Apply Now: On-the-Job Research Capacity Building for Food Security and Environmental Conservation in Developing Countries

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  • 2014•05•26

    Applications are now open for the UNU-IAS scheme On-the-Job Research Capacity Building for Food Security and Environmental Conservation in Developing Countries (OJCB). This initiative is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, and coordinated by UNU-IAS.

    1. Outline

    Under this initiative UNU-IAS supports capacity building projects proposed and implemented by leading scientists (host scientists) who are engaged in research related to food security and environmental conservation (including forestry and fisheries) in developing countries, under the responsibility of a host institution. The initiative mainly focuses on capacity building through on-the-job training (OJT) for young researchers in developing countries (trainees).

    The purpose is to increase agricultural productivity through innovation, strengthen research capacity, and build networks for cooperation among researchers, and ultimately contribute towards solving food security and environmental conservation problems in developing countries.

    2. Type of Projects Supported

    Supported projects should be related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries issues, and contribute to solving food security and environmental conservation problems. Priority is placed on fields related to climate change mitigation and prevention against transboundary animal and plant diseases.

    Each supported project must include all of the following:

    1. OJT for young researchers in developing countries to strengthen research capacity under a host scientist,
    2. guidance for developing an action plan for technology dissemination and research activity to be implemented by the trainee after the OJT, and
    3. follow-up guidance by the host scientist to the trainee in implementing the action plan after the OJT.

    These requirements are described in detail below.

    1) OJT for trainees under the supervision of the host scientist

    The host scientist supervises the trainees to achieve the research target defined in the project proposal submitted to UNU-IAS. It is preferable for each project to include no fewer than two trainees in terms of efficiency, and the host scientist is required to ensure an adequate standard of living for the trainees. When no less than two trainees are under the same host scientist, the period of training for each trainee can be different. An assistant instructor may be assigned to assist the OJT, if necessary.

    The OJT, which is the main component of the projects, should be conducted for 1 to 3 months in principle. However, its period can be extended within the limit of the budget (see paragraph 3, below), in case such an extension is deemed to be necessary for the proposed project.

    2) Guidance for developing the action plan to be implemented by the trainee after the OJT

    The host scientist guides the trainees so as to develop during the OJT action plans on how to make use of what they learnt on the OJT. After the OJT, the trainees will have to implement these plans.

    3) Follow-up guidance

    The host scientist visits the trainees after the OJT to give advice to the latter on implementing the action plan in order to activate the on-site dissemination of the technologies acquired by the trainees during the OJT.

    3. Budgetary Limitations for Supported Projects

    The upper budgetary limit for a capacity building project is $15,000 USD. Within this limit, the cost of the OJT (an upper limit of approximately $2,200 USD per trainee per month) and the follow-up guidance, with the duration of the OJT and the number of the trainees taken into consideration, is covered by the programme.

    Please note that the actual amount of funds provided for a project may be adjusted and will be decided after a thorough review of the proposal. For example, the total funding which can be received by a host scientist who trains two trainees for three months OJT is as follows:

    • OJT: $2,200 x 3 months x 2 trainees = $13,200
    • Follow-up guidance: $1,800
    • Total: $15,000

    4. Timeline

    1. Deadline for submission of project applications to UNU-IAS: 20 July, 2014
    2. Notification of selection results to the host institutions and applicants: Late August 2014 (Funds are remitted by bank transfer after Institutional Contractual Agreements have been signed with the host institutions.)
    3. Launch and implementation of capacity building projects, including follow-up guidance by the host scientist: from October 2014
    4. Submission of the final report (see paragraph 13, below) by the host scientist to UNU-IAS: 15 June, 2015

    5. Eligibility Requirements

    Only host scientists are eligible to apply. A person other than a host scientist (such as a potential trainee) cannot apply. This programme is not a scholarship.

    a) The host scientist/applicant must:

    1. in principle, be a scientist belonging to a research organization under CGIAR or UNU, or an agricultural research organization, a university, etc., in a developing country;
    2. be presently conducting research related to food security and environmental conservation in developing countries, and be able to train the trainee(s) based on his/her current research;
    3. be physically present at the host institution throughout the OJT period. In case an assistant instructor employed by the host institution is assigned to the OJT, the host scientist may be away from the host institution for up to half of the duration of the OJT period on the condition that the assistant instructor is physically present at the host institution while the host scientist is away;
    4. undertake capacity building with the full consent of the host institution (a letter of support signed by the head of the host institution must be provided);
    5. provide evidence of the consent of the selected trainee(s);
    6. obtain consent from the assistant instructor, where applicable;
    7. be able to write his/her application form and reports in English; and
    8. be able to have the trainee(s) recognize the challenges of food security and environmental conservation in their own country, guide the trainee(s) to develop their action plans,  confirm that the trainee(s) [have [undertaken the technology dissemination and/or research activities based on their  action plans after the OJT, and give advice to [them].

    b) The trainee(s) must:

    1. be a national of a developing country (in principle, those countries included in the OECD’s DAC list of ODA recipients) and priority is placed on projects which receive trainees from low income countries in terms of the purpose of the project, as well as APEC, ASEAN and African countries, since this programme qualifies as a contribution to these countries;
    2. be less than 45 years of age. However, candidates for trainees who are less than 40 years of age will be given priority in the selection;
    3. belong to a national or public agricultural research institution, university, etc., in a developing country and return to his/her institution after the OJT;
    4. have no direct mentoring relationship with the host scientist such as working at the same laboratory;
    5. hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a university or be recognized by the selection committee as possessing equivalent academic qualifications;
    6. obtain consent on participating in the project from his/her institution;
    7. not be the recipient of any funds from other sources for similar programs;
    8. be able to communicate fully in the same language with the host scientist and assistant instructor; and
    9. recognize the challenges of food security and environmental conservation in his/her own country, develop an action plan by the end of the OJT period and be willing to implement technology dissemination and/or research activities based on his/her action plan immediately after the OJT.

    c) The assistant instructor must:

    1. be currently conducting research related to food security and environmental conservation;  and
    2. be qualified to assist training based on his/her research background under the guidance of the host scientist. A post-doctoral fellow, and/or a Japanese scientist who is conducting research in collaboration with the host scientist and has excellent research achievement, can be candidates for assistant instructors.

