Application Invited for Darwin Initiative Grant: Round 29

Application Invited for Darwin Initiative Grant: Round 29

Organization: Darwin Initiative

Apply By: 12 Dec 2022

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About the Organization

The Darwin Initiative is a UK government grants scheme that helps protect biodiversity, the natural environment and the local communities that live alongside it in developing countries.

 Most projects will include one or more of:

  • building environmental knowledge
  • capacity building
  • research
  • implementing international biodiversity agreements

Since 1992, the Darwin Initiative has awarded over £164m to more than 1,143 projects across 159 countries.

About the Grant

The Darwin Initiative is one of Defra’s Biodiversity Challenge Funds, along with Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund and Darwin Plus. It competitively awards grants for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction activities in eligible countries, helping these countries meet their commitments under the Multilateral Environment Agreements, Sustainable Development Goals, and national policy.

The Aim of the Darwin Initiative -  

The intended impact of Darwin Initiative is: The rates of biodiversity loss and degradation are slowed, halted or reversed, and poverty reduced in developing countries.

The Darwin Initiative will support and influence stakeholders to incorporate biodiversity considerations in achieving poverty reduction, through evidence and best practices, and targeting the outcome: Stakeholders, including local communities, governments, demonstrate sustained improvement in policy and practice that results in gains for biodiversity and reduced poverty.

Elements of successful Darwin Initiative projects are likely to include:

  • Enhancing the Capability and Capacity of national and local stakeholders, to help ensure a project’s long-term legacy.
  • Delivering outputs that will achieve both biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.
  • Strengthen the adoption or use of evidence and best practices in biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.

In achieving the outputs, cross-cutting co-benefits can be realised, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, and public health improvements such as, reducing the risks of disease (including zoonoses). Darwin projects are expected to co-opt and leverage other finance wherever possible.

Funding Schemes:

Darwin Initiative Capability & Capacity Grants: Darwin Initiative Capability & Capacity grants, ranging from £50,000 to £200,000, are intended to focus on developing the capability and capacity of national and local organisations (civil society, research institutes and public bodies) to efficiently deliver effective and successful biodiversity conservation - poverty reduction projects. To support the embedding of new skills and knowledge, grants can support practical elements where they are clearly linked to the strengthening of capability and capacity.

Darwin Initiative Innovation Grants:  Darwin Initiative Innovation grants, ranging from £10,000 to £200,000, are intended to test a novel approach that if proven could scale to deliver results for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction. We expect these grants to carry a higher risk given that they may have more limited evidence and are innovative.

Darwin Initiative Main: Darwin Initiative Main grants, ranging from £100,000 to £600,000, are expected to deliver strong results for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction based on good evidence, and strongly demonstrate to potential to scale.

Darwin Initiative Extra: Darwin Initiative Extra grants, ranging from £600,000 to £5m, are intended for approaches that are on a clear scaling pathway: building on good evidence from smaller projects to demonstrating the potential to scale further by completion, delivering strong results for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction. This can be through landscape or replication scaling, or through delivering systems change which will have sustained impact beyond the project’s original scale. We expect these projects to be supported by strong evidence.


Upper Middle-Income countries (UMICs) are eligible, however, projects applying to work in a UMIC must clearly demonstrate a stronger case for support. This includes operating in areas of high importance for biodiversity and a clear poverty reduction need. Such applications must also clearly demonstrate that they will also:

  • advance knowledge, evidence and impact in Least Developed or Low-Income Countries, or
  • contribute to a global public good, for example by advancing understanding and/or strengthening the knowledge base related to biodiversity conservation/sustainable use and poverty reduction, or
  • contribute to serious and unique advancements on a critical issue as a result of specific circumstances of the upper-middle income country that could not be made elsewhere.

Available funding will be ring-fenced to ensure that at least 70% is allocated to projects in Low Income and Lower-Middle Income Countries.

Lead Partner and Project Leader:

Applications must be made by the Lead Partner (an organisation), not an individual, agreeing to the Terms and Conditions(see 3.10) including managing the grant, its finances, reporting and governance.

Lead Partners can be based anywhere, but we strongly encourage projects to have in-country Lead Partners.

The maximum annual value of funds requested should not exceed 25% of the Lead Partner’s average annual turnover/income for the previous 3 years.

There is no limit on the number of applications a Lead Partner may submit, but we would encourage internal co-ordination to ensure all submissions are competitive; Defra may consider the number of applications from a partner as part of their decision-making process.

The Project Leader is the individual with the necessary authority, capability and capacity, and a full understanding of their role and associated obligations to take responsibility for delivering value for money, managing risk and financial controls whilst fulfilling the terms and conditions of the grant. Where the Project Leader is not employed by the Lead Partner, the reasoning behind should be made clear in the application, including their capability to control and be held accountable for the proposed project.

How to Apply

Darwin Initiative Main: Call for Stage 1 Applications from late May 2022 to 22:59 GMT (23:59 BST) on Monday 25th July 2022; results expected by late October. Call for Stage 2 is by invitation only (application link to be provided) in late October. Stage 2 Application Deadline – 23:59 GMT on Monday 12th December 2022.

Darwin Initiative Extra: Call for Applications from late May 2022 to 22:59 GMT (23:59 BST) Monday 3rd October 2022. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to provide clarifications from Friday 9th December 2022 to 23:59 GMT Friday 6th January 2023. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview (remote) between Monday 16th to Friday 27th January 2023.

Darwin Initiative Capability & Capacity, and Innovation: Call for Applications from early September 2022 to 23:59 GMT on Monday 7th November 2022.

All Funding Rounds: All applications must be made via Flexi-Grant All results expected at the end of February 2023 at the earliest Successful projects are expected to start from 1st April 2023 All applications will be acknowledged within 5 working days of the funding round close. If you have not heard after 5 days, please contact the Darwin Initiative Administration Team.

All applications must be submitted:

  • through Flexi-Grant, using approved templates where appropriate
  • with fully answered questions, referencing evidence where possible, the word count indicates the level of detail required; if appropriate, n/a is acceptable.
  • in English, and  signed, with a PDF signature uploaded as part of the Flexi-Grant application.

Once the Funding Decision has been made, all Lead Applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) will receive notification via email from Flexi-Grant. If you are successful, you will receive an offer of funding or, in the case of a Stage 1 proposal for a Darwin Initiative Main Project, an invitation to Stage 2.

​For more information please check the Link

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