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FAQ: Call for expressions of interest: Regional hubs for climate change and health

Updated: March 26, 2024 

Eligibility 

1. Can an organization submit more than one proposal? 

Each organization can submit only one application as Lead Applicant Organization. However, an organization may apply as a Co-Applicant Organization on multiple applications. 

2. Is there a limit on the number of applications that an individual can be a part of?

Yes. Core Team members can be listed on a maximum of two applications (e.g., someone can be a Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant on one application and a Co-Applicant on one other application). One person cannot be Lead Applicant on two separate applications.  

3. How many institutions will be funded to establish regional hubs? 

Up to five institutions are anticipated to be funded to establish regional hubs in the Global South. These hubs will initiate and manage research sub-grants in 1) West and Central Africa, 2) East and Southern Africa, 3) Asia (including the Indo-Pacific region), 4) Latin America and the Caribbean, and 5) the Middle East and North Africa. However, as noted previously, the hubs must be located and headquartered in one of the listed eligible countries.

4. Are there any specific team-level expectations to establish the regional hubs? 

Yes. The Core Team should collectively have extensive background in research programming on health and climate change. See the eligibility evaluation criteria in the call.

5. What specific country procedures, clearances or permissions are required?

In some cases, IDRC has agreements for scientific and technical cooperation with the governments of the countries where we support projects. Where such agreements exist, IDRC may require additional or alternative approval processes to be followed to comply with such agreements. Lead Applicant Organizations whose applications are successful must also follow the prevailing approval procedure as required by their organizations and government authorities. 

If relevant, country procedures only apply to applications that are selected for funding and are not required prior to submitting a full proposal. IDRC reserves the right to not pursue the funding of a selected project if the country approval is not secured within six months after IDRC officially announces approval of the project.

6. Are these country procedures only applicable to the Lead Applicant Organization?

No. As applicable, country procedures apply to the Lead Applicant Organization and Co-Applicant organizations.

7. Can an organization not classified as a low- and middle-income country (LMIC) be eligible to apply as a Lead Applicant Organization? 

No. All eligible countries are classified as LMICs. Lead Applicant Organizations intending to serve as regional research hub leads must be headquartered in an eligible country in their respective regions (West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa, Asia (including the Indo-Pacific region), Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa). 

8. What is the main criterion to qualify to submit a full application? 

Only applicants whose expressions of interest are successful will be invited to submit a full technical proposal. See the outlined eligibility criteria that will guide the evaluation process.

9. Is it possible to submit an expression of interest (EOI) without having all constituent organizations of the research hub at the time of submission? 

Yes. Provided that the Lead Applicant Organization itself meets all the eligibility criteria provided in the call. However, we anticipate that applications that include Co-Applicant Organizations are likely to have a higher chance of meeting all the listed eligibility criteria.

Financial and Budgetary Issues 

10. Are applicant organizations required to make financial or in-kind contributions? 

Five grants, each anticipated to be up to CAD4 million, will be issued to applicants whose full proposals are successful. Nevertheless, for those applicants that are selected to receive a grant, IDRC’s policy on local contributions will apply as follows: 

  • Any applicant and co-applicant institution selected to receive IDRC funding will be required to make local contributions to the project. 
  • Local contributions represent cash amounts expended by the applicant from its own resources, from private grants or from grants received from local, provincial or national authorities for the purpose of the project. 
  • In-kind contributions may include salaries of regular staff, equipment, and infrastructure and overhead costs.
  • Cash and/or in-kind contributions should be reflected in the project budget. 

11. Can indirect costs be included in the total project budget? 

You are not required to submit a budget at the EOI stage. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, guidance will be provided on how to prepare your budget. 

In general, where an organization has a supportable indirect cost-recovery policy, IDRC will support indirect cost of up to 13% of all IDRC grantee-administered costs. The indirect cost rate proposed in the budget should not exceed the grantee’s organizational rate and should be verifiable.  

Where a project includes sub-IDRC grantees who are administering a portion of the project, the maximum contribution may be shared between the proposing institution and the collaborating institution, but it cannot exceed 13% of the total budget.

12. Should the budget currency be in Canadian dollars? 

You are not required to submit a budget at the EOI stage. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, guidance will be provided on how to prepare your budget. 

13.How should the project budget be distributed between the organizations in the successful hubs?  

