Frequently Asked Questions

This regularly updated list of FAQs on the 2015 BID call for proposals from Sub-Saharan AFrica includes responses to questions sent to

On developing full proposals

What activities are eligible for funding under the BID programme?

Review both the general and grant-specific eligibility requirements.

All BID-funded activities must be not-for-profit.

Each grant type has specific requirements on categories the planned activities must align with. The additional criteria listed as part of the ‘eligibility criteria’ section in the BID Guidelines documents must also be adhered to.

Overall, BID programme funds may be used to support staff salaries and travel associated with the organization of meetings and workshops. BID funds may be used to cover up to 50% of the costs of any IT services or purchases, relevant to the grant, up to a maximum of:

  • €2,500 of any national grant
  • €2,500 for each consortium partner located in an African ACP country participating in a regional grant.
  • €1,000 of any small grant.

Overhead costs cannot be charged to BID grants. Also, field work to gather new data is not eligible for funding.

Is there a maximum cost per record/specimen for digitization?

The BID programme does not specify digitization costs per record or specimen, as these vary from institution to institution and depend on the nature of the digitization process. However, it is recommended that applicants provide an estimated cost, based on processing costs cited in journals or other published literature, or provide a rough estimation based on previous/pilot experiences, or calculations based on the number of elements to be digitized, and the man-hours and salary required for the digitization effort.

Which types of indicators are used in the GBIF community to evaluate projects like those funded through BID National grants?

GBIF produces automated national reports that provide charts, statistics and other details about the mobilization and use of open-access species data through the GBIF network at global and national scales. The metrics displayed in these reports will be used to track progress at the national level for BID national grants, including for example the amount of data being mobilized by institutions within the country, as well as how complete these data are, and the number of users of GBIF-mediated data from within the country. The specific metrics used in each project will need to be agreed as part of the proposal selection and contract negotiation processes.

GBIF has also produced a set of capacity self-assessment guidelines that are designed to help Participants to track progress at the level of a national biodiversity information facility. The BID programme will make use of a similar capacity self-assessment approach to track progress in the strengthening of national biodiversity information facilities.

Can an institution submit a proposal for gathering new data?

The BID programme focuses on mobilizing existing biodiversity data, rather than supporting new data gathering from the field. It will support the work required to mobilize the data, with emphasis on ensuring that the data are of sufficient quality to be published to the GBIF network and to enable their reuse in targeted use cases in research and decision-making.

What is the expected duration of the projects?

National biodiversity data mobilization projects and regional biodiversity data mobilization projects can run for a maximum of 2.5 years, with the final six months reserved for reporting and evaluation. Small biodiversity data mobilization projects can be implemented over a maximum of one year, with an additional six-month reporting and evaluation period.

On letters of support

Is there a template for letters of support?

Letters of support need not follow a template. They only need to confirm partners’ interest in the project and willingness to participate.

In the case of regional grants, are all consortium members required to provide letters of support?

At the concept note stage, consortium partners who are requesting funds need only confirm their participation. Letters of support are not required at this stage but, if submitted, will be acknowledged and taken into account. A formal confirmation from consortium partners will be requested in the form of a letter of support with the full proposal. This will be indicated in the guidelines for the submission of full proposals.

Other project collaborators, described in the Guidelines for Regional Grants (point 5 of the additional eligibility criteria) as users of biodiversity data, are to be listed in section 2.3 of the concept note template and should provide letters of support at both the concept note and full proposal stages. They need not, however, be copied in the proposal submission.

In the case of small grants, can collaborators come from the same institute? Who would have to provide letters of support?

Yes, collaborators can come from the same institute, and the director of the institute must be copied on submissions.The minimum requirement for a small grant is one letter of support from a data user.

Should updated letters of support be submitted with the full proposal?

Updated letters of support are not necessary, and letters sent in with the concept note may be re-submitted.

When submitting a proposal for a BID Regional grant, should letters from other project collaborators be included?

As the other project collaborators are not required to contribute funds, no letters of support are required from them. However, including such letters, where possible, will increase the assessors’ confidence in the strength of the project.

On developing concept notes

Can a single applicant participate in several concept notes submitted to the BID call for proposals?

Yes, an applicant may participate in several concept notes, including developing applications for different grant types. However, the maximum total project funding that any single applicant can receive through the course of the BID programme is 60,000 Euro.

In cases where applicants are considering multiple small grants, it is recommended to also explore the potential of national or regional grants. BID aims not only to increase the amount of published biodiversity information from sub-Saharan Africa, but also to develop lasting national, regional or thematic networks to support ongoing data sharing and reuse.

Please note that projects funded by small grants have an implementation period of up to one year, whereas national or regional projects may have activities continuing for up to two years.

