Co-funded Small Grants Program

Results of the selection processs
a. Proposals to be funded

• SGP-HW 091: “Improving the governance of the floodplain in over-built river basins”. PI: Guilherme FERNANDES MARQUES. Co-PIs: Amaury Tilmant, Angelo Antonio Agostinho, Marcelo Olivares, Márcio de Araújo Silva, Emilio Carlos Prandi. IAI´s countries involved: Brazil, Canada, Chile.
• SGP-HW 090: “Socio-ecological resilience in the face of global environmental change in heterogeneous landscapes – building a common platform for understanding and action”. PI: Sandra DÍAZ. Co-PIs: Pedro H. S. Brancalion, Daniel M. Cáceres, Olga L. Hernández Manrique, Matías Mastrangelo, Natalia Pérez Harguindeguy, Yann le Polain de Waroux, Carolina Vera. IAI’s countries involved: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia.
• SGP-HW 016: “Adapting to Forests under Increased Risk of Extensive fires – AFIRE”. PI: Liana OIGHENSTEIN ANDERSON. Co-PIs: Juan Fernando Reyes, Eddy Mendoza, Foster Brown, Luiz Eduardo Aragao, Thiago Fonseca Morello Ramallho da Silva, Victor Marchezini, Vera Reis, Carlos Edgard de Deus. IAI’s countries involved: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, USA.
• SGP-HW 072: “Incorporating Local and Traditional Knowledge Systems: New Insights for Ecosystem Services and Transdisciplinary Collaborations”. PI: Gabriela ALONSO YÁNEZ. Co-PIs: Lily HOUSE-PETERS, Martín García Cartagena, Carlos Ormond, Sebastián Bonelli, Alexander Rincón. IAI’s countries involved: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Chile, Colombia

b. Proposals to be funded subject to the availability of resources:

1°) SGP-HW 069: “Transdisciplinary observatories to collaboratively assess ecosystem services for human well-being – enabling transformative adaptation of Latinamerica’s Drylands to global change”. PI: Natalia MARTÍNEZ TAGŰEÑA. Co-PIs: Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald, Martha Ileana Espejel Carbajal, Víctor Manuel Reyes Gómez, María Teresa Alarcón Herrera, José Domingo Carriquiry Beltrán, Simone Lucatello, Victor Orlando Magaña, Rosalba Thomas Muñoz, Jorge Valdes Saavedra, Mailing Rivera, Marcelo Oliva, Jorge Cardich, Dimitri Gutierrez, Maria Rivera Chira, Matthieu Carré, Juan Valqui, Diana Ochoa, Alexander Pérez, Abdel Siffedine. IAI’s countries involved: Mexico, Chile, Peru.
2°) SGP-HW 056: “Transformando la gobernanza del agua en América del Sur: de la reacción a la adaptación y la anticipación”. PI: Micaela TRIMBLE, Lydia Garrido, Pedro R. Jacobi, Esteban Jobbágy, Miguel Pascual. Countries involved: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina.
3°) SGP-HW 017: “Small-scale Fisheries and Marine Ecosystem Services: Adaptation and Transformation to Secure Human Wellbeing”. PI: Jeremy PITTMAN, Omar Defeo, Alberto Piola, Oscar Iribarne, Mauricio Castrejon, Ricardo Cardoso. IAI´s countries involved: Canada, Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil

c. Proposals recommended for alternate funding (IAI Directorate will offer to work with Principal Investigators to secure alternate funding):

• SGP-HW 011: “Supporting resilient cities: Participatory analysis and valuation of ecosystem services provided by green (ecological) infrastructure”. PI: Adriana ZUNIGA-TERAN. Co-PIs: Bram Willems, Francisco Meza, Andrea Gerlak, Sonia Reyes-Paecke, Joaquin Murrieta, Mead Mier, Tulia Garcia Leon. IAI’s countries involved: USA, Peru, Chile.
• SGP-HW 036: “Temperate grasslands conservation in the Americas: A transdisciplinary socio-ecological analysis”. PI: Pablo MODERNEL. Co-PIs: Jeremy Pittman, Valentín Picasso, Jessica Duchicela. IAI’s countries involved: Uruguay, Canada, USA, Ecuador.
• SGP-HW 043: “Linking wellbeing and ecosystem service bundles for adaptive governance of coastal systems experiencing rapid change”. PI: Donovan CAMPBELL. Co-PIs: Derek Armitage, Melissa Marschke, Jeremy Pittman, Patrick McConney, Cristiana Seixas, Shelly-Ann Cox. IAI’s countries involved: Jamaica, Canada, Brazil (+ Barbados).

