Call for proposals for 2024 Capacity Enhancement Support Programme

CESP aims to strengthen the GBIF network through collaborative projects involving by Participant nodes
DEADLINE: 18 June 2024


GBIF invites current GBIF participants (both voting and associate) to submit concept notes for project funding through the Capacity Enhancement Support Programme (CESP), which enables collaboration between GBIF participants to address identified needs at regional and global levels.

Deadline for submitting concept notes through the GBIF Grants Portal: 18 June 2024, 23:59 CEST (UTC+2)

This call aligns with the GBIF Capacity Development Framework. It focuses on enhancing the long-term capacity of participants to benefit from and contribute to GBIF's mission to mobilize the data, skills and technologies needed to make comprehensive biodiversity information freely available for science and decisions addressing biodiversity loss and sustainable development.

Project proposals must target specific capacity needs identified by the participants themselves and be aligned with one or more of the objectives in the 2024 Nodes implementation plan. GBIF encourages all participants to complete a capacity self-assessment to help identify capacity strengths and needs.

Project proposals must be based on collaborative actions, led by a GBIF participant node, where the results will benefit the GBIF community. They can involve one or more of the following types of action eligible for support:

  1. Mentoring activities: Interactions among two or more participants where the core objective is the transfer of information, technology, experience and best practices in small groups.
  2. Support for regional events and training workshops: Courses and workshops with a regional (multi-national) component to enhance the capacity of individuals or networks to contribute to and benefit from GBIF.
  3. Documentation: Production of key learning and promotional resources or their adaptation to the national or regional context (e.g., by translation or including local/regional perspectives). The GBIF Secretariat advocates digital-first documentation to provide technical guidance and support training and skills development across GBIF's communities of practice. The key features of this system include standardized documentation, routine updates, versioning, translations, community input, peer review, and searchable format.
  4. Other capacity development collaborations: Actions led by at least one GBIF participant aligned with the objectives stated in the 2024 Nodes implementation plan that will contribute to the development of capacity within the GBIF network.

The maximum funding request is €20,000 per project.

Application timeline

  • Concept notes must be submitted by 18 June, 23:59 CEST (UTC +2) through the GBIF Grants Portal.
  • Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent to selected applicants by August 2024.
  • The outcomes of the final review and selection will be communicated to applicants by end October 2024.
  • Funded projects are expected to start in December 2024 with a project implementation period of maximum 18 months (1 December, 2024 - 31 May, 2026). We recommend taking the general calendar of GBIF-related activities into account when planning events.

General guidelines for preparing applications

  • Start your draft application as early as possible. Start preparing your project using a draft application form in the GBIF Grants Portal so you and your partners are aware of the format and requirements. You can save your draft application in the portal and return to edit it until you are ready to submit it.
  • Project proposals must be jointly prepared by all project collaborators (all partners and the applicant).
  • Inform all the node managers concerned. Node managers play a critical role in coordinating GBIF-related activities within their networks. If a proposal involves institutions located in a country that participates in GBIF, the applicant should either include the node manager of that GBIF Participant country as a project partner or inform them about the proposed project. On submission, the GBIF Secretariat will send a copy of the proposal to all listed project collaborators and the node managers of Participant countries involved.
  • Ensure that your project meets the eligibility criteria and aligns well with the overall objectives for the programme. Consider also the selection criteria mentioned below. These will decide whether you will be invited to submit a full proposal.
  • Be brief. Your project must be described in the application form, respecting the character limits for each section. We cannot guarantee that any supplementary information provided as attachments will be reviewed.
  • Send any questions early. You are welcome to send questions or requests for assistance with the GBIF Grants Portal to allowing reasonable time to receive a response ahead of the submission deadline.
  • Submit on time. Remember to click the submit button once your draft application is complete. The deadlines for submissions are hard deadlines, and drafts that have not been submitted by the deadline will not be reviewed.

Eligibility criteria

Activities funded under the CESP programme must comply with all the following eligibility criteria.

General eligibility requirements

  • Concept notes and full proposals must be submitted in English through the GBIF Grants Portal by the stated deadlines.
  • All data mobilized through the CESP grants, as well as any other products of the projects, such as training material, must be made available under either a CC0 1.0 waiver or CC-BY 4.0 licence.

