Home / Launch third call for proposals Food & Business Applied Research Fund (ARF)

Launch third call for proposals Food & Business Applied Research Fund (ARF)

April 7, 2016 By: F&BKP Office Image: via Flickr (by: CGIAR Climate)

NWO-WOTRO has launched the third call for proposals for the Food & Business Applied Research Fund (ARF). ARF provides grants to applied research contributing to innovation for food security and private sector development in the 15 partner countries of Dutch development cooperation. The call has been developed in close collaboration with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform. Please note that some changes have been made in this call for proposals as compared to the previous two calls. Most notably with regard to the foci of the call, the additional option to have a different focus on two countries (Bangladesh and Kenya) and the reimbursable costs. 

Proposals may be submitted by consortia consisting of at least one private or public practitioners organization active in the partner countries and one research or higher education organization. One Dutch partner is required. Please note that the deadlines for submission are July 5, 2016 and December 6, 2016. The call for proposals, application form and format consortium agreement can be downloaded at the website of NWO-WOTRO.


In this third ARF call, fifteen projects can be granted. ARF aims at promoting research supported innovations that are readily applicable and contribute to the enhancement of sustainable food security for the most vulnerable populations in the fifteen partner countries of Dutch development cooperation: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, Yemen.

In this call it is also possible to submit a proposal with a different focus on Bangladesh and Kenya. Four projects will be granted within this specific scheme (two for each country).

Food security is defined as a focus area of Dutch development policy, in which the knowledge and skills of Dutch private and research actors can assist the partner countries in improving food security. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds ARF to support applied research projects that are driven by local demands.

Research projects should evolve through co-creation: a concerted effort of practitioners and research and/or higher education organizations. Projects should contribute to improving sustainable and inclusive access to sufficient and healthy food and an inclusive business climate for the most vulnerable people in the Dutch partner countries. Projects must show applicability of the newly developed or adjusted knowledge, insights, technologies, tools, products, services or policies. Since a strong local/regional private sector is important in reaching local/regional food security, research projects that aim at improving local/regional entrepreneurship are included.

Who can apply

A consortium applying for the ARF should consist of at least two partners that integrate different kinds of knowledge and execute a project as an effort of co-creation:

A. A private or public practitioner organization registered in one of the fifteen partner countries of Dutch development cooperation acting as the main applicant.

B. A research organization from a partner country or from the Netherlands, acting as co-applicant.

C. In case the organization/company under A is not a local branch of a Dutch partner or the research organization under B is not from the Netherlands, a third co-applicant is required, that is from the Netherlands. This can be a private or public practitioner organization or a research organization.

In the execution of the project at least one researcher from a partner country must be involved (not necessarily as consortium member). The involvement of additional partners, acting as co-applicant is encouraged. Next to this, gender expertise and female participation is required in the consortium and/or the project team.

What to apply for

A grant amounts to a minimum of 50,000 euros (for six months) and a maximum of 300,000 euros (for 36 months). Per 6 months a maximum of 50,000 euros ARF subsidy can be applied for.

Grants should contribute directly to the project. Reimbursable cost include:

  • Personnel and overhead: salaries for personnel, which should be guided by the organizations’ norms and legal regulations for the country concerned.
  • Audit costs: for a final external independent audit up to a maximum of 5,000 euros, so as to review and verify the correct application and justification of the ARF grant and the co-funding contributions.
  • Travel and accommodation: travel and accommodation expenses for consortium partners and of the expenses incurred in short trips (<3 months) of team members directly related to the project up to a maximum of 20 per cent of the ARF grant budget.
  • Research costs: durables (buildings excluded), consumables, assistance.
  • Knowledge sharing costs: activities organized by the consortium, such as workshops (including evaluation workshops), capacity building, meetings, local/regional dissemination of results aimed at involving stakeholders from outside the consortium up to a maximum of 15 per cent of the ARF grant budget.

Co-funding: private partners and/or local and international research organizations of the consortium should contribute to the project budget by providing co-funding (in cash and/or in kind) that amounts to a minimum of 20% of the grant.

When  to apply

Applications can be submitted continuously until December 6, 2016. Assessment procedures will start at July 5, 2016, 14:00 hrs CET and December 6, 2016, 14:00 hrs CET. The assessment procedure lasts for approximately four months. Instructions for submitting your application electronically through our ISAAC website can be found here.



Admissible applications will be assessed for quality, using three assessment criteria, each of which carries equal weight and should meet a minimum quality standard of very good per criteria:

  1. Contributing to development;
  2. Contributing to innovation;
  3. Project feasibility.


Applications will first be checked against the formal eligibility criteria. When accepted into the competition, assessment on quality is done by members of the Pool of International Experts (PIE). The PIE consists of researchers and experts from the corporate sector, development practice and policy. Applications will also be assessed for alignment with the Multi Annual Strategic Plans (MAPs) of the relevant Embassies by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). Applicants will be given the opportunity to respond to assessments of the PIE and MoFA. Based on the proposals, the assessments and the applicants’ responses to these, the Pool of International Experts Committee will rank the proposals for quality. The Programme Committee takes the final decision on funding, taking into account the ranking of the PIEC.


Please visit the NWO-WOTRO website to download the instructions for submitting an application in Iris; the full text of the third call for proposals; the application form; the consortium agreement, and Frequently Asked Questions.

Source: NWO


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