(closed) New call to promote the mobilization and use of biodiversity data in Asia

Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia (BIFA) programme invites new round of proposals from the region. Deadline: 09 February 2021, 23:59 CET (UTC +1)

Pteropus giganteus
Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) observed in Kadma, India by A Singhamahapatra. Photo via iNaturalist (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Note: This call is closed.

GBIF invites the submission of concept notes for projects that enhance knowledge of Asian biodiversity through access to data from biological collections and monitoring programmes in the region.

The call is issued under the sixth phase of the Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia (BIFA) programme, funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan. It aims to address key challenges and priorities identified in connection with the mobilization and use of biodiversity data in the region. The total funding assigned to this call is approximately €220,000.

Applicants may request a maximum of €20,000 for projects implemented over a maximum period of 18 months.

This call seeks to support projects that

  • Strengthen the capacity of institutions in the target countries to manage and mobilize biodiversity data
  • Mobilize primary data on Asian biodiversity, with a preference given to the mobilization of:
    • Data relating to the hosts, reservoirs or vectors of zoonotic diseases
    • Data derived from DNA, for example metabarcoding and eDNA projects
    • Data mobilized by the private sector through environmental impact assessments or other monitoring activities
  • Increase open data on Asian biodiversity to fill taxonomic and geographic gaps, within and beyond the grant period

Two types of grants are included in the call:

  1. BIFA collections data mobilization grants that target Asia’s natural history collections, to fill taxonomic and geographic gaps in freely-accessible data relating to Asian biodiversity.
  2. BIFA ecological monitoring data mobilization grants that target Asian biodiversity monitoring programmes and networks.

These grants are open to institutions based in eligible countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Northeast Asia. Concept notes must be submitted through the GBIF Grants Portal by 09 February 2021. Following evaluation of the concept notes, GBIF will invite applicants successful in this round to submit a full proposal.

For any additional information or questions, please contact BIFA@gbif.org.


Available grant types

BIFA collections data mobilization grants

These grants target Asia’s natural history collections to fill taxonomic and geographic gaps in freely accessible data relating to Asian biodiversity

Purpose

The BIFA collections data mobilization grant is targeted at projects that focus on Asia’s natural history collections. They should address the priority challenge for GBIF in Asia of filling taxonomic and geographical gaps in the availability of accessible data on the occurrence of species in the region. The following activities are envisaged under this type of grant:

  • Digitizing and publishing georeferenced species occurrence data based on specimens held in Asian collections
  • Organizing workshops(s) aiming to enhance national or regional capacity within biodiversity data mobilization

Learn more about the relevant data types and the process of publishing data through the GBIF network.

The GBIF Secretariat welcomes proposals from any natural history collection institution that is a legal entity in any Asian country eligible for BIFA grants and complying with BIFA eligibility criteria.

Joint efforts between institutions targeting national, regional or priority thematic data mobilization are encouraged.

BIFA ecological monitoring data mobilization grants

These grants target Asian biodiversity monitoring programmes and networks, including monitoring carried out for the purposes of environmental impact assessments, and monitoring using metabarcoding (eDNA) techniques

Purpose

BIFA ecological monitoring data mobilization grants target the various institutions, projects and networks in Asia engaged in surveys and inventories of biodiversity using standardized methodologies and protocols. They should address the priority regional challenge for GBIF in Asia of filling taxonomic and geographical gaps in the availability of accessible data on the occurrence of species in the region, including relative abundance and changes over time. The following activities are envisaged under this type of grant:

  • Mobilizing species occurrence and sampling-event data from observation networks and monitoring systems
  • Organizing workshops(s) aiming to enhance national or regional capacity within biodiversity data mobilization

Learn more about the relevant data types and the process of publishing data through the GBIF network.

The GBIF Secretariat welcomes proposals for mobilizing ecological monitoring data from any institution, NGO or network that is a legal entity in any Asian country eligible for BIFA grants and complying with BIFA eligibility criteria.

Efforts targeting national, regional or priority thematic data mobilization are encouraged.

Available Funding

A maximum of €20,000 may be requested through a BIFA grant. All proposals must include co-funding from other sources, either directly or in-kind including staff time. No overheads¹, fieldwork and/or the collection of new field data may be charged to BIFA. As part of the grant request, up to a maximum of €1,000 may be requested for IT, electronic and laboratory equipment, as well as bioinformatics and sequencing services to process existing materials², covering up to a maximum of 50% of the cost of each item or service order.

Data mobilization priorities under the sixth phase of the BIFA programme

In accordance with the data mobilization priorities identified by the GBIF network in the GBIF 2021 Work Programme, proposals that include the mobilization of one or more of the following data streams will be prioritized during the selection process:

Application Timeline

Initial concept notes must be submitted by 09 February 2021, 23:59 CET (UTC +1) through the GBIF Grants Portal.

Selected applicants will be invited in the second quarter of 2021 to submit full proposals.

Following a final review and selection, funded projects are expected to start in September 2021 with a project implementation period of maximum 18 months (01 September 2021 – 28 February 2023).

Selected projects will be required to nominate a project team member to attend a virtual data mobilization workshop organized by the BIFA programme and obtain certification for the skills acquired. This workshop is expected to take place in November 2021. Note that the cost of participation in this workshop will be met separately from the BIFA programme. However, workshop participants nominated by funded projects are expected to contribute time to attend.

General recommendations for preparing concept notes

  • Ensure that your project meets the eligibility criteria and aligns well with the overall objectives for the programme and the chosen grant type.
  • Consider the evaluation criteria mentioned in the application process, as 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 BIFA@gbif.org.
  • Submit on time. The deadline for submissions is a hard deadline after which you will not be able to submit applications through the GBIF Grants Portal.

