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Competitive Grant Scheme Guidelines
2nd Call for Proposal


A. Background

1. The Project DURAS (Promotion du Développement Durable dans les systèmes de Recherche Agricole du Sud) is a three-year project funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It aims to contribute to strengthening the involvement and enhancing the scientific potential of southern stakeholders in agricultural research for sustainable development (ARSD), particularly in Africa, Near East and some parts of Asia (Countries belonging to the France's Priority Solidarity Zone, or ZSP (Zone de Solidarité Prioritaire).

2. It is among the Type 2 Initiatives under the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD). These initiatives also referred to as Partnerships for Sustainable Development, are voluntary multi-stakeholder partnerships which contribute to the implementation of inter-governmental commitments in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.  As such, the project will take part in enabling all stakeholders in agricultural research to make a concrete contribution to the outcomes of the WSSD and other international agreements in furthering sustainable development (SD). 

3. The project has three components, namely: (1) Support the facilitation role of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), including support to regional and sub-regional fora to enable them to function as a real forum where relevant stakeholders actively participate. This activity may focus on revisiting/updating regional priorities with full participation of all stakeholders, with a special emphasis on facilitating the involvement and strengthening of civil society organizations (CSOs) so that they can meaningfully participate in the process- an activity which will also allow the GFAR Secretariat to summarize and widely distributed at the international level research priorities in the South that impacts on sustainable development; (2) Develop and reinforce a functional information communication management (ICM) system through an improvement of the Electronic Global Forum on Agricultural Research (EGFAR) and the development of Regional Agricultural Information Systems (RAIS); and (3) launch a Competitive grants systems that will fund proposals in key priority areas consistent with the GFAR Business Plan.

4. The first two components of the project are being handled by the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) in Rome, Italy while the third component is being managed by Agropolis in Montpellier, France where the DURAS Project Office is based.

B. Objectives of the Competitive Grants

5. The DURAS CGS is established to encourage innovation, allow scaling-up of successful innovations and/or best practices developed in the South, and to further develop and explore scientific potentials.

6. It also aims to create opportunities for historically disadvantaged stakeholder groups in the South to develop and enhance their scientific capacities through the provision of start-up funds, via a competitive process, that will bridge funding gap that usually exist between the initial stages of research/innovation process and implementation or scaling-up.

7. The funds are expected to allow Southern partners who have developed interesting and innovative proposals but have not received donor support to access and attract additional funding. It will also raise awareness on SD-related initiatives among ARSD stakeholders, especially advanced research institutions, international agricultural research centers and donor community, and, eventually, encourage their involvement in its implementation.

C. Competitive Grants Process

C.1 Thematic focus, type of proposals to be considered for funding

8. The Second2 Call for Proposals will cover the following thematic areas:

Theme 1: Agroecology and other sustainable farming practices
Pre-proposals under this theme should be able to contribute to food security and the conservation of resources through low-cost farming technologies focusing on labor practices that respect soil quality, increase the incorporation of organic matter and enable good carbon uptake. Proposals for scaling-up agro-ecological innovations developed by farmers and local communities that address these concerns can also be submitted.

Theme 2: Linking farmers to market and support to small and medium agro- enterprises (agri SMEs)
This theme extends the framework of agricultural research by taking into account the growing effects of liberalization and the important changes occurring in agriculture and their consequences for rural areas. Pre-proposals that address post-harvest improvement and agricultural value-addition to increase over-all farm economic productivity and rural farm income while taking into account natural resource conservation can be submitted under this theme.

9. Part of the grant may be used to cover information management activities as well as publications, both print and electronic (including website and internet access) to facilitate information dissemination and exchange. The grant, however, can not be used to finance core or permanent (but may cover cost of hiring consultants/experts) salary costs, overheads or large capital items such as purchase of vehicle, construction of buildings or research facilities.

