The South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) Prof Michelle Hamer recently told potential applicants for FBIP Small Grants that their projects must produce certain target outputs including DNA barcodes, species occurrence data, or species pages.

Hamer chairs the NRF Small Grant project selection panel for the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP).

The intention of the FBIP is to generate, manage and disseminate appropriate foundational biodiversity information as the basis for research which can catalyse the bio-economy, and for decision-making which will promote human well-being.

The overall themes of the programme are global change and the bio-economy.

Through the funding of projects, the FBIP aims to cover the following:

Knowledge generationMobilisation of existing data
Discovery, description, and identification of taxa.Data capture/digitization of specimen data according to Darwin core standard for biodiversity collections.
Surveys of areas or taxa of strategic importance (species occurrence) and/or population abundance data.Compilation of species information according to the FBIP/Encyclopaedia of Life requirements.
Phylogenetic and population genetic diversity, including DNA barcodes, which enable the distinction and identification of taxa.

FBIP-funded small projects must produce and submit one or more of the following three classes of information:

  • Primary biodiversity datasets (occurrence or specimen data) conforming to international standards
  • DNA barcodes submitted to the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD). Microbial sequence data not accommodated in BOLD should be submitted to Genbank.
  • Species pages: consolidated information about species (images, description, biology)

Furthermore, Hamer said that the proposed projects need to be strategic, producing data or knowledge needed by a state or other agency or industry or for another research project that is directly linked to the bioeconomy or mitigating the impacts of global change.  

The call for FBIP Small Grant applications (Review period 2) is now open.

The primary focus of the FBIP is to generate, mobilize, co-ordinate and make accessible foundational biodiversity knowledge in line with the needs of society, the Department of Science & Innovation (DSI) Global Change Programme and the bio-economy.

More about FBIP Small Grants…

Small strategic projects (Small grants) that address critical gaps relevant to foundational biodiversity information and knowledge.

Small grants ranging from R50 000 to R250 000 are awarded over a maximum of two years and about 20 projects can be selected in 2021 for funding from 2022. 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. Data generated through projects funded by the FBIP must be made available no later than 26 months after the starting date of the project.

There are two application windows for FBIP Small Grants (Review Period 1 & 2).

Application process (Review Period 2):

Applications for FBIP Small Grants (Review Period 2) can now be submitted electronically on the NRF Online Submission System at

For more information about the process, the number of applications allowed within a call year and cut-off dates, please refer to the NRF General Application Guide 2022.  

Applicants applying for FBIP grants must read the FBIP Framework Document and Funding Guide and FBIP Application Instructions to make sure that all the essential information is submitted through the proposals.

We recommend that you have a look at the FBIP Proposal Writing article and videos HERE