We are pleased to announce that the BioInnovate Program received an additional Fund amounting SEK 10M (1.3USD) for projects targeting climate change from the first call for proposals from Sida in September 2010, up from the initial grant of SEK 80m (USD 10.7m), from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) over the 5 year period (2010-2014).
This increases the overall Program Budget to SEK 90 M (USD 12 M). This grant goes towards supporting BioInnovate project consortia from the first call in thematic areas 1 and 2 targeting climate change adaptation in Agriculture and the Environment in Eastern Africa. The Bio-resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development (BioInnovate) Program is a newly established multidisciplinary competitive funding mechanism, for biosciences and product oriented innovation activities in Eastern Africa, through the Biosciences Innovation Fund, supporting applications for regional, multi-disciplinary innovation projects in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Bio-Innovate niche is characterized by a focus on the applications of bio-resource innovations, to support sustainable growth and transformation of the agricultural and environmental sub-sectors, from primary production to value addition, while enhancing adaptability to climatic change and strengthening innovation policy. The Program has four thematic areas (crop production, adaptability and diversification; environmental protection and management; technology incubation; and biosciences policy analysis), all of which are closely connected to and build on AU/NEPAD Consolidated Plan of Action for Africa’s Science and Technology. In response to the First call for Concept Notes on Adapting to Climate Change in Agriculture and the Environment in Eastern Africa, the BioInnovate Program received a total of 44 Concept Notes from applicants from the six BioInnovate participating countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The BioInnovate Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) at its first meeting held on 18-19 August 2010 selected (shortlisted) 15 concept notes to be further developed into 7 full proposals comprising innovation consortia of related projects. All the successful innovation project consortia are targeting crop productivity and resilience to climate change in small-scale farming systems (thematic area 1), and improve the efficiency of the agro-processing industry to add value to local bio-resources in a sustainable manner (thematic area 2) in the Eastern Africa region to bring impacts on the ground.
The external peer-review evaluation process of the 7 full proposals was carried out from 4 – 15 October, 2010. All the full proposals that met the eligibility criteria were presented to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for consideration for funding. In its 2nd meeting held on 22 – 23 October 2010, TAC recommended 5 full proposals for funding by the BioInnovate Program considering the creation of a balanced portfolio of projects, and taking into account the objectives of the call, quality of the proposals, advice from the evaluators, and the availability of funding.
It was envisaged that SEK 35m (USD 4.6m) is to be allocated to successful innovation project consortia from Themes 1 and 2, targeting climate change adaptation and or mitigation from this first call. With the additional fund of SEK 10M (USD 1.3M), the Program will be able to support up to 5 full innovation project consortia proposals from the first call in 2010. Lead Institutions of the five successful projects are to sign subcontracting agreements with ILRI, tentatively scheduled for late November 2010.
To this end, the BioInnovate Program Management Office and ILRI as the host Institution greatly acknowledge Sida for its continued support and commitment towards increased success of the BioInnovate projects and visibility of the Program in the Eastern Africa region and beyond.