C.2 Eligibility

10. Application is open to all stakeholders involved in agricultural research, provided that the Lead Proponent (LP) is (a) from a national research center, a university, or a civil society organization (e.g. NGO, farmers organization); and (b) from a ZSP country (Annex 1) covered by the project.

11. The proposed activity should involve: (a) a minimum of two countries from the South (which may not necessarily be from the same region/sub-region) and (b) at least three (3) stakeholder groups, one of which should come from the NGOs, farmers organizations, or small-medium enterprises sector. All countries involved should be in the ZSP list.

12. Proponents should submit Letter(s) of Intent from their collaborating organization(s) stating their willingness and commitment to participate in the proposed project.

13. Proponents may also identify a prospective French or European organization with which the project can be co-implemented to realize North-South research partnership (this, however, is not a pre-requisite. Once a pre-proposal is short-listed, the project's Scientific Partnership Committee will assist proponents in identifying and/or linking up with the appropriate partners from Europe.).

14. In order to encourage submission from local civil society organizations, Project DURAS, on a per request basis, may also provide support to cover the cost of translation of a pre-proposal or concept note from local language to English and/or French.

C.3 Pre-proposal submission, evaluation and selection process

15. Proponents should register their submission by filling up the form accessible at the DURAS Project website, www.duras-project.net. Pre-proposals can be submitted though this website or by e-mail (duras@agropolis.fr).

16. All applications must, without exemptions, use the pre-proposal format provided in the Annex of these Guidelines.

17. There is no need to submit paper copies of the pre-proposal. However, original and signed Letter(s) of Agreement should be submitted to the DURAS Project Office (Agropolis International, Avenue Agropolis, F-34394 Montpellier Cedex 5, France).

18. Proponents with internet connectivity problems may, however, send their pre-proposals together with the original and signed Letter(s) of Intents and CVs by post, making sure that it will reach the DURAS Project Office by the set deadline.

19. Only complete submissions will be reviewed by the GFAR NARS (National Agricultural Research Systems) Sub-committee composed of representatives from the various Regional Fora on Agricutlural Research, and by the DURAS Selection and Scientific Partnership Committee (CSPC) presided by Agropolis. Proponents will be notified of the results of the review process.

20. Short-listed pre-proposals will be asked to proceed to full proposal development. At this stage, the CSPC will facilitate establishing linkage between proponents and European/French research organizations with which they can co-develop the proposal and collaborate in its implementation.

21. In order to facilitate the dialogue between Southern and Northern partner in the process of developing full proposal, the DURAS Project has set aside limited funds to support the travel cost of Southern partners who need to meet with their European counterpart. This can be made available to lead proponents of short-listed pre-proposals on a per request basis.

22. Full proposals (Full proposal should be accompanied by financing and M&E strategy, see Annex 3 for the Full Proposal Outline) will be submitted to the DURAS Project Office and will be reviewed by the CSPC and GFAR. Final selection will be made by the DURAS Project’s Comité de Pilotage chaired by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thereafter, award process will be initiated so that selected projects can be implemented with the minimum delay possible.

23. Presented below is the indicative timeframe for the second Call:

December 2004 2nd Call for Proposals
23 February 2005 Deadline for submission
of Pre-proposals
March 2005 Evaluation of Pre-proposals
March 2005 Notice to Lead Proponent
March-April 2005 Partnerships building and
full proposal development
end-April 2005 Deadline for submission of Full proposals
May 2005 Final Screening and Approval, Awards
June 2005 Projects start

C.4 Evaluation Criteria

24. Submissions will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

a. Over-all project design and feasibility.
This includes clarity of objectives, consistency of key activities with stated objectives, realistic and relevant expected outputs, clear and participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) process, and likelihood of success.

b. Appropriateness and innovativeness.
This includes appropriateness of proposed intervention to address regional priority issue, whether the proposal offers value added and novel solutions, and applicability/viability of the proposed intervention.

c. Socio-economic considerations.
This includes promising contribution to local/regional development and positive spill-over, demonstrable/promising economic/financial benefits to local communities, and adaptability of the proposed intervention

d. Environmental and sustainability considerations.

e. Partnership Quality.
This includes the extent by which the proposed project promotes empowerment of stakeholders, including opportunities provided to enhance their scientific potential.

