2019 Application Instructions
Please read the application instructions, glossary, and proposal form before you begin. All proposals must be submitted in English. All applications are considered confidential and will only be shared among foundation staff, Trustees and designated confidential reviewers. We advise that you plan your project using the work plan table that can be found below before writing the accompanying text.
Restrictions on Funded Activities: The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is prohibited by U.S. law from funding lobbying or political campaign activities. U.S. private foundations are prohibited from funding grants “to influence legislation,” anywhere they operate. The JRS Biodiversity Foundation cannot lobby or fund any lobbying activities carried out by its grantees. There are certain exceptions and conditions under which foundations may fund grantees that lobby such as that foundations may provide analysis and advice regarding legislation. Please contact us if you believe your project may touch upon the above restrictions.
Online Grant Application Form You may save drafts by clicking the ‘Save Draft’ button at the bottom of the page. Text fields may be character or word limited and truncate automatically. The form entry fields may be expanded for editing by stretching from the lower right corner of the field box. Please address any questions to JRSRFP@jrsbiodiversity.org. The online form includes only brief tips with each question. Please refer to the instructions document below for complete instructions. Please refer to the Glossary of Terms to use consistent language with the Foundation regarding the results of your work.
Application Topic: Please check the option that best describes the subject of your application. If your application does not fit within these three categories, select “Other Subject” and contact JRS using the In-Process Review form below or by email at JRSRFP@jrsbiodiversity.org to assess if your idea is within our scope.
- Freshwater Biodiversity
- Pollinator Biodiversity
- Biodiversity Informatics Capacity Development
- Other Subject
Project Type: What type of project do you propose? Proposals may be for technical implementation projects and are typically 2-3 years in duration and $150,000-$250,000 in requested funds. Proposals may be submitted to support the planning of a technical project. Such planning proposals typically require $10,000 – $50,000 in requested funds and are 4 or 8 months in duration to fit our funding cycle. Proposals may be submitted for cases in which JRS provides “co-funding” to support biodiversity informatics components in projects funded by other donors. Please check the option below that best describes your application.
- Technical Implementation Project
- Four-month Planning Project
- Eight-month Planning Project
- Co-funding Project
TIP: If your project is not an obvious fit into one of the above categories, send an email to JRS with a short description before spending time on an application.
In-Process or Advance Review: Please check the box below if you wish to have brief, preliminary feedback on your draft application (no longer valid after February 15, 2019). Feedback is no guarantee of future funding:
- Yes, please email me suggestions to strengthen my draft proposal
- Yes, please review this short summary (Form will open).
- No, thank you.
TIP: We advise that you check one of the “Yes” fields!
Potential Conflict of Interest: Are any of the principals or partners in this proposal current or former JRS Biodiversity Foundation Trustees? Are any the family of, direct reports of, or supervisors of current or former JRS Biodiversity Foundation Trustees? We ask this question in order to avoid, manage, or mitigate any real or perceived conflicts of interest regarding the grant proposal. Please contact us with any questions regarding conflicts of interest.
A. Info & B. Summary
A. Proposal Information
The fields in this section collects general information that will be entered in our database to administer your application. Please note these definitions:
- Organization Legal Name: This is the organization that will receive funds and is legally responsible for the project and financial management.
- Project Director: The name of the individual responsible for the daily leadership of the project and its success.
- Total Project Budget ($USD): This is your calculation of the total costs, from all sources, for the project that you propose.
- Total Request from JRS ($USD): Portion of the Total Project Budget that you are requesting from JRS.
TIP: JRS grants span a broad range in duration and total funding. Propose what is best for the success of your project. Our average grant size is $230,000. Proposals over $300,000 will not be considered.
B. Executive Summary [250 words max]
Please write a concise summary that includes the approach and the measurable goals.
The Executive Summary describes your project’s subject and your technical and institutional approach and goals. Describe the goals in terms of specific, measurable, and time-bound targets that will indicate your success.
TIP: Get right to the point of what you will accomplish. Do not restate the problem and why it is important. Describe the outcomes of who will do what differently as a result of your work. Write this summary last. Count that at least half the words describe tangible outputs of your work.
C. Conservation Problem
What problem for conservation or sustainable development will you address with improved biodiversity data and knowledge systems? [300 words max.]
This section describes the significance of the work that you will do. Please explain the problem using quantitative evidence and specific terms that apply to the geographic area that your work will address.
TIP: Be specific in describing the connection between improved and accessible data to the outcome you seek in conservation or sustainable development. Do not use space for the general justification of freshwater or pollinator biodiversity conservation. Citing references or providing links is recommended. [JRS does not support general conservation or community development projects.]
