How to Apply / Current Opportunities / 2020 RFP Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Application Guidelines (20)

Yes!! That is totally fine. [And we advise that if you are naming partners in your proposals, to please check with those individuals for their permission and review of the proposal.]

You cannot attach supporting documents. If your application goes to our final stage of review, we will give you the opportunity to add supporting material. You can mention those documents in your application.

People who are employees of the grant recipient organization are Personnel/Staff and anyone who works for a subcontractor is a subcontractor. Remember that JRS’ job is to connect the money your request to the activities and to the results you forecast.  If partners are getting more that 15% of the budget, it would help you to provide detail. You can add any budget lines you wish. Please present your budget so we can easily connect the dots between money, time, activities, and results.  In cases with partners, applicants often add lines to the budget template to show the expense detail for the major partners, as well as a compiled version.  If funds are being transferred to partners, managed and reported by them, it is easiest to break out their budget separately. That will make management and reporting easiest in the long run.

The deadline is the same March 11th.  We ask you to please use the same online form as is used for the technical biodiversity informatics projects.  In the section E on “Technical Solutions”, describe your methodology and approach.  Section I. on Sustainability might be a place to describe your outreach to support the study and what you consider success. Section J. on Open Access might be used to describe your publication plans and access to underlying data.  Section N. on Capacity Development may not apply.

Please present what will give us a full picture. Co-funding and alignment with institutional activities and incentives are very positive aspects to JRS!  You need to present the project’s objectives, activities, budget, and outputs in the best way possible for our reviewers to connect the dots between the JRS funds and the outcomes that you predict.  If the work is closely meshed with other sponsored work, you’ll need to describe those activities and the relationship for the proposal to make sense – or else we’ll wonder how 2+2=7.  It is great to have relationships with other sponsored projects or ongoing work and it is worth drawing attention to it!

No.  All applications must be submitted via the online portal at: https://jrsbiodiversity.org/how-to-apply/current-opportunities/2020rfpapply/,

No! We do not require supporting letters from your institution or partners or documentation such as past publications, plans, terms of subcontracts, photos and maps, CVs, or letters of collaboration.  These may be requested at future stages but we do not consider them now and will not include any such documents in our first stages of review.  Please do not send supporting documents.

We are sorry to hear you are having trouble.  Here are some possible issues:

  1. If your internet connection is unstable, you may have lost connection with the server.  If you have entered text in the application, the best strategy is to select all the text in the browser and paste it as plain text into a document. That will let you rescue the text after you reconnect.
  2. You may have lost connection with the server and are seeing cached content.  If you have entered text in the application, the best strategy is to select all the text in the browser and paste it as plain text into a document so you can rescue your work. Then, clear the history and cache from your browser and reconnect to the portal. Or, switch to a different browser.
  3. Sometimes, the application will not allow you to save or submit if associated information is not saved.  We recommend exiting the application form and going to your ‘landing screen.’  Make sure your Applicant Profile is complete and saved.  Open your application to where it says “Add Contacts” and be sure that any contacts are complete and saved.  Now, reopen the application form and try to save and submit.
  4. You may be having trouble saving because you have exceeded the word count for a question.  Scroll through the application and look at the Word Count numbers in the lower right corner of the form fields.  Shorten any answers that exceed the limit.
  5. You may have not completed a required field at the top of the application in the A. Proposal Information section or you may have entered a value in the wrong format. Those fields will indicate if there was an error.

We hope this helps.  Our guidance is to be sure all associated forms for the Applicant Profile and Contacts are complete and saved and that you check fields for absent values or too many words.  If trouble persists, you may wish to clear your browser history and cache, or to switch to a different browser.

Yes, it is possible that the Project Director is from a partner organization. We back our Project Director’s 100% and we give them the authority to adapt and change budgets and plans. Make a good case in your proposal why it is best to have the Project Director come from a partner organization. If the application progresses, you could expect some questions about how authority is structured. E.g., what if the Project Director wants to move more funds out of the lead organization and to her/his organization? Does the Project Director have both the responsibility and the authority to succeed if they are based at the partner organization?

