowledge of:
- The content, structure and components of the GBIF data infrastructure
- The GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT)
- Relevant standards for data exchange (Darwin Core Archive and EML)
Other required skills
- We are looking for both Francophone and Anglophone consultants. Fluency in English is required as it is the working language of the Secretariat. Additional language skills will be considered an advantage.
- Familiarity with the GBIF network
- Strong communication skills and the ability to provide clear guidance, for example, on technical issues related to data publishing
- The ability to work independently and as part of a team
In addition, the following skills will be considered beneficial in carrying out the work defined effectively:
- Basic project management skills, for example having successfully delivered funded projects
- Experience in training or mentoring
- Experience in setting up and/or updating an IPT
- Relational databases and SQL
- Experience with data processing, working with large data bases
- Basic understanding of JSON web services and their use
- Knowledge of R or Python and APIs
Schedule and time commitments
We expect the contracted work to take no less than 50 per cent full-time equivalent over the contract period. For applications from institutions, we require that the specific contractor is named in the contract and committed to this work for a minimum period of one year, with clear plans for handover should the role be transferred to another individual within the institution after that time.
We expect to issue contracts for regional project support up to two full time equivalents for the Africa region.
Deadline for submission of questions: 5 May 2021
Deadline for submission of proposals: 12 May 2021
Expected start of the contract: ASAP, ideally no later than August 2021
Duration of the contract: 24 months
Delivery of the first report: 31 August 2021 preferred
It is expected that the work is carried out at the home base or host institution of the selected candidate. Applicants must be individuals or institutions located in the BID eligible countries in the region. Please note that applications from overseas territories in the region are not eligible.
Applications from countries or organizations that already participate in GBIF must include a statement of endorsement from the GBIF Head of Delegation or Node Manager. Contact information for representatives of GBIF Participant countries and organizations can be found on the Participant tab of the country pages or from the Participant list.
Applications must be submitted in English through the GBIF Grants Portal before the stated deadline. When completing your application form on the GBIF Grants Portal, you must upload:
- A full CV for the individual submitting the application, or for the individual who would be assigned to the work for institutional applications.
- A letter of support from the host institution, where applicable, indicating links to the GBIF Participant node if located in a country or linked to an organization that already participates in GBIF.
- For applications from countries or organizations that already participate in GBIF, a statement of endorsement from the GBIF Head of Delegation or Node Manager. This can take the form of a letter stating at a minimum that the Head of Delegation or Node Manager is aware of the application and that it appears to fall within the scope of the call.
Questions on the application procedure may be directed to BID_support@gbif.org.
About the GBIF Grants Portal
We highly recommended that applicants create an account in the GBIF Grants Portal as early as possible, as the account verification process can take up to two working days.
Note that if you already have an account in the GBIF Grants Portal, you should use your existing login information. You should not create a new account to apply to this call.
If you need to create an account in the GBIF Grants Portal and you are not currently affiliated with an organization:
- Go to the GBIF Grants Portal and click on “create an account now”.
- Choose “yes” when asked if you represent or are affiliated with an organization or an institution.
- Complete the form indicating your primary contact information.
- In the
Organization Informationsection, indicate the following under organization’s name: ‘Your first name-your last name-Consultant’ and then replicate the information provided in the “Primary Contact Information” section of the form.
A selection committee will involve GBIF Secretariat staff, members of the BID steering committee and GBIF Participant Node Managers Committee.
The applications will be screened to ensure that they meet general eligibility criteria. Those that pass these tests will be scored against the following selection criteria:
- Demonstration of required skills
- Previous relevant experience
- Appreciation of the task
- Potential for lasting impact on the capacity within the region
- Value for money
The selection committee will then evaluate the concept notes based on scoring. The committee may also take the following criteria into account to ensure that the final selection includes a balance in:
- Geographic spread of applicants within the region
- Language skills within the region
- Complementary skill set within the region, e.g. balance of technical and project management skills
Short-listed candidates will be invited to interview in May and June 2021. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate their skills in data mobilization through a practical exercise.
This programme is funded by the European Union.