Download the SGP-HW call in English – Spanish
Download the notification in English – Spanish

The Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), an intergovernmental organization composed of 19 Parties in the Americas, identifies adaptation to the impacts of global change as an issue of the highest relevance that the region should address through scientific collaboration and transdisciplinary research. Accordingly, the Conference of the Parties to the IAI invited the international community represented at the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Lima, 2014) to make efforts for finding and implementing viable adaptation strategies, with the participation of the peoples of the region and through the development of regional capacities and support to the development of new technologies.

Past Collaborative Research Network (CRN) projects contributed significantly to the knowledge on ecosystem services in the Americas. The second call in the third round of CRN projects (CRN3) in 2012 specifically recognized the interactions between ecosystem services, human needs and human effects on ecosystems as a core global change issue that requires social-ecological integration in research and decision-making. The results achieved thus far by CRN3 show the potential of transdisciplinary ecosystem-based research, which is enhanced in this call through its continued emphasis on adaptation and human wellbeing.

Global change poses risks to ecosystem services. Decision-makers need the best available science to set policy and allocate resources. The IAI works with its Parties and partners to identify how to best promote, undertake and communicate research findings towards stronger alignment and implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the 2020 and post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Focusing on the research challenge of adaptation directly responds to the needs of the region and creates an opportunity to reinforce biogeochemical, climate and socioeconomic transdisciplinary research. In this context, this Small Grant Program (SGP-HW) aims to link science and policy to achieve social-ecological sustainability and human welfare goals. The approach adopted under the SGP-HW, namely, a combination of “ecosystem services” and “adaptation” reinforces the need for transdisciplinary research by integrating natural and social sciences.

Moreover, the Lima Declaration that resulted from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)-IAI Science-Policy Symposium on Biodiversity and Climate Change, held on the margins of the UNFCCC COP-20, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Lima Climate Change Conference, (Lima, 2014) identified the need to strengthen research capacity in developing countries while promoting outreach and capacity-building activities. The Lima Declaration contains a set of recommendations from scientists who assessed the status, trends and vulnerability of biodiversity to climate change and the role of biodiversity in enhancing resilience. The Declaration also recognizes the need for greater awareness on issues related to adaptation in climate negotiations. Scientists identified recommendations and potential areas for collaboration and called for enhanced collaboration and support for research in biodiversity, climate change and socio-economic factors. Candidates are encouraged to address research gaps identified in those recommendations.

Proposals under this call should take into account the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 including its Aichi Targets and how the targets are reflected in the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. The Aichi Targets are also reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are under evaluation in discussions related to the post 2020 global biodiversity framework under the CBD.

Proposals should also reflect the Paris Agreement’s goal of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal1 which explicitly links adaptation to the goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees.

Objectives of the Small Grants Program
– Encourage scientists in the Americas to focus on global change research that responds to the challenges identified by the IAI Conference of the Parties and the global frameworks provided by multi-lateral environmental agreements and organizations, including the SDGs;
– Enhance the capacity of scientists to develop, conduct and disseminate high-quality, solution-oriented, integrated transdisciplinary research on global change;
– Foster research collaboration at the regional level by linking research institutions and other relevant institutions across disciplines and countries;
– Strengthen capabilities, particularly of early to mid-career scientists, to undertake integrated transdisciplinary research on global sustainability;
– Contribute to global-change solutions that increase the social-ecological sustainability of the Americas;
– Develop open data products and mechanisms;
– Develop mechanisms for co-funding regional research;
– Strengthen the science-police interface in global change issues; and,
– Improve science evaluation mechanisms and monitoring of its impacts.

