Skip to main content

Climate-smart livestock systems: call for proposals: frequently asked questions


1. Which countries are considered eligible low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)?  

The focus of the program is Sub-Saharan Africa. Projects must be implemented in climatic hotspots within sub-regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.  

2. What is a lead applicant organization? 

The lead applicant organization is the institution where the principal investigator is based. The lead applicant organization should be an African institution (public or private). Lead applicants, along with co-applicant organizations, will assume responsibility for the administration of grant funds (see questions 6 and 7 for more information).  

Eligible lead applicant organizations will:  

  • have a key institutional objective to carry out independent research 
  • not be a United Nations organization or a CGIAR centre 
  • have a legal status 

3. What is a co-applicant organization?  

Co-applicant organizations propose research to IDRC jointly with the lead applicant organization. These organizations are direct partners in the research and jointly share the intellectual responsibility and ownership for the knowledge and outputs produced with the lead applicant organization. Up to two co-applicants can enter into grant agreements directly with IDRC (i.e. three separate grant agreements in total).  

Eligible co-applicant organizations will: 

  • have a key institutional objective to carry out independent research 
  • not be a United Nations organization  
  • have a legal status 

4. What is a principal investigator? 

The principal investigator is responsible for the intellectual conception and implementation of the idea and the direction of the proposed activities. The principal investigator should be based at the lead applicant organization and should submit the application to IDRC on behalf of the partnership (if applicable). 

5. If I am not affiliated with an institution, can I apply alone? 

Applications from individual persons will not be accepted. 

6. What is the maximum number of co-applicants for an application? 

The principal investigator may add as many investigators as are needed for the project, but IDRC will only have a grant agreement with a maximum of two co-applicant organizations in addition to the lead applicant organization (i.e. three grant agreements in total). However, lead and co-applicants may subcontract to third parties. See question 9. 

7. What is an administering institution?  

An administering institution is the organization with which IDRC will sign a grant agreement and must be legally incorporated. Regardless of the number of co-applicants, IDRC will sign a grant agreement with a maximum of three administering institutions. 

8. What is a third-party organization?  

A third-party organization is an institution that will participate directly in the conduct of the research and other functions of the research project but will not receive funds directly from IDRC. The lead applicant and/or co-applicants are responsible for the disbursement of funds to third-party organizations and ensuring research is conducted according to the agreement. Third-party organizations could be contracted to carry out a task that may not be available in-house for the lead and co-applicants (e.g. regulatory compliance, gene sequencing, etc). 

In addition, the lead applicant and co-applicants must first ensure the third-party organizations have adequate financial management capacity. Third-party organization budgets shall make up part of the total of the maximum budget amount per project for this call. Budgets shall be included under the lead or co-applicant’s budget and entered as a single budget line under the “Research Expenses” category of the template. The description of the budget line shall include “Third Party Recipient: Name and Location”, and a description of the activities being carried out. Indirect costs shall not be included in this total but reflected as part of the total maximum “13% Indirect Costs” category of the budget. More than one third-party organization receiving funds under the budget shall be entered under a separate line. 

9. Why can’t United Nations organizations and CGIAR centres apply as the lead applicants? 

United Nations organizations and CGIAR centres receive significant Canadian funds through other funding windows. However, CGIAR centres are eligible co-applicants.  

10. Are proposals from private sector companies to conduct research eligible, or must the lead applicant in a proposal be a research entity?  

Private sector organisations and civil society institutions are encouraged to apply provided they can demonstrate that they have the capacity to conduct high-quality applied research. 

11.  Are recipients from past or current IDRC/BMGF/FCDO-supported research projects eligible for funding? 

Recipients from past or current IDRC/BMGF/FCDO-supported research projects may apply to this call provided that the proposed research is deemed by IDRC/BMGF/FCDO to be distinctly different and/or complements past or current research carried out by that recipient. 

12. Does one of the applicant organizations need to be based in an LMIC?  

The lead applicant organization that will be entering into a grant agreement with IDRC (i.e. the administering institution) must be registered as a legal entity in Sub-Saharan Africa. (See question 1). 

13. Can the proposed research be connected to existing research agendas funded from other sources? 

Yes, provided the proposal clearly shows the added value of the work funded by CSLS and it is possible to clearly separate and attribute costs. It will also be important to be able to demonstrate that the proposed CSLS work is largely self-standing — i.e. there are no critical dependencies on the work being funded from other sources that could result in the CSLS work failing if there were problems with the other work. 

14. Will I be notified if my application is deemed ineligible? 

Eligibility will be assessed at two stages:  

  1. Starting with the online application system, applicants will need to first complete an eligibility form. Should they be deemed ineligible at this stage, they will be notified through the application system. 
  2. As a second step, all applications subsequently submitted will undergo a screening to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria for this call. Incomplete applications will be considered ineligible, in which case the applicants will be notified thereof at the email address provided. We encourage applicants to check their spam folder during this time.  

15. Is there a preference for specific types of livestock in proposed projects?  

No, while there is no strict preference for specific livestock types, concept notes should clearly outline how the chosen livestock production system(s) align with the overall goal of developing climate-smart systems. The focus should be on enhancing resilience and sustainability. 

16. What is your definition of “innovation” in this call for proposals? 

Innovations refer to the application of technologies, new ideas, processes, products or services that result in significant improvements, advancements or changes. 

17. What is your definition of “technologies” in this call for proposals? 

Climate-smart technologies refer to tools, practices, systems and approaches that are designed to enhance resilience, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development in the face of climate change impacts. A technology may not, in itself, necessarily produce an innovation. 