We will support any justifiable expense anywhere in the world connected to achieving a project’s goals.  Our goal is capacity development in Africa and we believe that is most likely to occur when funds, responsibility, and authority is transferred to or resides in Africa.  We support subcontracts to local and foreign partners. We support salaries, indirect costs, software, hardware, travel, meetings, etc.  Historically, we have not funded major capital items like vehicles and construction but we do fund local travel costs of vehicle travel.  We do fund Masters’ and Ph.D. student stipends or research costs or tuition fees.

No. There is no limit on the subcontractor amount. However, the higher the percentage of the budget, the more likely we are to ask to see the scope, work plans, and budgets of the subcontractors. Generally, we don’t ask to see that detail.  When subcontractors are more than 20% of the budget, we expect more detail and that their work and work-plans are well described in the proposal. At the point that a subcontractor is receiving more than 50% of the budget, we would certainly ask why are they not the grant recipient?

No. Project Directors and grantees do not need to be African.  However… JRS aims to support the development of capacity for biodiversity data and information systems in Africa for conservation and sustainable development.  We believe that doing so requires that skills, responsibility, and authority must ultimately reside in Africa, for Africa, by Africans.  Most of our projects do involve U.S. and European collaborators. We look carefully at project designs to see how African institutions and individuals play significant roles from the onset of the project.  Our experience is that projects that are fully-centered outside of Africa that promise transfer of know-how to African institutions in the final phases of the project, rarely establish sustainable efforts. We look at the flow of funds to see how funding reflects statements about partnerships and roles.  We ensure that primary authority and responsibility lie with the grant recipient.

There are no specific requirements. We look for evidence that the project leader has the necessary skills for project management and technical management. We also consider whether the individual has a position in their home institution that permits them the time and authority to conduct the project.  Many of our project directors hold Ph.D.s and we also have several projects where the Project Director completed their Ph.D. during the project.  We aim to be flexible and look at a person’s record of success and future potential.

Yes! Please write if you wish to have feedback on a past proposal to JRS.  Be sure that the request comes from the original project director or team as we do not share information about proposals without the permission of the primary grant applicant.

Yes!  If, for example, the lead institution is from the Americas or Europe, we will closely examine the plans and flows of funds to look for significant African roles.  We may also look to see that if technical expertise resides out of Africa, that capacity development and knowledge transfer is a key component and outcome within the course of the project. We believe that investment in Africa is more likely to support capacity development in Africa than investment elsewhere.

No. We can’t extend the deadline due to the timeline for other review stages.  If you have a gap in the proposal that would be closed with additional time, just note that explicitly and then reviewers can consider if that gap were closed, would it change the standing of the proposal. Before our final stage of the internal review, applicants are offered the chance to revise applications in response to feedback and questions and that gives a chance to fill in gaps in information or plans. Again, we will not extend the deadline.

We have no preference, please design your projects for success. Like many donors, we want the most impact for our dollar. An excellent site-specific project that yields transferable technology, skills, success, and lessons may have a greater impact over the long-term than a national scale project.  Any regional project proposal would need to cite how it compares to other regional biodiversity informatics projects that have (or have not) resulted in a strong residual national or local capacity. JRS might be at our best when we invest in capacity at the individual or network level.  We don’t have the staff, resources and on-the-ground presence to add significant value to most regional efforts.  However, we know that international NGOs might have regional organizations that can be effective at transferring technology and methods among country-based programs. JRS might be a catalytic funder for a regional effort if there is good evidence of regional interest or future donor interest. Our advice is always that you should, propose what will be most successful since you are the experts in your domains and your countries.

Please apply for a project implementation grant.  If we see that your project has strong potential but has some gaps in its plans, we may offer you funds for 4 months or 8 months of planning.  It is fine – even admirable – to indicate in your project if there are things you do not yet know and that you will address through planning activities during the project.

No, we don’t grant to individuals. JRS only makes grants to organizations. Please see the first section on our Grantmaking page for ‘The Basics’ of what we support and do not support. We do examine whether the project director and key project staff are employees of the applying organization and whether they have stable salary support for the duration of the project. We aim to invest in long-term capacity in biodiversity informatics in sub-Saharan Africa at both the level of individual training and organizational development. Individuals may find training opportunities through JRS grantees and announcements on our website. We often fund Ph.D. and Master’s programs within our grant projects.