C.5 Co-financing

25. Co-financing is key element of the DURAS competitive grants component. This mechanism is put in place not only to provide additional resources to finance Southern initiatives but also to foster shared responsibilty, co-ownership and accountability.

26. As in any collaborative endeavour, partners will have to contribute to the cost of implementation. In this case, the project may contribute up to 73% of the project cost while the French or European partner will have to contribute the remaining 27% of the project cost either in cas or in-kind.

C.6 Size of the Award

27. Award size varies from a minimum of Euro 20,000 to a maximum of Euro 150,000 over a two - three - year period. The number of projects may vary depending on the proposed budget of selected projects.

D. Management and Administration of the Competitive Grants

28. The DURAS Competitive Grants process will be managed and administered by Agropolis under the over-all guidance of the DURAS Project Steering Committee and in coordination with the GFAR Secretariat.

29. The DURAS Comité de Pilotage (CP) is chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-France (MAE-France) and will be assisted by a number of experts. It will oversee implementation of the project, including financial, administrative and technical follow-up. The final selection of the proposals to be financed under the DURAS Project will be made by this committee.

30. The DURAS Selection and Scientific Partnership Committee (CSPC) will facilitate linkage between the proponents from the South and prospective Northern partners which could be involved in the project. It may associate a group of experts on each of the four thematic focus of this Competitive Grant which may assist in forging North-South partnerships. This Committee will be chaired by Agropolis.

31. The GFAR, through its NARS Sub-Committee composed of Regional Fora representatives, will review submitted proposals, taking into account the extent by which research priorities identified by regional and subregional fora (RF/SRFs) are addressed.

E. Preparation of Project Implementation Contracts

32. A project implementation contract (or a Memorandum of Agreement) with the project executing organization will be prepared by Agropolis once the DURAS Project Steering Committee has approved project proposals. This contract/agreement will stipulate the conditions of the grants, including the expected outputs, roles and responsibilities of parties, disbursement schedule, project audits and monitoring and evaluation.

F. Disbursements

33. Funds will be disbursed according to a funding and implementation schedule agreed to by the parties and based upon the submitted budget and work plan. Notwithstanding, here below is an indicative funds disbursement schedule:

50 % First disbursement (project start)
40 % Second disbursement (in the middle of project implementation)
10 % Third and last disbursement (upon submission of final project report, including evaluation)

G. Monitoring and Evaluation

34. M&E should be used at all stages of the project cycle to help to strengthen project design and implementation and stimulate partnership with project stakeholders. As such, M&E should be designed in consultation with stakeholders so that objectives and targets are jointly “owned.”

35. Continuous assessment of project implementation in relation to agreed schedules and of the use of inputs and services by the implementing organizations will be ensured. Actual or potential successes and problems should be identified as early as possible to facilitate timely adjustments to project operation. Mid-term reviews of ongoing projects will also be carried out to assess the project's relevance, performance, efficiency, and outcomes (both expected and unexpected) vis-à-vis stated objectives. Terminal evaluations, conducted at the end of the projects will include an assessment of a project's effects and their potential sustainability.

36. The M&E component of each project should not exceed 10 percent of the total project cost.

H. Project Reports

37. The implementing organization is required to submit progress report once every six months, indicating progress and outcomes achieved so far. The reports should describe the activities carried out during the period and the results obtained in relation to the specified objectives and indicators developed as part of the monitoring and evaluation plan.

38. An annual and financial report should be submitted at the end of each year. A final report should also be prepared at the end of the project.

