Call for research concept notes

Economics of natural resource use and environmental change

SANDEE invites concept notes in any area of environmental and resource economics relating to the development of South Asia and the HKH.

Call for research concept notes Economics of natural resource use and environmental change

15 June 2020


SANDEE is an initiative of ICIMOD under its MKAN Regional Programme. SANDEE is a research capacity-building network that provides research support to researchers and institutions from South Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region 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, that works in eight countries of the HKH region: 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 Regional Member Countries through six regional programmes, with competencies in four thematic areas.

SANDEE invites 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 research idea within the scope of SANDEE that has scientific merit will be considered. The landmark 2019 Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment report – coordinated by ICIMOD under its Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) – identifies several gaps in the evidence base to take actions to safeguard the mountain environment and improve the livelihoods of people living in the area and downstream. Accordingly, concept notes addressing relevant issues identified in the report will be of particular interest.

We encourage research on issues of interest to national, provincial, and local policymakers in the region, including environmental issues faced by people living in the plains, hills, and mountains. We will consider proposals that critically examine 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. Other areas of interest are urban environmental issues and sustainability, energy access and efficiency, and disaster resilience.

Application guidelines and selection criteria
  1. Regardless of whether concept notes submitted in response to this call focus on any of the environmental/natural resource topics, SANDEE will prioritize the selection of concept notes that have a strong economics component and the dual potential to produce high-impact scientific publications and information that is useful to national-, provincial-, or local-level policy makers in the region.
  2. Concept notes for action research that aims to produce consulting-type reports will not be considered. SANDEE welcomes concept notes that involve interdisciplinary projects, cross-border collaborations, and trans-boundary topics with a mountain and gender focus. Please visit https://www.icimod.org/initiative/sandee-publications/ to view examples of publications from completed SANDEE projects.
  3. Researchers working in South Asia and the HKH are eligible to submit concept notes.
  4. Principal investigators (PIs) must be junior to mid-career professionals employed by a university, research institute, or other similar institutions in the region, including government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
  5. Institutional affiliation of the PI is mandatory. While submitting a full proposal, a support letter from the institution where the PI is affiliated is required.
  6. Research teams can include senior researchers as co-PIs or mentors but not as PIs.
  7. We especially encourage women researchers and researchers affiliated with member universities of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) to apply.
Grant size and duration

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.

Application procedure and deadline

To be considered for the winter 2020 grant cycle, please review the procedure and submit the application form online by 15 June 2020.

Candidates whose concept notes are shortlisted will be invited to submit full research proposals, which will be rigorously reviewed by multiple reviewers. Successfully revised proposals will be further reviewed, and a final shortlist will be formed. PIs of shortlisted proposals will be invited to a research and training workshop to be held in December 2020, where they will present and defend their proposals for a SANDEE research grant competition. If you have any difficulty submitting the online form, please write to Neesha Pradhan (sandee@icimod.org) mentioning the nature of the problem.