    Applicant Responsibilities

    The applicant is responsible for:

    1. ensuring a successful capacity building project by closely liaising with the administrative staff of the host institution and the assistant instructor;
    2. ensuring the development of an action plan by the trainee(s) and its implementation through on-site visits to the workplace of the trainee(s), and providing guidance as appropriate;
    3. submitting a final report written in the designated format to UNU-IAS upon completion of the capacity building project. The report must include capacity building results, an accounting report and reports from the trainee(s) and host institution(s); and
    4. managing the allocated funds in a diligent and responsible manner.

    7. Costs covered by the programme

    The programme will cover costs for the following items:

    a) OJT for the trainee(s) under the host scientist and supervision for action plan development to be implemented by the trainee(s) after the OJT:

    1. a discounted round-trip economy-class air ticket and related expenses for travel by the trainee(s) from his/her institution to the host institution(s) where the OJT will take place;
    2. subsistence allowance for the trainee(s) to cover accommodation and other living expenses during the OJT period;
    3. an allowance to cover basic medical and accident insurance for the trainee(s) during the OJT period;
    4. research and capacity building funds including supplies. The purchase of durable equipment (scientific equipment, computers, cameras, projectors and microscope, etc.) to a cost of less than 100,000 Japanese yen per item;
    5. the assistant instructor’s remuneration (paid on an as-needed basis) and travel costs; and
    6. indirect costs charged by the host institution.

    This programme does not cover salaries or regular allowances for host scientists. Only those travel costs and travel allowances necessary for the OJT and follow-up guidance are provided.

    b) Follow-up guidance:

    1. travel allowance for the host scientist;
    2. office supplies necessary for guidance; and
    3. communication expenses (telephone calls, postage costs, etc.).

    Please note the following:

    1. Funds will be remitted by bank transfer to the designated bank accounts of host institutions.
    2. The funds referred to in sections 7.a).1) ~ 3) and 7.b).will be calculated based on the policies in place at the host institutions.
    3. The funds referred to in section 7.a).2) will be paid directly to the trainee, and the other funds will be paid to the institution to be used for implementation of OJT, follow-up guidance, etc., under the supervision of the host institution.

    8. Application Procedures and Deadlines for Host Scientists

    Applicants (host scientists) must submit the application documents listed below by no later than 20 July, 2014. Completed application documents should be sent to UNU-IAS by email to:
    The following forms are available:

    9. Selection and Notification of Results

    All applications will be reviewed by an independent and experienced selection committee. The committee will examine and select those projects best suited to receive support from this initiative.

    10. Evaluation Criteria for Selection

    Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

    1. a thorough understanding of the purpose of the program; and
    2. the suitability of the capacity building project, including:
      • the relevance of the research project proposed by the host scientist (applicant);
      • the relevance to the project of the research achievements of the host scientist;
      • the relevance to the project of the research activities of the trainee(s);
      • the suitability of the capacity building plan, including the concept of the action plan and planning of follow-up guidance;
      • the adequacy of the budget plan, e.g., air ticket, subsistence allowance, research and capacity building funds, overheads, etc.;
      • the sustainability of, and potential to further develop, the capacity building results.
    3. the number of trainees from APEC, ASEAN and African developing countries; and
    4. relationship with climate change mitigation or prevention against trans-boundary animal and plant diseases.

    11. Number of Projects to be Selected

    Approximately ten projects (in the case of two trainees per project) will be selected. The amount of funds provided to each institution may be adjusted based on the total funds available. A host scientist may submit two or more applications, but only one can be approved.

    12. Implementation of Capacity Building

    UNU-IAS will enter into an Institutional Contractual Agreement with the host institution of each selected host scientist as early as possible after the notification of selection results and before the initiation of the capacity building projects. The selected host scientist must provide UNU-IAS with the required bank account information in order for UNU-IAS to remit the funds through bank transfer in a timely manner.

    OJT and follow-up guidance can be implemented from 1 October 2014 to 31 May 2015 and the final report of capacity building results must be submitted to UNU-IAS by 15 June 2015.

    13. Final Report of Capacity Building Results

    The final report contains three separate sections as follows:

    1. Section by trainee: Each trainee must write his/her section in English and submit it to the host scientist.
    2. Section by host institution: Each host institution must write an evaluation and achievement report of the capacity building project, and submit it to the host scientist.
    3. Section by host scientist: Each host scientist must submit to UNU-IAS a final report comprising the capacity building result (including the action plan by the trainee) and accounting report, along with a summary after completion of the capacity building, by 15 June, 2015, together with 13.1) and 13.2).

    14. Workshop

    UNU-IAS will organize a workshop inviting excellent host scientists to Japan to discuss the result of the training and exchange with related Japanese scientists.

    15. Correspondence

    Please address your correspondence to:

    United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability(UNU-IAS)
    5-53-70 Jingumae. Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925

    TEL: +81-3-5467-1242 FAX: +81-3-3406-7347