18. Are proposals focusing on scaling infrastructure (e.g. drilling boreholes, building diptanks) eligible?  

Only projects focused on developing climate-smart livestock innovations and technologies that would significantly contribute to climate adaptation, reduce emission and increase livestock production are eligible.  

Preparing an application 

19. How do I submit an application? 

All applications must be submitted through the online application platform.  

20. When is the deadline for proposal submission?  

The deadline for proposal submission is January 25, 2024. Late submissions will not be considered. 

21. Is it possible to get an extension for my application? 

We are currently unable to provide extensions for our call for proposals. Please aim to submit ahead of the deadline in case of technical difficulties. Please email with any technical difficulties encountered when submitting your application. 

22. Can the same individual be included in more than one application? 

Individuals may submit only one application as a principal investigator. The same individual may be a co-applicant on one other proposal. However, the role played by the individual under each proposed research project must be deemed by IDRC to be significantly different. 

23. Do I need to include any supporting documents with the application? 

Yes, applicants will need to upload and submit the following supporting documents with their application:  

  • Research proposal  
  • List of proposed team members 
  • Bios of proposed team leaders 
  • Institutional profile questionnaire 
  • Legal documents or corporate registration of administering institutions 
  • Letters of request from administering institutions 

For more information on requirements and formats, please log on to the online application platform.  

24. What are the requirements for research ethics?  

It is the policy of IDRC that research work involving human participants or animals must be carried out in accordance with high ethical standards (please consult here). Any research involving animals will need to obtain explicit approval from an appropriate body for oversight of the use of animals in research. Prior to commencing research, applicants will need to obtain approval from an official institutional or national research ethics body and will need to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant agreement.   

25. What thematic areas does the CSLS call cover? 

The CSLS call for concept notes focuses on several thematic areas, including 1) water, pastures and feed management, 2) Indigenous knowledge systems, climate data and management, 3) integration of renewable energy – circular economies, and 4) animal health. 

26. Will I receive confirmation that my application was received? 

Completed applications containing all supporting documentation and submitted through the online application system will receive an email notification to confirm that they have been received. If you did not receive an email notification, check your spam folder. 

27. How will applications be reviewed? 

All complete applications received through the online application system that meet the eligibility criteria will be subject to a formal review process. Applications will be evaluated by external and internal reviewers in accordance with the review criteria outlined in the call document, assigned a score and ranked. The selection committee will use the scores provided by the reviewers to select the applications. Only successful applicants will be notified of the status of their applications. Please do not contact IDRC before end of February 2024 to inquire about the status of your application.  

Budgets and funding arrangements 

28. What is the budget for this call?  

The total budget for this call is expected to be CAD9 million and we expect to fund up to 6–7 research projects. 

29. What is the maximum duration for the research project? 

Projects should plan for one month to start up, 34 months to conduct research, and one month to close. The total duration of the project should not exceed 36 months. Projects are expected to begin in June 2024 and must end by June 31, 2027

30. Is there a maximum budget amount per project for this call? 

We expect budgets to be in the range of CAD1.5 million. 

31. What is the limit of indirect costs or overhead costs allowable? 

Indirect costs are allowable up to a maximum of 13 percent of the overall budget for each member. This includes indirect costs for any third-party recipients who might be part of the budget. Please refer to Guidelines for acceptable project expenditures for more information on indirect costs. 

32. Must indirect costs/overheads of third-party organizations respect the limit rule? 

The maximum allowable percentage of the indirect costs is 13 percent of the overall budget for each member, including parts allocated for subcontracting. If a member decides to pay an individual third party more than 13 percent, they can do so only by ensuring indirect costs for the rest of the budget keep the total at or lower than 13 percent. 

33. Must the budget be broken down equally between all members of the partnership? 

No. However, proposal budgets should ensure that all partners are adequately resourced to perform their expected roles and participate in the overall coordination of partnership activities (including monitoring, reporting, communication, etc.). 

34. Is the organization housing the lead applicant permitted to include a management fee for the partnership? 

The lead organization cannot include a fee for the management of the partnership. However, the lead applicant organization can include a coordinator position in the personnel line item of the budget to cover fees related to management and coordination of research and related activities. 

35. Are the lead and co-applicant institutions expected to make financial/in-kind contributions to the project?  

Yes, these are contributory grants. Lead and co-applicant organizations are required to make either a financial or in-kind contribution (or both) to be considered for funding under this call. These contributions shall be recorded under a specific tab of the budget template, which must be submitted with the full proposals if the concept note is successful. Any other cash amounts from private grants, or from grants received from local, provincial or national authorities in their country of origin for the purpose of the project, must also be recorded here. 

36. Do I have to give permission for use and disclosure of information? 

By filing an application under this call, the applicant consents to the disclosure of all information and documents they submit to reviewers involved in the selection process, both within IDRC and externally. The applicant further consents to disclosure of the name of the lead applicant and co-applicant(s) and the name of the proposed research project in any announcements made by IDRC under this call. Personal information collected by IDRC under this call is used to administer and monitor grants for research projects and promote and support international development research in Canada and in the regions where IDRC operates. Consistent with these purposes, applicants should expect that information collected by IDRC may be used and disclosed in IDRC-supported activities. 

37. If my proposal is accepted, who will own the intellectual property rights to my research? 

If the concept note is successful, prior to submitting their full proposal, applicants should review the CSLS Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (IPR). The IPR must be signed by the successful applicants in the first six months of the project to continue project funding.  

Technical difficulties and/or additional information 

38. Will I receive feedback on my submission? 

Given the volume of applications, IDRC will not provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.  

39. Whom should I contact for further information? 

Any inquiries related to this call and the application process not answered in this list of FAQs must be sent by email to the CSLS team at