Call for research concept notes

Economics of Natural Resource Use and Environmental Change

Deadline: 31 December 2018

The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) is an initiative of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) under its regional programme on Mountain Knowledge and Action Networks (MKAN). SANDEE is a research capacity-building network that provides research support to South Asian researchers and institutions interested in the connections between economic development, the environment, and the use of natural resources. ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre based in Kathmandu, Nepal and working in eight countries of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Globalization and climate change increasingly threaten the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and livelihoods in mountain communities. ICIMOD aims to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities while addressing upstream-downstream issues. ICIMOD serves its eight member countries through six regional programmes (Adaptation and Resilience Building, Transboundary Landscapes, River Basins and Cryosphere, Atmosphere, Mountain Environment Regional Information System, and Mountain Knowledge and Action Networks) with competencies in four thematic areas (Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services, Water and Air and Geospatial Solutions). 

SANDEE invites research concept notes in any area of environmental and resource economics relating to the development of South Asia and the HKH. Of particular interest are concept notes that demonstrate a clear demand from policymakers for their underlying research, although any concept note within the scope of SANDEE for research of scientific merit will be considered. We encourage research on issues of interest to national, provincial, and local-level policymakers in the region, including environmental issues faced by people living in the plains, hills, and mountains. Researchers working in the region (the HKH and South Asia) and affiliated to member universities of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC), an initiative within ICIMOD, are encouraged to apply. We will consider proposals that discuss the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that each country has submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) under the Paris Agreement, urban environment issues, energy access and efficiency, and disaster resilience.    

Examples of research previously supported by SANDEE include: 

  1. Country-wide assessments of the linkages between climate change and agriculture and its effects on migration in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and a case study of incentives for recycling lead acid batteries under India’s deposit-refund scheme. 
  2. An analysis of possible payments to farmers for ecosystem services in Bhutan, and an examination of biodiversity and economic indicators under different forest management strategies in Bangladesh. 
  3. An evaluation of a REDD+ pilot programme in Nepal on carbon sequestration and socio-economic changes, and of a livelihood intervention programme in India on farmers’ adaptive capacity. 

Past areas of research include the economics of climate change (impact assessment, mitigation, and adaptation), evaluating programmes and policies for greener development, and valuation of ecosystem services. To review completed research, please visit www.sandeeonline.org/publicationdisp.php?pcid=1.  

While SANDEE focuses on environmental management, proposals must include a strong economics component. Proposals related to action research that intend to produce consulting-type reports will not be considered. Concept notes are evaluated on their academic merit and policy significance. Multi-disciplinary projects, cross-border collaborations, and transboundary topics with a mountain and gender focus will be prioritized. Estimation of cost of non-cooperation among countries in the region in different areas (e.g., energy and water resource management), evaluation of the impact of national programmes and policies on the mountain environment and people, and valuation of ecosystem services provided by the cryosphere are other areas of interest. Institutional affiliation is needed to be eligible for a research grant. We encourage women researchers and junior to mid-career professionals to apply as principal investigators (PIs). Senior researchers can be included in the team as co-PIs or mentors, but not as PIs.  

Grants are likely to be in the range of USD 20,000–30,000 over a two-year period.  Larger grants are more likely if teams are multidisciplinary, involve two or more countries in the region, or focus on a transboundary issue. To be considered for the Summer 2019 grant cycle, please review the guidelines and upload your concept notes to SANDEE’s website at www.sandeeonline.org by 31 December 2018. Candidates whose concept notes are shortlisted will be invited to submit full research proposals that will be rigorously reviewed by multiple reviewers at different stages. Successfully revised proposals will be further reviewed, shortlisted, and invited to a research and training workshop (RnT) to be held in June 2019. Researchers will defend their proposals for a SANDEE research grant at the RnT. For additional information, please contact us at