Yes and Yes. We understand that organizations have different units and might apply as a lead applicant in some proposals and apply as a partner in another organization’s proposals. We encourage applications. Leaders within an organization should not debate or second guess which application is more appropriate for JRS – let us decide!  JRS funds on a project basis rather than by institutions and the proposals are judged independently.  We also approve grants as a ‘portfolio’ and we may choose grants that complement each other from different organizations or even ones that take different approaches to the same problem. All to say, it does not hurt in any way to submit multiple proposals and it would help show the strength of the institution.  We offer one caveat – it is helpful to acknowledge that there are other applications from your organization or that you and your partners are involved in multiple projects as this shows there is good communication within the institution and among partners.   Competitive proposals that don’t acknowledge each other may create a perception among reviewers that there is not communication or collaboration within the institution or partnership.  Please do not mention partner individuals or organizations without consulting them as they may also be involved in other proposals to JRS.

General Scope (11)

Yes, you can use existing databases, tools, and portals.  We hope that projects will first look to using existing infrastructure, but if you are using existing infrastructure, we will really want to understand what capacity in biodiversity informatics is developed in the project.

Maybe. We have no current grants in infectious disease or disease vectors.  We are not likely to directly fund epidemiological research and disease research. In our projects, the informatics tool is the catalyst to knowledge and action.  When we do invest in something outside of our expertise, we tend to ask if the concept is operating anywhere else in the world? If not, why not?  We are conscious of the enormous investment in human health as compared to ecology and conservation, so we may be wary of funding a health idea without clear endorsement from experts. That said, we know that discovery and innovation often occurs at the intersections of fields and the connection between biodiversity and ecosystem health and disease is underfunded. Projects related to zoonotic disease, infectious disease, and disease vectors should be sure there is a clear connection to biodiversity, a strong rationale, and clear use of the data and information system.

Category: General Scope

No. Choose whether the primary focus of the project is Freshwater Biodiversity, Pollinators Biodiversity, or Biodiversity Informatics Capacity Development.  All JRS proposals must include within them capacity development for biodiversity informatics – that is JRS’ primary goal, However, whereas some projects are solely focused on capacity development, others are primarily focused on data, infrastructure, tools and analyses relating to Freshwater or Pollinators.

Yes.  There are many possible mechanisms to obscure or protect data related to exploited and endangered species.  Just include your plans and rationale for doing so in the Data Access section of the application.

Category: General Scope

We will support any project design that is justified for the project’s success and impact.  Multi-country projects often have great potential for the transfer of know-how and technology. However, multi-country projects also entail greater complexity and may dilute funds across many partners.  There is no rule.  You’ll see many different models in our grant portfolio.  It is fairly rare that all the expertise for a project is found within one single country. It is more common that there are partners with specific expertise in other countries who are part of project implementation in different roles.

Yes.  We focus our investment ofthe technical projects in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Malawi.  However, if a project includes another African country and there is a strong rationale for its inclusion, we will consider that project.  A Capacity Development project may also include trainees to countries other than our focal countries. One successful approach that we’ve seen in applications is to propose additional countries and their added cost and benefit to the proposal. Then, we can help you decide on the pros and cons of additional countries.  Partners providing scientific and technical expertise are frequently located in North America and Europe.

No we do not target specific hotspots or Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). However, we are looking for a strong rationale for why you propose to work in specific areas.  For example in pollinators, is it an important conservation area, a diverse landscape, a landscape representative of agriculture, a landscape proposed for development, an area of good access, etc.… The specific reason isn’t as important as that the project team has a strong purpose and a strong hypothesis of what makes the information relevant and valuable to information users now and in the future.  We are keenly interested in “development hotspots”, places where there may be mining, transportation infrastructure, energy development, dams and other efforts that might influence biodiversity and where good data and information systems may be valuable.