While each team should define the most appropriate way to distribute their budget to achieve their proposed project’s activities, the recommended budgetary allocation for each grant is as follows: 

Sub-grants 47% This is the minimum proportion that each hub must allocate to sub-grants via a competitive call for proposals in their respective regions. 
Hub operations 40% Includes personnel costs, consultants, travel, communications, knowledge translation, technical support to sub-grantees, situational analyses and case studies. 
Indirect costs 13% Total indirect cost must be fairly distributed among the hub, its partners, and sub-grantees. 
Total 100%  

14. Is IDRC going to bear any costs related to the preparation of the EOI or full proposals? 

No.

15. Who should submit the application? 

A Lead Applicant Organization based in an eligible country. Co-Applicant Organizations or other third parties are not eligible to submit a proposal on behalf of or in-lieu of the Lead Applicant Organization.

16. Will I receive reviewers’ comments on my application? 

At the EOI stage, no comments will be provided to applicants. Each applicant will only receive a notification of decision by the stated date. Applicants that are invited to submit a full proposal will receive comments from the external review committee on their proposals via IDRC after the review process is complete and decisions have been communicated to the applicants.

17. Is there a maximum length for the CVs of the principal and co-principal applicants? 

No.

Responses to questions raised during information session on March 7, 2024

18. Can Lead Applicant Organizations or Co-Applicant Organizations be based in high-income countries?

No. If your organization is headquartered in a high-income country, you cannot apply as a Lead Applicant Organization or Co-Applicant Organization.

19. Can Co-Applicant Organizations be based in low- and middle-income countries that are not in the list of eligible countries?

No. If your organization is based in a low- or middle-income country that is not in the list of eligible countries, you cannot apply as a Co-Applicant Organization. However, when the hubs issue their call for proposals, you might be eligible to apply for sub-grants. A list of eligible countries will be made available by the hubs when calls for sub-grants are issued. 

20. Are non-profits, faith-based organizations, civil society organizations, consulting firms and universities (public or private) eligible to apply?

Yes, provided your organization meets all the eligibility criteria. You can apply as a Lead Applicant Organization or Co-Applicant Organization.

Private for-profit organizations can only apply as Co-Applicant Organizations. 

21. Are international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) eligible to apply as a Lead Applicant Organization or Co-Applicant Organization?

INGOs are eligible to apply as a Lead Applicant Organization if they are headquartered in an eligible country.

INGOs are eligible to apply as Co-Applicant Organizations provided that they have regional chapters or offices with appropriate legal status to operate and manage funds in an eligible country.

22. How many Co-Applicant Organizations can there be in an application?

Having Co-Applicant Organization(s) is not a requirement. 

In addition to the Lead Applicant Organization, each application is allowed a maximum of two Co-Applicant Organizations

23. How many Co-Applicants can there be in the Core Team of an application?

The Core Team includes the lead applicant (or principal investigator) AND no more than five co-applicants (or co-investigators).

24. Should our supporting documents be translated to English or French if they are not originally in either language?

If the legal documentation confirming your organization's creation and independent legal status is not in English or French, it must be supplemented with a translated version in either of these languages. 

For all other documents, you may upload copies of the supporting documents in their original language, accompanied by translated versions in French or English when available. If translated versions are not available, please provide a cover letter for the document in either French or English that summarizes the documents’ contents. Applicants invited to submit a full proposal may be required to provide notarized translations of supporting or corporate documents on request.

25. Are the regional hubs allowed to sub-grant in countries not listed in Annex 3?

The regional hubs will be expected to develop, in consultation with IDRC, a list of eligible countries for the sub-grants, to publish with the call for sub-grants. 

26. Will Co-Applicant Organizations also receive funds from the hub?

Co-Applicant Organizations are core members of the research hub and jointly share with the Lead Applicant Organization the intellectual responsibility for and ownership of the knowledge and outputs produced. Therefore, Co-Applicant Organizations are expected to be included in the budget distribution, including receiving part of the indirect costs. Lead Applicant Organizations and Co-Applicant Organizations are expected to negotiate the roles of each member and the funding distribution to support those roles.

27. Can a government ministry or department be a Co-Applicant Organization?

Yes, government departments can apply as Co-Applicant Organizations if they are in an eligible country. 

28. Can independent researchers be part of the Core Team?

No, the Core Team must be comprised of a lead applicant based at the Lead Applicant Organization and co-applicants based at Co-Applicant Organizations. 

29. Can a Co-Applicant Organization come from regions other than the region where the lead applicant is based?

No. All Co-Applicant Organizations must be from the same regional grouping (listed in Annex 3) as the Lead Applicant Organization. 

