Call for proposals to scope future framework of the alliance for biodiversity knowledge (closed)

Contractor to analyse and assess progress to date and propose governance models to consolidate and prepare the alliance for its next phase: DEADLINE: 21 May 2022

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Strawberry spiderhead (Serruria aemula), observed in South Africa. Photo 2015 Rolf Theodor Borlinghaus via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world's governments aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth.

GBIF also convenes the alliance for biodiversity knowledge (the alliance), an umbrella framework for aligning investments in biodiversity informatics to support science and society.The alliance is open to all institutions, agencies, organisations, researchers and communities whose work measures and monitors biodiversity or depends on current, accurate and comprehensive information about biodiversity.

The alliance is a coordination mechanism for developing shared road maps for biodiversity informatics. As such, it acts as an incubator or broker capable of bringing together or preserving critical infrastructure for the biodiversity informatics community. Organized around the GBIO Framework, it functions as a coordination mechanism for scaling up or solidifying key infrastructure elements needed to deliver biodiversity data, information and knowledge and to maximise the impact of FAIR and open data in research and policy.

To date, the alliance has received signatures of support from a broad range of partner institutions and organisations in 41 countries. It has also provided the framework for collaborations and consultations that demand a shared vision and understanding for stakeholders to develop and integrate pilot projects across several thematic areas.

The GBIF Secretariat is now seeking a contractor to analyse and assess progress to date and to propose potential governance models that can help GBIF consolidate and prepare the alliance for its next phase. Proposals are due by 21 May 2022 at 17:00 CEST (UTC+2).

Procurement purpose

GBIF, as an effective convenor across the global bioinformatics community, now seeks to consolidate the work to date on the alliance and establish the long-term structure necessary to function as an effective research and development incubator.

During its next five-year strategic framework, GBIF aims to position the alliance to:

  • Scale up and keep pace with demands to align for research-for-development solutions and meet the growing needs of its community
  • Provide an incubation mechanism for development of biodiversity informatics road maps
  • Strengthen means of participation across existing signatories and communities to achieve critical technical milestones
  • Increase capacity to address emerging issues through ongoing projects and tool development
  • Create synergies leading to greater impact

This work will provide the foundation for developing long-term administration and coordination of the alliance. It will provide GBIF with an analysis that:

  • Assesses the completeness of stakeholders and develops a prioritized framework for outreach and engagement
  • Strengthen the understanding and vision of the alliance and provide communication of value to key stakeholders, including existing signatories and partners, aligned organizations, research communities and potential funders
  • Develop a model of governance capable of managing a pipeline of investment and ongoing activities

The selected contractor will develop options for future governance models and, in conjunction with the GBIF Secretariat, advise on steps to consolidate the progress to date.

Approach and methods

The framework should prompt questions that enable GBIF to evaluate its effectiveness across impact areas and explore:

  • Analyse current work
    • Assess and consolidate work to date to review outputs both executed and planned, including input into road maps
    • Document processes used to deliver outcomes, including where affiliated projects or institutions provided support or leverage
    • Assess current alliance partner opportunities
  • Analysis of partners, both as signatories and as participants in alliance-organized activities, taking into account and identifying the types of workstreams, current areas of strength and opportunities for growth
    • Analysis of likely dependencies on outputs of alliance-related activities with conclusions on priority activities
    • Conduct a needs assessment across partners to contribute to a potential list of foundational workstreams
  • Recommendations
    • Provide options for governance to support the alliance, its goals and its principles
    • Identify effective approaches for stakeholder management
    • Outline options for an alliance project office

Deliverables and timelines

Tenderers should submit a plan for the project that responds to this call and includes target dates for meetings with the project lead and steering group and delivery dates for draft and final versions of the project deliverables.

The table below sets out delivery of key outputs. The dates for the final project output are fixed and must be completed by January 2023. However, some flexibility exists in the precise timing and sequence of interim deliverables, which the contractor can set out in their proposed timetable for delivery. The contractor must also present a pricing schedule alongside each deliverable in the tender.