Yes.  We will prefer projects centered in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Botswana, and South Africa.  Some work and partners or collaborators may be based in other countries and that is common in our projects. Multi-country projects may include countries outside of our focal countries.  Projects that focus primarily on Capacity Development for biodiversity informatics may be broader in scope or based in other countries, providing there is reach into or participation from our focal countries.  If projects are centered in one of our focal countries they may have collaborators and some work in other African countries. Please write to JRS if you have questions about the geographic scope of your work.

Yes, we welcome projects for capacity development in biodiversity informatics in 2020.  These projects would not be as strictly geographically limited as our other projects. However, we look for capacity development aimed at the root competencies for creating, managing, and promoting biodiversity data and information systems, such as the subjects you might see in the Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum.  Our strategy is “demand-driven” and we would look for strong roles of African institutions and evidence that the capacity serves local needs.  JRS is not likely to fund projects that develop capacity solely in other areas of conservation, taxonomy, or ecology. We do not fund capacity development for beekeeping, environmental restoration, or livelihoods development.

Category: General Scope

We have no preference, please design your projects for success. Like many donors, we want the most impact for our dollar. An excellent site-specific project that yields transferable technology, skills, success, and lessons may have a greater impact over the long-term than a national scale project.  Any regional project proposal would need to cite how it compares to other regional biodiversity informatics projects that have (or have not) resulted in a strong residual national or local capacity. JRS might be at our best when we invest in capacity at the individual or network level.  We don’t have the staff, resources and on-the-ground presence to add significant value to most regional efforts.  However, we know that international NGOs might have regional organizations that can be effective at transferring technology and methods among country-based programs. JRS might be a catalytic funder for a regional effort if there is good evidence of regional interest or future donor interest. Our advice is always that you should, propose what will be most successful since you are the experts in your domains and your countries.

No.  We are sorry that we do not support direct development activities such as bee-keeping, tree-planting, agricultural training, women’s livelihood development, participatory environmental planning, education, and other direct development interventions.  Please see What We Do Not Fund. We appreciate that grass-roots participation, community stewardship of biodiversity, and sustainable livelihoods are key to conservation but these are not within our scope.  Our narrow focus is Biodiversity Informatics. We provide financial support for the information technologies that support biodiversity conservation such as data collection, database development, mobile applications, websites, field data collection and related capacity development activities. Activities we do not fund include:

  • Tree nurseries and planting for reforestation;
  • Tree nurseries and planting of fruit trees and herbal trees;
  • Agricultural product processing facilities;
  • Carwashes, youth sports clubs, sports training, and sports teams;
  • Fish hatcheries, lake and river stocking, and aquaculture projects; and
  • Beekeeping, honey business development, and honey certification.

Freshwater Scope (5)

No. Choose whether the primary focus of the project is Freshwater Biodiversity, Pollinators Biodiversity, or Biodiversity Informatics Capacity Development.  All JRS proposals must include within them capacity development for biodiversity informatics – that is JRS’ primary goal, However, whereas some projects are solely focused on capacity development, others are primarily focused on data, infrastructure, tools and analyses relating to Freshwater or Pollinators.

The scope is sub-Saharan Africa and comparisons to OECD countries would be very valuable context and comparison in both Special Studies. Given our focus and networks on Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Malawi, and South Africa, we strongly advise including some or all of those countries in the Special Studies.  We are open to suggestions regarding the scope and would look for a geographic rationale to be part of any good project design.

Yes, they are. IAS are not mentioned in the call as a specific interest but certainly would be in scope if there is an argument for the value of the data and there is a clear use and user.  Invasive alien species may fall within the freshwater or pollinators program. Given the multiple efforts to create IAS data resources, we’d have to understand why a new one is better designed for success that is relevant to users. Our experience is that projects without specific users being involved and a use case being the driver are not sustained in the long-term.

Yes, we fund primary data collection. We need to understand how that data supports the users’ needs and fosters the development of the related biodiversity information system.  We often fund primary data collection when it fits within a full concept. For example, that the new data collection helps to develop capacity in the full pathway from the field to data access and use, or develops some particularly valuable data sets, or answers a conservation science or ecological question. It is just a matter of balance between resources spent on data collection and resources spent on data access. Whereas there are other funders that support data collection, we are the only funder focused on biodiversity-related information technology and its use.

