Research Grants

Funding grants is the main mechanism for achieving the objectives of the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP). The grants must result in the release of data to the FBIP / SANBI for archiving, integration, management and dissemination. The data / knowledge should be clearly and directly linked to the main focus of the Programme (bio-economy and global change).

FBIP projects should generate or mobilize the following types of data

Species Occurrence

Biodiversity surveys, capture of data from specimens in collections

Species identity

DNA barcoding, other identification tools

Population abundance

Quantified surveys

Genetic diversity

Phylogenetic distance, population genetics.

Species attributes

Photos / illustrations, biology, importance to people including cultural significance, functional role in ecosystem, and interactions with other species

NRF Research Grants

Large Grants

The National Research Foundation (NRF) administers the project proposal review and programme’s grant allocation processes. Applications for research proposals open each year and all proposals have to be submitted via the NRF on-line system. All submissions are reviewed by an expert peer reviewed panel.

The programme includes a phased approach to funding large, integrated and collaborative projects which align with knowledge needs, or which involve participants along the entire value chain from knowledge generation to application for decision-making. One new large grant is selected per year which runs over three years, receiving up to R2.1 million/year. These projects should also include postgraduate students and emerging researchers, and includes the up-skilling of researchers and practitioners who use the data generated. Please note that the Programme focus areas for Large grants have changed slightly and projects falling within the following seven focus areas have been identified for support. For more details please refer to the FBIP Call Framework document (Section 4.3, Page 13).

Applications for 2019 Concept notes are now open. More details are available on the National Research Foundation (NRF) online website. Applications to be submitted via the NRF Online Submission System at

Smaller Grants

Smaller grants (and strategic biodiversity surveys when called for) are also available for researchers that will not be able to align their expertise within any of the larger funded projects.

Grants ranging from R50 000 to R300 000 are awarded for one year. These grants can be used for taxonomic research, mobilisation of primary data (specimen records), generation of DNA barcodes, compiling species information or for data management / dissemination innovations.”

Applications for 2019 small grants are now open. More details are available on the National Research Foundation (NRF) online website. Applications to be submitted via the NRF Online Submission System at

Ad hoc Research Grants

Through operational savings, funds were available in 2016 for grants for accelerated data mobilisation projects that would contribute directly to achieving the targets of the Programme. These grants were additional to the FBIP research grants called for through the NRF. The call, managed through SANBI, closed on 29 April 2016 and grants of up to R300 000 were available for support over a one year period. From the 29 applications received, 14 projects were selected through a panel review process on 8 June 2016. The total amount of funding allocated for these grants were R 2 368 799.

Projects providing the following outputs were considered: (1) Collection specimen data mobilisation: either (i) basic data capture for collections not yet databased, according to the Darwin core standard, or (ii) upgrading of existing data to meet Darwin core standard and / or georeferencing according to set standards and / or taxonomic verification of specimen identity or (iii) digistization (photographing) of type specimens; (2) Compilation of species pages: according to the requirements set by the FBIP, for taxa where species pages have not yet been compiled; (3) DNA barcoding of species: according to the IBOL and BOLD requirements and to be submitted to BOLD, for species which have no entries or fewer than 5 specimens currently in BOLD.