Eligibility of applicants

  • Applications must be submitted by a Head of Delegation or a Node Manager, representing a current GBIF Participant (either voting or associate).
  • Applicants must be in good standing with GBIF (i.e., the applicant must have no overdue or missing reports and/or deliverables, nor unreturned funds from previous projects funded under GBIF-led programmes).
  • The applicant will be responsible for the management, implementation and reporting of the grant on behalf of all project partners. We expect that the applicant is located in the country where the majority of the activities are scheduled to take place. Should this not be the case, a rationale explaining this decision should be included in the concept note.
  • The applicant's institution must be able to sign a grant agreement and receive funds in Euros.
  • Applicants must commit cofunding (in-kind or cash) to their projects. Cofunding refers to real costs that are incurred by the applicants while executing the funded project's activities. These could be in-kind contributions that directly contribute to the project activities (like staff salaries, travel costs etc.) or any in-cash contributions to CESP activities from other funding sources. Note that activities and deliverables must not be dependent on cofunding from unconfirmed additional grant applications.

Use of funds

  • All CESP funded activities must be not-for-profit.
  • Note that CESP funds cannot be used to pay for overheads, which include costs that cannot be directly attributed to the activities of the project, e.g. bank fees, compensation for any exchange rate losses, postal/courier service costs, or reimbursable taxes*.
  • CESP funds cannot be used to pay for expenses related to the purchase of IT hardware, laboratory equipment and services, costs related to field work and/or the collection of new field data, or laboratory research to capture new data.

*) Tax is a non-eligible expense if it can be claimed back through national authorities. If this is not possible for your institution, tax becomes an eligible expense.

Eligibility requirements at full proposal stage

If invited to submit a full proposal:

  • Applicants must provide plans to ensure sustainability of activities after project support from CESP concludes.
  • Applicants must provide a written confirmation in the form of a letter of their institution's tax status and that their institution is capable and willing to start and 'prefinance' scheduled activities in advance of receiving grant funds. This must be submitted through the GBIF Grants Portal.

About the GBIF Grants Portal

Applicants who do not already have a GBIF Grants Portal account should register and create one as early as possible, as the account verification process can take up to two (2) working days. Any requests/enquiries sent to should be responded to within three (3) working days.

Application process and selection criteria

Applications for CESP grants follow a two-stage process:

Stage 1

Concept notes submitted through the GBIF Grants Portal will be screened to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and fall within the scope of the programme. In addition, the GBIF Secretariat will send a copy of the proposal to all listed project collaborators and the node managers of Participant countries involved for their reference. Eligible proposals will be reviewed independently by three reviewers and scored against the following selection criteria:

  • Relevance, urgency and scale of the targeted capacity needs
  • Perceived effectiveness of the partnership and proposal to address the declared needs
  • Number of GBIF Participants benefiting from the project
  • Expected value of the project's deliverables to the project team and broader GBIF community
  • Likelihood of the project achieving sustainable results
  • Cost-effectiveness (including level of cofunding)
  • Alignment with the current Nodes Implementation Plan and GBIF Work Programme

A panel convened by the GBIF Secretariat, including external experts, then evaluates the concept notes based on scoring and comments provided by the reviewers, before recommending which applicants should be invited to submit a full proposal. In addition to the guidance provided by the reviewers, this panel may take the following criteria into account in its recommendations:

  • Geographic and thematic balance, to ensure that invited proposals meet broader objectives of facilitating collaboration at regional and global levels
  • Expected benefits to the broader GBIF community
  • A suitable balance of projects that build on the activities of previous grantees and those that bring together new project teams

Stage 2

Applicants recommended by the selection panel are invited to submit a full proposal separately through the GBIF Grants Portal. The invitation may be accompanied by recommendations or specific conditions communicated by the selection panel. These may include feedback on the detail of the concept note, or recommendations regarding the suggested use of CESP funds. The response to the panel's feedback will be used in the evaluation of the full proposal in addition to the selection criteria listed above.

Full proposals are submitted to the same process as the concept note, i.e., independent review and scoring by three reviewers, and evaluation by the selection panel. As in the first stage, final recommendations for funding may take account of geographic and thematic balance, as well as the balance between experienced and new project teams, to ensure the best overall impact of the annual funding round.