Yes.  Estuaries are in scope but they might be less in the bulls-eye of the target than a pure freshwater system project. Our choice of freshwater systems is to find intersections of conservation and human needs where there is a high demand for biodiversity information systems.  That demand for information, in turn, sustains the capacity for biodiversity information systems that is our goal. A project focused on estuaries would need to demonstrate partnership between data users and data providers and development of capacity.  A focus on species or technical platforms or partners that are applicable to purely freshwater ecosystems would make the project of greater interest than one with a focus on the marine end of the estuary

Pollinators Scope (6)

Yes and maybe. The thing to understand about JRS is that our mission is to foster the development of biodiversity data and information systems in Africa. Pollinators are an entry point. Any pollinators project must have capacity development for biodiversity informatics at its core. We also lean to pollinators data that will be policy-relevant, such as connections to climate change monitoring, agricultural practice, land use policy, chemical use, etc. We know there is little direct ‘pollinators policy’ today in Africa. A project designed to answer an ecological research question would not be as competitive as one that also created a potentially policy-relevant data set. A project in [Country X] would have a higher bar than those in our target countries for exceptional quality and impact. That is because we do not have networks, grantees, current partners, now in [Country X] which makes risks greater and less synergy to emergent data systems in our focal countries. We have more on geographic scope at: https://jrsbiodiversity.org/how-to-apply/current-opportunities/2020_rfp_faqs/.

No. Choose whether the primary focus of the project is Freshwater Biodiversity, Pollinators Biodiversity, or Biodiversity Informatics Capacity Development.  All JRS proposals must include within them capacity development for biodiversity informatics – that is JRS’ primary goal, However, whereas some projects are solely focused on capacity development, others are primarily focused on data, infrastructure, tools and analyses relating to Freshwater or Pollinators.

The scope is sub-Saharan Africa and comparisons to OECD countries would be very valuable context and comparison in both Special Studies. Given our focus and networks on Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Malawi, and South Africa, we strongly advise including some or all of those countries in the Special Studies.  We are open to suggestions regarding the scope and would look for a geographic rationale to be part of any good project design.

No.  We are sorry that we do not support direct development activities such as bee-keeping, tree-planting, agricultural training, women’s livelihood development, participatory environmental planning, education, and other direct development interventions.  Please see What We Do Not Fund. We appreciate that grass-roots participation, community stewardship of biodiversity, and sustainable livelihoods are key to conservation but these are not within our scope.  Our narrow focus is Biodiversity Informatics. We provide financial support for the information technologies that support biodiversity conservation such as data collection, database development, mobile applications, websites, field data collection and related capacity development activities. Activities we do not fund include:

  • Tree nurseries and planting for reforestation;
  • Tree nurseries and planting of fruit trees and herbal trees;
  • Agricultural product processing facilities;
  • Carwashes, youth sports clubs, sports training, and sports teams;
  • Fish hatcheries, lake and river stocking, and aquaculture projects; and
  • Beekeeping, honey business development, and honey certification.

Yes, they are. IAS are not mentioned in the call as a specific interest but certainly would be in scope if there is an argument for the value of the data and there is a clear use and user.  Invasive alien species may fall within the freshwater or pollinators program. Given the multiple efforts to create IAS data resources, we’d have to understand why a new one is better designed for success that is relevant to users. Our experience is that projects without specific users being involved and a use case being the driver are not sustained in the long-term.

Yes, we fund primary data collection. We need to understand how that data supports the users’ needs and fosters the development of the related biodiversity information system.  We often fund primary data collection when it fits within a full concept. For example, that the new data collection helps to develop capacity in the full pathway from the field to data access and use, or develops some particularly valuable data sets, or answers a conservation science or ecological question. It is just a matter of balance between resources spent on data collection and resources spent on data access. Whereas there are other funders that support data collection, we are the only funder focused on biodiversity-related information technology and its use.