Annex 1 : List of ZSP Countries covered by the DURAS Project

The Priority Solidarity Zone (PSZ), the boundaries of which can change by decision of the Inter-ministerial Committee for International Co-operation and Development (ICICD), was determined at the last meeting of that body on 14 February 2002. The following includes only those that will be covered by the DURAS Project.

• Near East:
Lebanon, Autonomous Palestinian Territories, Yemen

• North Africa:
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia

• Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean:
Angola, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, DR of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe

• Indochina Peninsula:
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

Annex 2 : PRE-PROPOSAL Outline

Format: 8 ½ x 11 inch or A4; 12 font size, Times New Roman; 1 inch (2.54 cm) margin
Maximum of 7 pages

1. Project Title (approximately 25 words)

2. Proponents

2.1. Lead Proponent

2.2. Collaborating organizations

Provide contact details, including mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, email address, etc.

3. Project Overview

3.1. Project Summary (300 words)

3.2. Problem Statement, highlighting the (sub) regional priority issue to be addressed by the proposed project (300 words) and contribution to sustainable development

3.3. Objectives

3.4. Key Activities (including capacity building, information management)

3.5. Expected Outputs

3.6. Proposed monitoring and evaluation (M&E) mechanism (indicative)

3.7. Project duration

3.8. Indicative budget outlining the equity contribution of each organization involved in the proposal

3.8.1. Supplies and services
3.8.2. Travel
3.8.3. Training/capacity building activities
3.8.4. In-kind contribution
3.8.5. Others

4. Annexes

4.1. Letters of Intent from partners indicating interest/willingness to participate in the proposal
4.2. One page CV for each lead proponent and collaborating organizations

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Pre-proposals should be registered to the DURAS Project website, www.project-duras.net. and can be sent on-line either through this website or by email (duras@agropolis.fr) on or before 23 February 2005.

Annex 3 : FULL PROPOSAL Outline

Format: 8 ½ x 11 inches or A4; 12 font size, Times New Roman;
1 inch (2.54 cm) margin; Maximum of 20 pages, excluding annexes

1. Project Title (approximately 25 words)

2. Proponents

2.1. Lead Proponent
2.2. Collaborating organizations

Provide contact details, including mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, email address, etc.

3. Executive Summary (1 page maximum)

4. Project Description

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Problem Statement, highlighting the (sub) regional priority issue to be addressed by the proposed project

4.3. Project’s value added and contribution to sustainable development

4.4. Objectives

4.5. Key Activities (including capacity building, information management)

4.6. Project outputs

4.6.1. Expected Outputs and Milestones
4.6.2. Prospective (sub) regional benefit
4.6.3. Potential for results utilization, scaling-up and/or commercialization
4.6.4. Others

4.7. Institutional Arrangements (i.e., roles and responsibilities of participating organizations)

4.8. Monitoring and Evaluation (including log frame)

4.9. Project duration

4.10. Proposed budget, including equity contribution (cash and in-kind) of participating organizations

4.10.1. Whole project duration per collaborating organization
4.10.2. Annual per collaborating organization

5. Annexes
5.1. Organizational profile of organizations involved in the project (outlining their comparative advantage and/or contribution in the success of the project)
5.2. One page CV for each lead proponent and collaborating organizations
5.3. Letters of Intent from partners indicating contribution (financial, in-kind, etc.)

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Last update: 02/16/06

DURAS is a GFAR-Agropolis International project supported
by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Priority Solidarity Fund (PSF).
It aims to contribute to strengthening the involvement and enhancing the scientific potential
of southern stakeholders in agricultural research for sustainable development (ARSD).
This three-year project covers 49 countries from Africa, Near East and some parts of Asia
that are listed in France’s Priority Solidarity Zone (PSZ).

DURAS Project Office Cellule du Projet Agropolis International | Avenue Agropolis F-34394 Montpellier CEDEX 5 | duras@agropolis.fr
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