Transdisciplinary research with societal impact
The IAI will fund international collaborative research networks for 2 years on the role of ecosystem services in adaptation to global change for human wellbeing.

Adaptation can be interpreted as societies’ adaptation to change while ecosystem services imply a benefit to societies. This research topic will therefore require framing of research questions in an integral human-nature approach2. Projects are expected to support decision-making and adaptation action in a transdisciplinary approach that promotes using, conserving, restoring, and managing ecosystems so that the natural capital is preserved, while providing important services. Projects should address additional risk factors and opportunities of global change. Research questions should be developed jointly with stakeholders and should address problems or challenges that decision makers are facing with regard to global changes. In addition, projects should prioritize key issues on science-policy integration by taking into account the work programs of multilateral environmental agreements such as the CBD, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations SDGs, among others. Moreover, projects should support the IAI in submitting scientific information requested by the IPBES and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). National teams should also respond to their respective national frameworks: National Action Plans, Nationally Determined Contributions, National Strategies on Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Programs, and subnational frameworks, as appropriate.

In light of the above, this call seeks pre-proposals focusing on research questions that are relevant to policy makers or other stakeholders, have strong scientific interest, and address concerns for human wellbeing and livelihoods.

Networking across the Americas and team building
The IAI will fund research networks that include scientists and relevant stakeholders from three or more IAI Parties. Country participation will be considered based on the location of the institution hosting the Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) as opposed to the investigator’s nationality. Letters of commitment indicating formal affiliation and institutional commitment to the proposal are required with all pre-proposals.

Institutions eligible for IAI awards are colleges, universities, professional societies, not-for-profit organizations, or governmental institutions which have formal research programs and are located in an IAI Party. Institutions are expected to partner with stakeholders in producing knowledge useful for adapting to global change.

Active roles (including as Principal Investigators) are expected -when possible- from scientists in social, economic, legal, and other human-focused disciplines. Early and mid-career scholars are encouraged to apply and take key responsibilities in the project, including Principal Investigator roles3. Under exceptional circumstances, the IAI may consider involving stakeholders in the role of Principal Investigators, when individuals and their institutions demonstrate proven ability to lead transdisciplinary research projects. Participation of decision makers, knowledge users and other stakeholders from the project framing stage is required, and proposals must demonstrate how research teams will work with stakeholders throughout the project and how information will be communicated through all stages. The required transdisciplinary team building will be assisted by IAI-organized capacity building activities at the proposal stage of project development.

Application process
This call is organized in a 2-phase selection process. During phase 1, applicants should submit an initial pre-proposal that presents the transdisciplinary network of the researchers and stakeholders and institutions proposing to undertake the project. It should outline the concept, objectives and deliverables of the research, and the transdisciplinary nature of the project should be clearly described. From the pre-proposals received, 3 members of up to 10 teams will be invited to participate in a week-long proposal writing workshop to ensure transdisciplinary problem framing, co-design and team building, while maintaining high standards of research and scholarship. The workshop will bring together researchers with relevant stakeholders to co-design the proposed research and to jointly create results models to link actions to outcomes.

After the workshop, teams will have 6 weeks to develop full proposals. Final selection of full proposals for funding will be made through independent peer review followed by panel selection which will assess the interdisciplinarity of teams and the merit and feasibility of innovative proposals.

The project duration of the SGP-HW is two years, with continuation of grants pending annual evaluations of satisfactory performance and subject to availability of funds.

The following timelines apply:

– 28 February 2018: Call opening;
– 27 May 2018: deadline for submission of pre-proposals;
– 29 June 2018: Selection of pre-proposals; invitation to proposal writing workshop;
– 06-10 August 2018: Proposal writing workshop. Pre-selected applicants are expected to attend;
– 15 October 2018: Announcement of proposals selected for funding;
– 15-30 October: Signing of grant agreements;
– November 2018: Start of funded research activities.