Budgets (4)

People who are employees of the grant recipient organization are Personnel/Staff and anyone who works for a subcontractor is a subcontractor. Remember that JRS’ job is to connect the money your request to the activities and to the results you forecast.  If partners are getting more that 15% of the budget, it would help you to provide detail. You can add any budget lines you wish. Please present your budget so we can easily connect the dots between money, time, activities, and results.  In cases with partners, applicants often add lines to the budget template to show the expense detail for the major partners, as well as a compiled version.  If funds are being transferred to partners, managed and reported by them, it is easiest to break out their budget separately. That will make management and reporting easiest in the long run.

No, not at all. We just look for a strong rationale to “connect the dots” from money, to activity, to results.  Salary is usually the largest component of budgets so we look to understand if there is salary support from other sources and the % effort of the principal staff. For example, a budget might show only 10% of salary being requested but effort might be 50% if there are other funds to support salary.

We will support any justifiable expense anywhere in the world connected to achieving a project’s goals.  Our goal is capacity development in Africa and we believe that is most likely to occur when funds, responsibility, and authority is transferred to or resides in Africa.  We support subcontracts to local and foreign partners. We support salaries, indirect costs, software, hardware, travel, meetings, etc.  Historically, we have not funded major capital items like vehicles and construction but we do fund local travel costs of vehicle travel.  We do fund Masters’ and Ph.D. student stipends or research costs or tuition fees.

No. There is no limit on the subcontractor amount. However, the higher the percentage of the budget, the more likely we are to ask to see the scope, work plans, and budgets of the subcontractors. Generally, we don’t ask to see that detail.  When subcontractors are more than 20% of the budget, we expect more detail and that their work and work-plans are well described in the proposal. At the point that a subcontractor is receiving more than 50% of the budget, we would certainly ask why are they not the grant recipient?

Co-funding Grants (1)

Please present what will give us a full picture. Co-funding and alignment with institutional activities and incentives are very positive aspects to JRS!  You need to present the project’s objectives, activities, budget, and outputs in the best way possible for our reviewers to connect the dots between the JRS funds and the outcomes that you predict.  If the work is closely meshed with other sponsored work, you’ll need to describe those activities and the relationship for the proposal to make sense – or else we’ll wonder how 2+2=7.  It is great to have relationships with other sponsored projects or ongoing work and it is worth drawing attention to it!

Geographic Scope (6)

We will support any project design that is justified for the project’s success and impact.  Multi-country projects often have great potential for the transfer of know-how and technology. However, multi-country projects also entail greater complexity and may dilute funds across many partners.  There is no rule.  You’ll see many different models in our grant portfolio.  It is fairly rare that all the expertise for a project is found within one single country. It is more common that there are partners with specific expertise in other countries who are part of project implementation in different roles.

Yes.  We focus our investment ofthe technical projects in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Malawi.  However, if a project includes another African country and there is a strong rationale for its inclusion, we will consider that project.  A Capacity Development project may also include trainees to countries other than our focal countries. One successful approach that we’ve seen in applications is to propose additional countries and their added cost and benefit to the proposal. Then, we can help you decide on the pros and cons of additional countries.  Partners providing scientific and technical expertise are frequently located in North America and Europe.

No we do not target specific hotspots or Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). However, we are looking for a strong rationale for why you propose to work in specific areas.  For example in pollinators, is it an important conservation area, a diverse landscape, a landscape representative of agriculture, a landscape proposed for development, an area of good access, etc.… The specific reason isn’t as important as that the project team has a strong purpose and a strong hypothesis of what makes the information relevant and valuable to information users now and in the future.  We are keenly interested in “development hotspots”, places where there may be mining, transportation infrastructure, energy development, dams and other efforts that might influence biodiversity and where good data and information systems may be valuable.

Yes.  We will prefer projects centered in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Botswana, and South Africa.  Some work and partners or collaborators may be based in other countries and that is common in our projects. Multi-country projects may include countries outside of our focal countries.  Projects that focus primarily on Capacity Development for biodiversity informatics may be broader in scope or based in other countries, providing there is reach into or participation from our focal countries.  If projects are centered in one of our focal countries they may have collaborators and some work in other African countries. Please write to JRS if you have questions about the geographic scope of your work.

