(closed) Call for proposals for the 2021 Capacity Enhancement Support Programme

Co-funding opportunity for collaborative projects targeting capacity enhancement and exchange to strengthen the GBIF network. Deadline: 02 February 2021, 23:59 CET (UTC +1)

Nymphaea pubescens
Pink water-lily (Nymphaea pubescens) observed in Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by David Thomas. Photo via iNaturalist CC BY-NC 4.0)

GBIF invites the submission of concept notes for project funding from current GBIF voting and associate Participants through the Capacity Enhancement Support Programme (CESP), which aims to address specific needs identified by GBIF Participants by facilitating collaboration at regional and global levels.

Focusing on enhancing the long-term capacity of Participants to benefit from and contribute to GBIF’s mission to provide free and open access to biodiversity data, this call is aligned with the GBIF Capacity Enhancement Framework. GBIF encourages all Participants to complete capacity self-assessments to help identify capacity strengths and needs. Project proposals must target specific capacity needs identified by the Participants themselves and be aligned with one or more of the tasks in the GBIF Implementation Plan 2017-2022 and Annual Work Programme 2021” (please refer to the “Overview of 2021 Work Items”).

Project proposals must be based on one or more of the following three types of action eligible for support. Please note that each type of action has an indicative funding limit, and proposals intending to exceed these limits should include a justification for doing so.

  1. Mentoring activities: Interactions among two or more GBIF Participants where the core objective is the transfer of information, technology, experience and best practices in small groups. Indicative funding limit: €15,000 per project.
  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. Indicative funding limit: €15,000 per project.
  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). It is important to note that the GBIF Secretariat is actively coordinating a system for the development and update of documentation under the guidance of an editorial panel. The key features of this system include standardized documentation, routine updates, versioning, translations, community input, peer review, and searchable format. Indicative funding limit: €5,000 per project.

The maximum funding request is €15,000 per project.

Application timeline

  • Concept notes must be submitted by 02 February 2021, 23:59 CET (UTC +1) through the GBIF Grants Portal.
  • Selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals by end March 2021.
  • Following a final review and selection, funded projects are expected to start in August 2021 with a project implementation period of maximum 12 months (01 August 2021 – 31 July 2022). We recommend taking the general calendar of GBIF-related activities into account when planning events.

General recommendations for preparing concept notes

  • Ensure that your project meets the eligibility criteria and aligns well with the overall objectives for the programme. Consider also the evaluation criteria mentioned in the application process. These will decide whether you will be invited to submit a full proposal.
  • Be brief. Try to provide the shortest responses possible and only add background information if really needed, using links to external resources rather than long explanations.
  • Review the FAQs. The FAQ page will be updated throughout the project application period. Send any unanswered questions to CESP@gbif.org
  • Submit on time. The deadline for submissions is a hard deadline, and projects received late or incomplete will not be reviewed.

General eligibility criteria

All activities funded under the CESP programme must comply with the following general eligibility criteria:

  • Concept notes and full proposals must be submitted in English through the GBIF Grants Portal by the stated deadlines.
  • Applicants and partners must be in good standing with GBIF (i.e. all parties involved in the project proposal have no overdue or missing reports and/or deliverables from previous projects funded under a programme led by GBIF).
  • Applications must be made by representatives of current GBIF Participants (both voting and associated partners): Applications can be submitted by (1) a GBIF Head of delegation, (2) a GBIF Node manager, or (3) a representative of an institution located in a GBIF participant country only if the application includes a letter of endorsement from the GBIF Head of delegation or Node manager.
  • The applicant, who is also identified as project lead and primary contact for the project, will be responsible for the management, implementation and reporting of the grant on behalf of all project partners. We expect that the project lead 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 is required in the concept note.
  • Project partners may be (1) representatives of GBIF Participant nodes, or (2) other institutions from GBIF Participant countries having informed the Node Manager of their participation in a project proposal, or (3) institutions from non-GBIF Participant countries only if all costs related to their engagement are covered with co-funding.
  • Project proposals must be jointly prepared by all project collaborators (all partners and the applicant).
  • Applicants must commit co-funding (in-kind or cash) to their projects and provide details of this co-funding in their concept notes and full proposals. Co-funding 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. The level of this co-funding will be taken into account when evaluating cost-effectiveness.
  • CESP funding can only be used for expenses relating to current GBIF Participants and the three types of action (mentoring activities, support for regional events and training workshops, and documentation).
  • All CESP funded activities must be not-for-profit. CESP funds may be used to support staff time, travel and costs associated with the organization of meetings and workshops.
  • Due to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic, project proposals may not include plans or costs for international travel during 2021. CESP projects may request funding to cover up to a maximum of 50% of the costs of IT services required for virtual events, up to a maximum of €1,000.
  • Project proposals may include plans and costs relating to international travel taking place within the eligible implementation period in 2022, only when accompanied by clear contingency plans. Costs relating to within-country travel and physical workshops may be included throughout the implementation period, but should be accompanied by risk mitigation plans in case severe national restrictions are put in force.
  • 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 transfer fees, exchange rate fees, Value Added Tax (VAT), postal/courier costs. CESP funds also cannot be used to pay for expenses related to the purchase of IT hardware or for expenses related to non-GBIF Participants. Such expenses may be included in a project plan if they are covered with alternative sources.
  • If invited to submit a full proposal, applicants must prepare a detailed budget.
  • If invited to submit a full proposal, applicants must provide plans to ensure sustainability of activities after project support from CESP concludes.
  • If invited to submit a full proposal, each named project partner must provide written confirmation in the form of a letter, which includes stating their involvement and specific role in the project. These letters must be submitted through the GBIF Grants Portal.
  • If invited to submit a full proposal, all GBIF Participants who will benefit from the project must complete a capacity self-assessment. If selected for funding, this will also form part of the reporting process.
  • 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.

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 CESP@gbif.org 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

The project lead submits a concept note through the GBIF Grants Portal, which will be screened to ensure that it meets general eligibility criteria and that it falls within the scope of the programme. If it passes these tests, the concept note is 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 proposal to address the declared needs
  • Expected value of the project’s deliverables
  • Likelihood of the project achieving sustainable results
  • Cost-effectiveness (including factors such as the number of GBIF Participants benefiting from the project, matching funds leveraged (co-funding), etc.)
  • Alignment with the current GBIF Work Programme

A panel convened by 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
  • Potential for concept notes with similar objectives, focus and/or overlapping partners to combine into a single submission at full proposal stage

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 from reviewers on the detail of the concept note, recommendations regarding the budget or suggestions relating to the possible pairing of the project with another submitted concept note. The response to this feedback will be an additional criterion used to evaluate the full proposal.

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.

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