The eligibility criteria in the BID call for proposals states that all project partners must have completed one of the BID surveys. Can my organization take the survey now?

Yes, the survey has been extended and is still open. Surveys may be filled out in English, French or Portuguese.

The survey may be filled at any time before submission of the concept note.

On forming consortia and partnerships

What are the minimum and maximum number of partners in a regional consortium?

A minimum of three partners is required in the regional consortium. These three partners must be legal entities from three different African ACP countries. There is no upper limit for the number of consortium members.

Can multiple national partners receive funds under the regional grant consortium?

The BID call for proposals states that one of the objectives of the regional grants is to ‘establish or strengthen international collaborations to mobilize biodiversity data’. The focus of this grant type is therefore on the international collaboration, and the requirement of having a least three consortium partners coming from different ACP country should be met. If more than one national partner is included in a regional consortium (with funding of not more than €20,000 for each partner), the proposal should specify the particular impact/contribution of each partner to the international collaboration.

Can private companies be involved as partners in any of the BID grants?

The call for proposals states the following: “Applicants must be legal entities located in an African ACP country (see Annex A, Section 1). Such entities include national government agencies, GBIF Participant nodes, natural history museums and collections, research institutes, universities, and NGOs.”. In addition it states that: “All BID funded activities must be not-for-profit”.

All these parties, mentioned above, can be partners in a national biodiversity data mobilization grant or consortium partners in a regional biodiversity data mobilization.

Commercial enterprises can be part of the consortia in national and regional BID projects but are excluded from receiving funds under the BID programme. The recommendation would be for private companies to co-fund the activity, for example by covering costs of their involvement if any.

Can a GBIF node or other institution in a non-ACP country be a partner in a BID proposal for national or small grants without requesting funds?

Yes, institutions, including GBIF nodes, in non-ACP countries can be project partners in BID proposals for national and small grants without requesting funds. Additionally, partners must ensure that the costs associated with the participation of the non-ACP partner may not be covered from BID funds.

What type of institution can lead a national biodiversity data mobilization grant?

The guidelines for national biodiversity data mobilization grants state that: “Applications must be submitted by the project coordinator that will coordinate the project activities on behalf of the project partners. The project coordinator must be a legal entity from an African ACP country (see Annex A, Section 1). The project coordinator will be responsible for managing the grant and for the project reporting”.

The call for proposals does not further specify the institution that should lead the ‘national biodiversity data mobilization grants’ as the project coordinator. Some of the best examples of partnerships dealing with biodiversity information management come from the GBIF network. Participation in GBIF is not a requirement for applying to the BID call for proposals. However, the GBIF Secretariat would recommend treating the partnerships in a national grant as a national biodiversity information facility, coordinated by a proto GBIF Participant Node.

Section 6.1 of the guide ‘Establishing an Effective GBIF Participant Node’ explains the selection of an institutional location for a node. The chapter includes potential advantages and disadvantages of selecting various types of host institutions, based on their mandates. The recommendation is that the same rationale be followed in choosing the coordinator for a national grant under the BID call for proposals.

Can a country programme/office of an international organization apply for a BID grant?

A country programme of an international organization can participate in a BID grant if it is registered as a distinct legal entity in an eligible African ACP country listed in Section 1 of Annex A.

In the case of regional biodiversity data mobilization grants, an international organization based in a non-ACP country, listed in Sections 2 and 3 of Annex A, may be a consortium partner.

On eligible countries

Can institutions and agencies based in non-ACP countries be partners in the consortium applying for BID grants?

In the case of regional biodiversity data mobilization grants, in addition to the minimum of three consortium partners from eligible African ACP countries, projects may choose to include one consortium partner that is a legal entity located EITHER in one of the eligible countries listed in section 2 of Annex A OR, where other requirements are met, in one of the countries listed in Annex A, section 3.

On data publishing

Which licences may be used for publication of data through BID projects, and why?

All species occurrence data mobilized with support from the BID programme must be allocated one of two Creative Commons licensing tools, CC0 (public domain) or CC BY (attribution).

Although GBIF permits use of a third option, CC BY-NC (attribution & non-commercial), this licence primarily accommodates continued access to legacy data gathered under intellectual property rights (IPR) arrangements that specifically limit access. Since the European Union through BID is funding the mobilization of new data with the aim of making its use as free and unrestricted as possible, BID grantees agree to publish data using only the CC0 and CC-BY options.

Read more about GBIF’s approach to the use of standard, machine-readable licences for biodiversity data

On future calls for proposals

Will there be a second call for BID proposals from Africa?

A second call for proposals for Africa is expected in 2017. Please sign up for email alerts below.

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This programme is funded by the European Union.