Award general conditions
The IAI promotes responsible conduct of research in its networks. This includes honesty in all aspects of research, accountability in the conduct of research, professional courtesy and fairness in working with others, and good stewardship of research on behalf of others, particularly IAI Parties.

The IAI Conflicts of Interest and Standards of Ethical Conduct policy will be applied during all phases of proposal evaluation, approval and implementation. All project investigators must agree to comply with principles aiming to protect the dignity and privacy of every individual who, in the course of the research work carried out under this project, will be requested to provide personal or commercially valuable information about him/herself or others. IAI recognizes the importance of standards on human subjects and informed prior consent. Research undertaken under this SGP-HW shall be conducted in accordance with the laws of the Parties in their respective areas of national jurisdiction, and shall not be conducted against the wishes of a Party in its area of national jurisdiction.

All IAI grant agreements require a continuing commitment from the researchers to establish, maintain, preserve, allow access to and distribute data that are collected during the project life cycle to provide the broadest possible open access to all its information. All data and/or metadata will be transferred to IAI at the conclusion of the project. Human-sensitive information will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Budget and eligible costs
SGP-HW awards will be up to US$ 200,000 for supporting research, data management, travel, workshops, capacity building, communication and dissemination costs, and scholarships. IAI funding is normally not available to replace or supplement the salary of investigators. Limited expenditures (up to 10% of the total project budget) for equipment and software are allowed. No overhead is allowed, but accountable administrative expenses may be charged up to 7%. IAI funds can only be managed through institutionally controlled accounts. IAI will only make awards to the lead institution (grantee) which will be responsible for disbursement to collaborating institutions (sub-grantees).

Co-funding requirement
This SGP-HW is based on the expectation of co-funding so that the resources necessary to carry out projects will not be fully dependent on the IAI grant. Co-funding is a key factor for projects being considered for these grants. The IAI anticipates greater co-funding in upper and upper middle-income countries with greater science and technology development.

Co-funding encourages additional resources —funding, knowledge, and expertise—to the program. It increases the ownership of the project by participants and contributes to the establishment of strong partnerships. Co-funding also helps the IAI to focus its funding in supporting the incremental cost of projects, with emphasis in backing IAI Parties that are in more need of support to develop their science and technology capacity.

Co-funding is defined as resources that are additional to the IAI grant and that are provided by grantee’s institutions, governments (science funding agencies, other government bodies at the national, subnational and local levels), other multilateral agencies, development cooperation agencies, the private sector, private foundations, civil society organizations, and various type of beneficiaries, for supporting the implementation of the proposal and the achievement of its objectives. Co-funding could take the form of financial or in-kind contribution. Eligible in-kind contributions include nonmonetary resources such as: researchers’ salaries or those from employees of organizations involved in the project; scholarships for students, valued at the regular rate of pay for the time devoted to the project; access to paid databases (incremental costs of access); analytical, professional, technical and other services (printing, editing, publishing, transportation, etc.) at customary rate for time; provision of or access to equipment and vehicles, and their supplies; space and facilities to be used for office work, field work, meetings and community-based activities, valued at the fair rental rate; other supplies.

Co-funding needs to take into account the specifics of the proposal: partners engaged and their roles, work plan and types of activities, timing. The IAI will recognize only those in-kind contributions that are fully documented and considered essential to carry out the work.

Selection of proposals
The scientific peer and merit review and the assessment of the policy relevance of pre-proposals and proposals will be made by a transdisciplinary review panel composed of members of the IAI Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Science-Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC), with the participation of outside experts selected on the basis of their expertise, when necessary. Approval of projects, in alignment with the recommendations of the transdisciplinary review panel, will be the responsibility of the IAI Directorate.