We have no preference, please design your projects for success. Like many donors, we want the most impact for our dollar. An excellent site-specific project that yields transferable technology, skills, success, and lessons may have a greater impact over the long-term than a national scale project.  Any regional project proposal would need to cite how it compares to other regional biodiversity informatics projects that have (or have not) resulted in a strong residual national or local capacity. JRS might be at our best when we invest in capacity at the individual or network level.  We don’t have the staff, resources and on-the-ground presence to add significant value to most regional efforts.  However, we know that international NGOs might have regional organizations that can be effective at transferring technology and methods among country-based programs. JRS might be a catalytic funder for a regional effort if there is good evidence of regional interest or future donor interest. Our advice is always that you should, propose what will be most successful since you are the experts in your domains and your countries.

Please see the Where We Work page on JRS’s website.   We are funding technical projects this year in East Africa in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and in Central and Southern Africa in Botswana, Malawi, and South Africa.  We will consider technical projects in freshwater or pollinator biodiversity outside of these seven countries that:

  1. Have an exceptional potential impact on accessible biodiversity data and knowledge;
  2. Have an exceptional potential impact on the use of biodiversity data and knowledge for conservation and sustainability development; or
  3. Have an exceptional potential impact on the development of methods, tools, platforms, or software that can be transferred and applied to other contexts.

We encourage applicants from outside of the above seven focal countries to send a short project description for our review.  We will fund biodiversity informatics Capacity Development projects in other countries, particularly if they welcome participants from outside of the host country or that have a reach that overlaps the seven focal countries mentioned above. The two Special Studies described in the 2020 Request for Proposals do no have geographic limits but should include some or all of our seven focal countries.

To invest outside of our focal countries, we look for some extraordinary quality. That quality could be new organizational forms of partnerships, policy, and institutional mandates. That could be a technology that radically lowers the time, cost, and expertise for biodiversity data capture and creation. That quality could be exceptional co-funding, policy support, and local leadership. That could be a new technological platform for data sharing and visualization. That quality could be an extraordinary scientific contribution or conservation impact. That quality could be other donors investing in major assessments and JRS plays the role of funding information technology and informatics.  In any of those cases, we would also ask if the exceptional aspect is something that can be transferred and applied elsewhere in Africa.

!New this week! (10)

Yes!! That is totally fine. [And we advise that if you are naming partners in your proposals, to please check with those individuals for their permission and review of the proposal.]

You cannot attach supporting documents. If your application goes to our final stage of review, we will give you the opportunity to add supporting material. You can mention those documents in your application.

People who are employees of the grant recipient organization are Personnel/Staff and anyone who works for a subcontractor is a subcontractor. Remember that JRS’ job is to connect the money your request to the activities and to the results you forecast.  If partners are getting more that 15% of the budget, it would help you to provide detail. You can add any budget lines you wish. Please present your budget so we can easily connect the dots between money, time, activities, and results.  In cases with partners, applicants often add lines to the budget template to show the expense detail for the major partners, as well as a compiled version.  If funds are being transferred to partners, managed and reported by them, it is easiest to break out their budget separately. That will make management and reporting easiest in the long run.

Yes, you can use existing databases, tools, and portals.  We hope that projects will first look to using existing infrastructure, but if you are using existing infrastructure, we will really want to understand what capacity in biodiversity informatics is developed in the project.

No, not at all. We just look for a strong rationale to “connect the dots” from money, to activity, to results.  Salary is usually the largest component of budgets so we look to understand if there is salary support from other sources and the % effort of the principal staff. For example, a budget might show only 10% of salary being requested but effort might be 50% if there are other funds to support salary.

The deadline is the same March 11th.  We ask you to please use the same online form as is used for the technical biodiversity informatics projects.  In the section E on “Technical Solutions”, describe your methodology and approach.  Section I. on Sustainability might be a place to describe your outreach to support the study and what you consider success. Section J. on Open Access might be used to describe your publication plans and access to underlying data.  Section N. on Capacity Development may not apply.