30. Can co-applicants (or co-investigators) come from countries other than the one where the lead applicant (or principal investigator) is based?

Yes, provided that they are in an eligible country (listed in Annex 3) in their respective region.

31. Do Co-Applicant Organizations need to meet all the eligibility criteria required of the Lead Applicant Organization?

No. There are certain eligibility requirements that only apply to the Lead Applicant Organization (see Section 6 of the Call). For example, the Lead Applicant Organization is required to demonstrate that it is legally registered and headquartered in an eligible country. This does not apply to the Co-Applicant Organizations. However, it is the responsibility of the Lead Applicant Organization to ensure that it partners only with organizations that are legally registered in eligible countries. 

32. Can consortium partners be replaced at the full proposal stage?

Yes, in limited instances and only with prior written approval from IDRC.

33. Do applicants at the EOI stage have to demonstrate that they have worked together in the past? 

No. New consortia can be constituted for the purpose of this Call.

34. Will the Lead Applicant Organization be the host institution of the hub?

Yes, the Lead Applicant Organization must be the host institution of the hub. It will have administrative and financial roles specified in the IDRC grant agreement. The host location cannot be transferred to a Co-Applicant Organization or any other organization. 

35. My institution has experience in climate change research but no experience in health sector research, or vice versa. Are we still eligible to apply?

Yes, provided you partner with a Co-Applicant Organization that has expertise in the area that complements you to fulfil the required expertise.

36. After the hubs are selected, will other teams or departments within the same institution as the hub be eligible to apply for sub-grants?

Yes. Conflict of Interest guidelines will be developed and applicants from the hub institution will need to meet certain requirements to demonstrate that no real or perceived conflicts of interest apply to their circumstances. 

37. Are the eligibility criteria pass/fail or is it possible to still be considered even if 1 criterion is not met?

No. You must meet all the eligibility criteria.

38. Are the grants that will be provided to the hubs cost reimbursed or output based?

IDRC grants are disbursed on the basis of a schedule of milestones outlined in the grant agreement or contract signed with the recipient institution. 

The schedule of payments reflects the recipient’s expected cash flow as indicated in the proposal budget or, if submitted prior to approval, the project work plan. The initial payment is contingent on the signing of the grant agreement by all parties. 

Interim payments are released based on the progress of project activities and after IDRC receives and approves the required project deliverables.

39. What is a sub-grantee?

For the purposes of this Call for EOIs, we refer to a sub-grantee as an organization that will receive funds from the hubs once they are established. Each hub will utilize IDRC funds to run an open competitive call for proposals. Organizations that are funded through the competitive call will be referred to as sub-grantees.

Payments to suppliers located overseas cannot be counted as sub-granting internationally.

40. Can a Lead Applicant that has one or more current IDRC grants still apply as Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant?

Yes. However, note that if the person is a principal investigator on more than two IDRC grants, the individual will be required to demonstrate that they will have adequate time and level of effort committed to the hub if their proposal is successful.

41. Regarding Evaluation Criteria #4, can the value of CAD2 million  be summed over multiple grants or does each grant need to be valued at a minimum of CAD2 million?

The intent of this criterion is to ensure that the Lead Applicant Organization has a track record of managing large grants. Therefore, the lead applicant must provide documents showing that they have received two or more grants valued at a minimum of CAD2 million each.

42. My organization is based in an eligible country, but we have only transferred funds to other institutions through our sister organization in a non-eligible country. Does this meet the requirement for Eligibility Criteria #3?

No. The Lead Applicant Organization must demonstrate that it has a record of transferring funds directly to other organizations in its region of operation.

43. If the Lead Applicant Organization is headquartered in one of the eligible countries, can it receive funds in its subsidiary which may be based in a country outside the region?

No.

44. We are a semi-autonomous institution based in an eligible country for several decades and officially recognized by the national government. However, our legal institution is based in a non-eligible country. Can we apply?

No. You cannot apply as a Lead Applicant Organization because you are not legally headquartered in an eligible country. However, you may be included in an application as a Co-Applicant Organization. 

45. Where should we include the advisory committee within the application?

No advisory committee is needed at the EOI stage. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, additional guidance will be provided.

46. Can members of a hub’s Core Team be investigators in sub-grants awarded by the hub?

No.

47. Can I include additional expertise from organizations in non-eligible countries?

Yes, additional expertise from non-eligible countries can be included as needed. However, note that the Core Team (lead applicant and up to five co-applicants) must all be based at organizations in eligible countries.