Project milestone Detail Date
Project inception meeting and agreement of methodology Meeting to discuss the proposed approach to the project.
The bidder should confirm their representative(s)’s availability to attend a virtual project inception meeting in the invitation to tender.
Deliverable 1
Project Plan
A project plan delivered to the GBIF Project Officer, following the Inception Meeting. This plan will set out the methodology for key areas of examination, tasks, dependencies and project timeline. The plan will also clarify any key decision points and when detailed input from the GBIF Secretariat and associated stakeholders is required. tbd
Deliverable 2
Interim Presentation and review of progress
An interim (virtual) presentation on methods, progress and issues to date.
Agree to design principles of the assessment, including any online workshop/survey (or other methods), for the purposes of discussion and feedback
Deliverable 3
Draft report/assessment
A draft assessment report, which includes any online workshop/survey results used in analysis Oct 2022
Deliverable 4
Final report/assessment
Final assessment/report including evaluation principles, details on methodology, data requirements and modelling developed Jan 2023

Project duration and process

We expect the contract to be signed by the end of May 2022. The GBIF Secretariat will work with the contractor to agree on the final process and deadline(s) for each deliverable. We would expect a full draft to be ready for presentation at the GBIF Governing Board in October 2022.

Selection criteria

The Contract will be awarded to the contractor who offers the most economically advantageous Tender based on the award criteria listed below:

  • The quality of the methodology proposed and the planning for implementing the future framework (50%)
  • The competence of the designated team in the relevant fields for conducting the future framework – breadth and depth and overall experience (20%)
  • Value for money (30%)

Deadline and delivery

Proposals must be received by the GBIF Secretariat by 21 May 2022 at 17:00 CEST (UTC+2). Tenders should be submitted via email to with the subject line, "Call for proposals: alliance for biodiversity knowledge – /contractor name/”

The contractor carries the risk of errors or delays in submitting and sending the tender.

Team profile

The consultant or consultancy team should have previous experience in conducting external evaluations and governance reviews. The consultant should demonstrate experience in fields related to alliance strategic areas, including open science, research and innovation, and relevant scientific themes, as well as an understanding of the value of FAIR and open data.

Candidates are expected to have an understanding, without being experts, in distributed data infrastructures and networks and the field of biodiversity informatics, particularly within the context of biodiversity data needed to support the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and progress towards relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Tender documents

Proposals should be submitted in a tender document of up to four (4) A4 pages.

The tender document should address the issues mentioned in the procurement purpose and be submitted as a single file in pdf format and signed digitally by a person authorized to sign on behalf of the contractor.

An optional CV of the consultant(s) may be attached in a second PDF file.
The financial section of the proposal must include a detailed estimate of costs for the services rendered (based on daily fee rates per category of expert). Given the COVID-19 situation and the nature of the assignment, we expect all meetings and interviews to be conducted virtually. Should the contractor be requested to attend a meeting in person (e.g. to present the results), the costs will be covered separately by the GBIF coordinator.

Project Governance

Contractors should identify individuals who will manage the research and identify the lead contact for day-to-day contact with the GBIF project lead. The GBIF Secretariat envisions bi-weekly ‘stand-up’ calls between the lead contact and the project lead to discuss progress in the work and any upcoming deadlines or potential issues.

Short progress reports at regular points throughout the contract will also be required. These should summarize progress in achieving objectives and the projected work plan, identify problems encountered and propose any revisions to the plan. The contractor’s lead contact will be expected to attend progress meetings as required (online). Bidders should propose an appropriate schedule for progress reports linked to the project plan.

The GBIF Secretariat will oversee the work of the contractor, but the conclusions of the assessment will be fully independent, with GBIF’s editorial role limited to reviewing and assisting with factual accuracy, where necessary. The contractor will share draft reports and analysis with the Secretariat as required throughout the process.

During the project, the contractor shall submit the following reports in English:

  • A methodological note for the project plan including a detailed timetable, within four weeks of the signature of the contract
  • An interim progress report detailing draft content structure for GBIF to provide feedback on approach at the two-month mark
  • A full draft for the purposes of suggested feedback with regard to factual corrections or clarifications that GBIF may wish to provide

Fee schedule and payments

The contract will be assigned on a fixed-price basis. Provided that the scope of the contract remains unaltered, the all-inclusive price for the contract will not be subject to review, amendment or alteration.

Bidders should note as a guide that the anticipated budget is €20,000 to €25,000 inclusive. This figure may give an indication of the depth and breadth of the study and the resources required to complete the work.

Bidders should provide a breakdown showing the allocation of all key individual members of the proposed team across different components of the project.

Payments will be made by milestones. Proposals should include a suggested invoicing schedule based on milestones identified in the programme of work.