Pre-proposals will be assessed based on the following criteria: (1) Theme and intellectual merit (intellectual merit, consideration of global change risk/opportunities factors, socio-natural approach, methods & capacities, data management); (2) Collaboration & networking (scientific collaboration, institutional partnership, value added by collaborations and partnership, number of Parties); (3) Relevance (compliance with Paris Agreement, address relevant challenges and provides relevant information for global/regional and national frameworks, or local challenges; (4) Impact (interdisciplinary science and transdisciplinary science for addressing complex problems, expected impact, co-design with policy makers/stakeholders, mechanisms and methods for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science); (5) Team building & capacities (key roles for social scientists, key roles for young researchers, policy makers and stakeholders involvement and roles); (6) Co-funding (matching funds, level of co-funding by Parties).

Other factors considered in the proposal review include the appropriateness of the budget request for the proposed activity; compliance with programmatic goals of the IAI; and geographical balance among IAI Parties.

Pre-proposal selection will look for deliverables and milestones associated to the societal impacts of research results, while being aware that science-policy causal relationships and attributions are difficult to establish. The IAI expects innovative yet realistic pre-proposals with feasible expected outcomes resulting from scientists and non-academic partners jointly discussing and understanding their different motivations for applying to this call, and the implications of their approach to the project. Work plans, activities, budget, co-funding should be jointly decided; societal impact should be realistically identified.

Pre-proposal preparation and submission
Pre-proposals are limited to 7 pages:
1. Cover page. Proposal title, names of the principal investigator (PI), co-PIs, and other partners, with institutional affiliations and contact details.
2. Executive summary (250 words max.)
3. Problem statement/Impact statement. The expected societal impact, the policy relevance and expected implications for decision making processes; the strategy to help develop and implement policy options; and the significance of the proposed activity for dealing with global change issues and addressing the international and national frameworks. What outcomes (e.g., policy, conservation, natural resource management or human health and safety) does this project aim to achieve?
4. Objectives. Measurable objectives, and their relevance to the theme of the call and the IAI’s scientific agenda.
5. Intellectual merit. The intellectual merit of the proposal, and the expected scientific contribution.
6. Work plan and methodology. A description of the proposed work and its distribution among the partner countries; approaches, activities, methods, deliverables and expected outcomes, including plans for data management and for open sharing of the products of research between team members, with the broader science community, and with the public. Projects should address the priorities listed in this call.
7. Network description. Explain why the international partnership and transdisciplinarity is critical to the project success; how transdisciplinary integration will be achieved; how stakeholders will be involved; and how results will be adopted by decision makers.

Appendices (on separate pages) will be excluded from the page count:

8. A preliminary budget and budget notes according to the form below, providing the total funding sought (maximum of US$ 200,000 for three countries or more) and the co-funding offered, with funding distribution by country and activity.
9. A curriculum vitae (no more than 1 page) for each participating PI, Co-PI, and main partner.
10. Letters of commitment indicating formal affiliation and institutional commitment for PI, Co-PIs and main stakeholders.

Pre-proposals may be submitted as a single file in Adobe (.pdf) or MSWord (.docx) format with a maximum of 7 pages using a 12-point Times New Roman font, single-spaced format. Pre-proposals must be in English or Spanish. Pre-proposals must be received before 24:00 (Montevideo time) of 27 May 2018 at Pre-proposals that have not arrived at the address indicated before the deadline or that are incomplete (missing proposed budget with matching funds, CVs, commitment letters or other requested items) will not be evaluated.

The IAI acknowledges the generous financial support of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), which made this Small Grant Program possible.


1. Article 7(1) of the Paris Agreement, as contained in the report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-first session, FCCC/CP/2015/10/Add.1. See here
2. Definitions of ecosystem services used by IPCC and IPBES may be useful in the development of proposals. See: page 1764 in IPCC AR5 WGII Glossary and page 294 in IPBES/4/INF/4

3. Principal Investigator (PI) is the individual who will be primarily responsible for the overall development of the project, including the scientific and technical direction of the project, and who will be the principal contact with the IAI Directorate. Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) are individuals who will be working with the Principal Investigator (PI) in the implementation of the scientific and technical aspects of the project. PI and Co-PIs will receive funds through grantee and sub-grantee institutions. Associated partners may participate in the project´s network without being grantees or sub-grantees.