D. Information Problem
What demand for data, information, or knowledge access are you seeking to address? [350 words]
This section should describe what gap in data, information, knowledge, and related services is a limitation to addressing the problem that you described in the above section. What is the evidence for demand for the information and who are the end-users? What will the users do with the new information and information access created by this project? Please be sure that you can “connect the dots” between solving the information problem (Part D.) and solving the conservation or development problem (Part C).
TIP: JRS is a funder of biodiversity data, information, and knowledge access. Data and information systems are the focus of all projects that we fund. Describe the current baseline of accessible data and the technical barriers to data access.
E. Technical Solution
(a) Do you propose to design/invent a new database, information portal, or mobile app?
Select your best answer. The answer may be determined in the course of the project, need additional partners with expertise, or require advice from JRS.
(b) If Yes, Contingent Question: Why are the existing models insufficient and do you propose developing a novel technology? (250 words max.)
The development of software, information platforms, and websites takes special skills, resources, and may present significant benefits as well as risks. This section should demonstrate familiarity with existing technologies and present a strong rationale why novel technology (e.g., software, apps, knowledge platforms, websites) is needed. Please provide links and describe what existing platforms/technologies provide the closest model for your effort.
TIP: We welcome new technology and there are existing solutions for many problems in biodiversity informatics that merit consideration. Finding solutions may be part of your project plan.
(c) What is your technical solution to the problem described above in Sections C & D? (400 words max.)
Specifically describe any hardware, software, database, data standards, data repositories, website software, APIs, or other informatics elements essential to your success. Please describe the result of your efforts and not the activities to get to that point, describe activities in the section below on the Work Plan.
TIP: If you are not familiar with biodiversity informatics technology, how will you partner with experts in this domain? Our projects may include research, training, and activities in different domains of ecology and conservation science, but our primary interest is in information technologies. This section should be specific regarding hardware and software.
F. Organizational Solution
Why hasn’t this happened before and how are your approaches and partnerships designed for success? [350 words max.]
Organizational solutions include new partnerships, capacity development, network-building, outreach, cooperation, awareness, legal agreements, and new incentives or awards. What will support a sustainable connection between data providers and data end-users?
TIP: Speak to how the organizations involved have mandates and missions that align with your goals.
What 8-12 milestones [specific outputs and outcomes] will you achieve, by when, and how will you know that you are successful? [400 words]
This section describes specific quantitative and qualitative indicators of progress and success and the project month in which any specific milestones and targets will be achieved (e.g., M03, M18). Please see the Glossary of Terms for definitions.
TIP: Imagine distilling this whole proposal to about ten tangible or measurable achievements, what would those be?
H. Work Plan
What is your plan of work? [500 words]
We recommend that you first complete the Work Planning Table which provides space for more detailed planning that can be summarized here. Divide your work into a set of Objectives that organize activities and their results (outputs and outcomes) to illustrate how you will manage the project, allocate resources, and report on progress. For start and end dates of activities and dates of key milestones, please indicate by project month (e.g, M01, M12).
TIP: Objectives that correlate to timed phases of activity are recommended to communicate your plans best.
I. Risk Management
What are the most significant risks to your project’s success and how will you monitor and mitigate those risks? [300 words max.]
Candidly describe what the most significant risks are to your project’s success. What is their potential impact, and when might they occur?
TIP: Risks may include issues with partnerships, hiring delays, access to technical expertise, student enrollment delays, formal MOU development, or others.
What will be the evidence of your success 1 to 3 years after the end of your project? What will you do to ensure sustainability? [300 words max]
What ongoing activities, outcomes, and capacity will still create measurable benefits? How will funding be secured to continue salaries and other costs created by this project? How will your communications, outreach, partnerships, and fund-raising support long-term viability?
TIP: Imagine you have succeeded, and evaluators work to assess your project. What evidence will they find or measure on-site or online?
K. Open Access
(a) Confirmation of JRS’ Open Access Data Policy
Open access to biodiversity information and knowledge by all stakeholders is essential to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The foundation requires that the biodiversity informatics output of its grants such as datasets, training materials, decision tools, and software is openly and freely available in formats that promote maximum re-use. We require that grant outputs are made available under the least restrictive licensing possible and per creative commons license definitions. The Foundation recognizes that different data outputs are subject to different types of licensing and policies. Our grant application forms require that our grantees disclose their data sharing plans and any relevant licenses or agreements to which the grantee organization or the principal investigator is a party that may affect data sharing. JRS grantees may be asked at any time to report on the progress of data sharing plans and are expected to apply appropriate evaluation methodology and analytic tools to provide evidence of successful data sharing. The primary grantee is expected to use good faith efforts to ensure that any subcontractors and sub-grantees also comply with this policy. We recommend that you confirm compliance with this policy with any named partners in this proposal. The foundation recognizes that circumstances may obligate the grantee or may benefit the project if data sharing is restricted. You must request any specific exceptions to restrict the use of, access to, or delayed access to the data. All interim and final progress reports should include live URLs as well as access methods for databases.