We are sorry to hear you are having trouble.  Here are some possible issues:

  1. If your internet connection is unstable, you may have lost connection with the server.  If you have entered text in the application, the best strategy is to select all the text in the browser and paste it as plain text into a document. That will let you rescue the text after you reconnect.
  2. You may have lost connection with the server and are seeing cached content.  If you have entered text in the application, the best strategy is to select all the text in the browser and paste it as plain text into a document so you can rescue your work. Then, clear the history and cache from your browser and reconnect to the portal. Or, switch to a different browser.
  3. Sometimes, the application will not allow you to save or submit if associated information is not saved.  We recommend exiting the application form and going to your ‘landing screen.’  Make sure your Applicant Profile is complete and saved.  Open your application to where it says “Add Contacts” and be sure that any contacts are complete and saved.  Now, reopen the application form and try to save and submit.
  4. You may be having trouble saving because you have exceeded the word count for a question.  Scroll through the application and look at the Word Count numbers in the lower right corner of the form fields.  Shorten any answers that exceed the limit.
  5. You may have not completed a required field at the top of the application in the A. Proposal Information section or you may have entered a value in the wrong format. Those fields will indicate if there was an error.

We hope this helps.  Our guidance is to be sure all associated forms for the Applicant Profile and Contacts are complete and saved and that you check fields for absent values or too many words.  If trouble persists, you may wish to clear your browser history and cache, or to switch to a different browser.

We will support any justifiable expense anywhere in the world connected to achieving a project’s goals.  Our goal is capacity development in Africa and we believe that is most likely to occur when funds, responsibility, and authority is transferred to or resides in Africa.  We support subcontracts to local and foreign partners. We support salaries, indirect costs, software, hardware, travel, meetings, etc.  Historically, we have not funded major capital items like vehicles and construction but we do fund local travel costs of vehicle travel.  We do fund Masters’ and Ph.D. student stipends or research costs or tuition fees.

No. There is no limit on the subcontractor amount. However, the higher the percentage of the budget, the more likely we are to ask to see the scope, work plans, and budgets of the subcontractors. Generally, we don’t ask to see that detail.  When subcontractors are more than 20% of the budget, we expect more detail and that their work and work-plans are well described in the proposal. At the point that a subcontractor is receiving more than 50% of the budget, we would certainly ask why are they not the grant recipient?

Yes and Yes. We understand that organizations have different units and might apply as a lead applicant in some proposals and apply as a partner in another organization’s proposals. We encourage applications. Leaders within an organization should not debate or second guess which application is more appropriate for JRS – let us decide!  JRS funds on a project basis rather than by institutions and the proposals are judged independently.  We also approve grants as a ‘portfolio’ and we may choose grants that complement each other from different organizations or even ones that take different approaches to the same problem. All to say, it does not hurt in any way to submit multiple proposals and it would help show the strength of the institution.  We offer one caveat – it is helpful to acknowledge that there are other applications from your organization or that you and your partners are involved in multiple projects as this shows there is good communication within the institution and among partners.   Competitive proposals that don’t acknowledge each other may create a perception among reviewers that there is not communication or collaboration within the institution or partnership.  Please do not mention partner individuals or organizations without consulting them as they may also be involved in other proposals to JRS.

Planning Grants (1)

Please apply for a project implementation grant.  If we see that your project has strong potential but has some gaps in its plans, we may offer you funds for 4 months or 8 months of planning.  It is fine – even admirable – to indicate in your project if there are things you do not yet know and that you will address through planning activities during the project.

Special Studies (2)

The deadline is the same March 11th.  We ask you to please use the same online form as is used for the technical biodiversity informatics projects.  In the section E on “Technical Solutions”, describe your methodology and approach.  Section I. on Sustainability might be a place to describe your outreach to support the study and what you consider success. Section J. on Open Access might be used to describe your publication plans and access to underlying data.  Section N. on Capacity Development may not apply.

The scope is sub-Saharan Africa and comparisons to OECD countries would be very valuable context and comparison in both Special Studies. Given our focus and networks on Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Malawi, and South Africa, we strongly advise including some or all of those countries in the Special Studies.  We are open to suggestions regarding the scope and would look for a geographic rationale to be part of any good project design.

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