General eligibility criteria

All activities funded under the BIFA 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 must be legal entities located in an eligible Asian country. Such entities include national government agencies, GBIF Participant nodes and their host institutions, natural history museums and collections, research institutes, universities, networks and NGOs, etc.
  • Applicants must be in good standing with GBIF (i.e. the lead institution submitting the project proposal has no overdue or missing reports and/or deliverables from previous projects funded under a programme led by GBIF).
  • No applications for funding a third year of a continuing BIFA project will be considered eligible. Applicants from projects that have already received a second BIFA grant for a follow-up project may, however, submit new proposals that differ substantially from the scope and objectives of the original project and follow-up.
  • Data mobilized by BIFA-funded projects should be principally within the target countries.
  • All projects must include a major component of data mobilization through the GBIF network. It is expected that most BIFA funding is directed towards data mobilization. As a guideline, the amount of BIFA funding spent on data mobilization activities should not be less than 60% of the total grant.
  • All data mobilized through the BIFA grants, as well as any other products of the projects, such as training material, must be made available under a CC0 1.0 waiver or CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  • All proposed project activities must fall within the stated implementation periods for each grant type.
  • Fieldwork and/or the collection of new field data are not eligible costs under the BIFA programme – although such activities may be included in a project plan if funded by alternative sources.
  • Due to the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, project proposals may not include plans or costs for international travel during 2021.
  • 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.
  • All BIFA funded activities must be not-for-profit, although private companies and consultancies may be included as project partners.
  • 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 BIFA activities from other funding sources. The level of this co-funding will be taken into account when evaluating the proposal’s cost-effectiveness.
  • Overhead¹ costs may not be charged to BIFA Grants.
  • As part of the grant request, up to a maximum of €1,000 may be requested for IT, electronic and laboratory equipment, as well as bioinformatics and sequencing services to process existing materials², covering up to a maximum of 50% of the cost of each item or service order. Receipts must be provided in financial reports.
  • Applicants from countries or organizations in Asia that already participate in GBIF must include a statement of endorsement from the GBIF Head of Delegation or Node Manager at the concept note stage. Contact information for representatives of GBIF Participant countries and organizations can be found on the Participant pages linked from the Participant list.

If invited to submit a full proposal:

  • Applicants must prepare a detailed budget.
  • Applicants must provide plans to ensure sustainability of activities after project support from BIFA concludes.
  • Each named project partner must provide written confirmation in the form of a letter, which includes stating his or her involvement and specific role in the project. Letters must be submitted through the GBIF Grants Portal.

Application process & selection criteria

Selection of applications for grants from the BIFA programme 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 of the proposal to the purpose and recommended activities of the selected BIFA grant type and to the specific needs of the geographic area(s) targeted, including relevance of the taxonomic group(s) selected for data mobilization
  • Inclusion of one or more of the following data streams in the proposal’s data mobilization plan:
    • Data relating to the hosts, reservoirs or vectors of zoonotic diseases
    • Data derived from DNA³, for example metabarcoding (eDNA) projects
    • Data mobilized by the private sector through environmental impact assessments or other monitoring activities
  • Expected value of the project’s deliverables to both the national and regional context and the broader community of biodiversity information holders and users
  • Coherence and effectiveness of the proposal
  • Likelihood of the project achieving sustainable results
  • Likelihood of projects submitted by GBIF non-participating countries to result in formal GBIF participation or to develop a pathway leading towards participation in GBIF as a result of their project
  • Demonstration of how institutions applying for a follow-up of a BIFA project plan to build on the results from their previous BIFA grant
  • Cost-effectiveness (including factors such as the number of partners benefiting from the project, matching funds leveraged, etc.)
  • Choice and diversity of project partners
  • Level of support demonstrated by confirmation letters from at least some project partners

A Selection 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, the Selection Panel may take the following criteria into account in its recommendations:

  • Geographic and thematic balance, to ensure that invited proposals meet broader objectives of encouraging data mobilization in under-represented countries and/or taxonomic groups
  • A suitable balance of projects that build on the activities of previous grantees and those that introduce new institutions to the GBIF community of practice
  • Potential for concept notes with similar objectives, focus and/or overlapping partners to combine into a single submission at full proposal stage

Stage 2

Candidates 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 possible pairing of the project with another submitted concept note. The response to this feedback is 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.

Eligible countries and areas

Institutions and legal entities located in the following countries/areas are eligible to apply for grant through this BIFA call:

Afghanistan
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Brunei Darussalam
Cambodia
China
India
Indonesia
Japan
Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea, Republic of
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Malaysia
Maldives
Mongolia
Myanmar
Nepal
Pakistan
Philippines
Singapore
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Thailand
Timor-leste
Viet Nam

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 BIFA@gbif.org should be responded to within three (3) working days.

Important links

Footnotes

¹ Overheads include costs that cannot be directly attributed to the activities of the project, e.g. bank fees, exchange rate fees, Value Added Tax (VAT) and postal/courier service costs
² IT, electronic and laboratory equipment and services includes for example:
- Computer equipment, such as laptops, desktop computers, servers, hard drives and printers
- Software licences and subscriptions
- Digital cameras and scanners
- Other electrical equipment and electronics
- Lab equipment including microscopes, equipment necessary for DNA extraction and PCR (such as tabletop centrifuges, PCR machines, electronic pipettes), etc.
- Sequencing services to process existing materials
³ Applicants and especially BIFA grant holders focusing on DNA derived data are advised to consult the guide on Publishing DNA-derived data through biodiversity data platforms. This document will be finalized in the near future, and data publishers are advised to contact GBIF Secretariat for updated recommendations and advice on publishing of DNA-derived data.