Additional information / FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


How were countries pre-selected for invitations to participate?

Every African country was eligible to be long-listed for invitation to the project. To generate the long-list, an index was developed to measure the suitability of each country to meet the project objectives using information on the biodiversity informatics experience, institutional capacity, priority areas and expert review of each country. The long-list was vetted by the Steering Committee.



How many applications per country will we accept?

All relevant biodiversity-related agencies from each country have been invited to apply and name project partners. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to support networks of biodiversity informatics partners, and not individual researchers. Thus we shall likely select the project with the strongest consortium of project partners. In cases where there are multiple strong applications from each country, we shall attempt to merge the project participants into a network and ask that a lead agency be nominated. In the end, only one project team will be selected from each country.

Unsuccessful applicants will be kept on record and attempts will be made to match their projects to other funders throughout the course of the competition.


What is the duration of the project?

The broad timeline of the competition is as follows:

Activity / event Timeline
Distribute call for interest. March 2017
Distribute full length applications. May 2017
Finalise project participants and contracts. May 2017
Inception meeting. June 2017
Biodiversity Information Management Forums in host countries. July – November 2017
First training workshop. December 2017
Second training workshop. February 2018
Project teams execute data mobilisation strategies. February – October 2018
Project teams submit outputs for evaluation November 2018
Prize giving ceremony. December 2018
Funding proposals developed for spin-off projects. January – April 2019
Project teams submit prize money spending reports. September 2019


How do project teams support the mobilisation activities if prize money is only awarded at the end of the project?

Support for mobilisation activities should be funded either by the agencies themselves or additional donor funding, such as BID. As long as the target datasets are non-overlapping between concurrent projects, additional sources of funding can be used in tandem with the ABC competition.This competition is a new methodology that we are testing and has been approved by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation as part of a data mobilisation strategy in Africa. While there are other programmes in place that are traditional funding mechanisms where funds are delivered upfront according to a budget (such as the BID projects), we wanted to trial a different approach to stimulate the self-organisation of biodiversity informatics networks. We acknowledge that it will be difficult for many agencies to cover the upfront costs of the project. In such cases, we shall attempt to help the applicant by 1) linking them with agencies within their country that have financial support for data mobilisation; and 2) seek co-funding agreements with other programmes.


How much support can project teams expect?

Project teams all receive intensive tailor-made training to complete the projects, as well as continual remote technical assistance. All training and support will be provided equally to the project teams in each country.


How will the differences in the state of biodiversity informatics in each country be accounted for during competition evaluation?

Project teams will be evaluated relatively. The road maps developed in the BIMFs will become the blueprint to measure the success of each country. For example, project teams that publish fewer datasets of higher quality and fitness for use and with more evidence of end-user demand and incorporation into policy will be scored more highly than project teams publishing more data of lower quality and less aligned to end user needs. Thus project teams with fewer resources at hand to implement the project will not be disadvantaged during the competition evaluation.


How are we working with GBIF and the BID programme?

We are aware that some partners who submitted expressions of interest may also be involved in project submissions under the current call in the Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme operated by GBIF. Whilst this competition is situated within the GBIF landscape and will utilise its tools, it is an independent initiative from the BID programme with a unique underlying methodology and theory of change. Wherever possible, the coordinators from the ABC and BID programmes will work together to ensure complementarity and maximum reward for the African biodiversity informatics community. However, the ABC application should not be dependent on funding from BID since the call is highly competitive and the outcome of funding decisions will only be known later in 2017.


Key information and resources


Data management and publishing:


Biodiversity informatics networks:


Policy relevance:


Useful reports