Any exceptions to our Open Data Policy must be justified in this application.
- I have read and understood the JRS Open Data Policy.
- This project’s approach or our institutional policies may not comply with the above JRS policy.
- This project’s approach or our institutional policies appear to comply with the above JRS policy.
(b) Please list and describe how you will comply with each of the five terms of the JRS Open Data Policy regarding (1) access, (2) timeliness, (3) licenses, (4) standards, and (5) compliance. (350 words max.)
Open access to the data and information products of your project is a requirement of JRS funding. Please refer to the statement of Open Data Policy on the JRS Biodiversity Foundation website.
Use this section to describe the data and information products and their access including specific technical details such as standards, data repositories, requested access limits or restrictions, data formats, and software specific to creating access.
TIP: Organize your reply in five sub-sections on the five terms of Access, License, Compliance, Timeliness, and Standards.
(c) What are the URLs, Databases, or Digital Object Identifiers for discovery and access to your project’s outputs? (250 words max.)
TIP: You may not yet know these details but please reply in a way that communicates your commitment to making your digital products discoverable and accessible.
What are the qualifications of your organization that will support the success of this project? [250 words]
Provide a brief description of the organizational unit that is most relevant to the project including its annual budget, physical assets, and staff. Please note if there is in-kind or direct financial support from your organization that will contribute to this project.
TIP: Stick to the most relevant unit, e.g. the project team or department and include links to past success, if available. You may wish to note the donors and dollar amounts if you have past, current, or in-process funding for related work.
M. Director & Staff
(a) What prior experience of the director and staff will support your success and what percent (%) time will each devote to this project? (400 words)
Please name specific individuals and their contributions. If key staff are to be hired, please describe their desired credentials, percent effort on the project, their month of hiring, and source of salary support.
TIP: Remember to justify the percent of effort – particularly for low levels of effort, e.g., less than 33%.
(b) What is the project director’s or project team’s experience of data publication? (200 words max.)
Please list any history the project director or the project team has with publishing data. Where appropriate, include links to datasets, databases, etc. Please indicate whether and how data has been used in decision-making for conservation and development. We do fund project teams without prior data publication experience.
TIP: Prior data publication is not a pre-requisite for funding but is helpful to demonstrate a commitment to increasing data access.
(a) Have the partners named below reviewed this complete proposal?
TIP: If you name partners, please be sure they are informed of your plan. Partners may be involved with multiple proposals. If you are seeking co-funding for an existing project, describe its funders and partners as well as partners needed for JRS-funding work on biodiversity information systems.
(b) Who are the project partners and what are their roles? Who are the data and information users? (400 words max.)
If data users are not involved in the project, please justify why JRS should make this exception to our “demand-driven” approach. If you checked “No” in the question above, please explain why the partners have not yet directly reviewed the project plan. Please ensure that any individual named in your proposal has consented to the use of their name and potential engagement.
TIP: Including the end-users of the data, information, or knowledge within your project team greatly increases your likelihood of JRS funding and long-term success.
O. Capacity Development
How will your project increase the long-term capacity for biodiversity informatics in sub-Saharan Africa? [400 words max.]
Our most important goal is supporting capacity development for the sustainable supply of and use of biodiversity data, information, and knowledge. Describe training, educational resources, physical infrastructure, and other elements of human and technical capacity that are outputs or outcomes of your work. How will you know that capacity development is meeting needs and is successful?
TIP: Be sure you address the capacity development for biodiversity informatics. Successful applicants from outside of Africa must involve African staff and institutions in all aspects of project design and implementation. Capacity development includes professional development implementing the project itself and formal training activity. Be specific about how many people and at what technical level they will acquire new skills.
(a) How does the project’s budget support the activities described above? What are your assumptions, key unit costs, and allocation of resources among objectives, partners, and types of activities?
This section is one of the most important of the proposal and has no word limit. It is vital for us to understand the requested grant award and how the component amounts are sufficient to achieve your stated goals. Please explain any cost category with expenses and the assumptions that are the basis of the cost calculations. Additional worksheets of calculations may be included in the budget spreadsheet. Describe whether and how the partners will be funded by the project budget.
TIP: Good budget narratives describe the budget in multiple dimensions such as by expense categories, by the partner, by objective, or by time-period. Connect how your budget fluctuates over time to support your work plan.
(b) Please list any co-funding or in-kind contributions you have secured for this project.
TIP: JRS does not require co-funding though we are pleased to partner with other funders. If you are seeking JRS’ co-funding for biodiversity informatics components of an existing project, be sure to describe the finances of the existing project.
Q. Form Uploads
Please use the upload function to attach the required Project Budget Template and the Work Planning Template. Please rename your attached file to include the project director or organization name before you upload.
- Budget Template (Required)
- Work Planning Table (Required)