Funding Opportunity: Accelerating Catalysing Solutions for Climate Change’s impact on Agriculture in India by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

About the Organization

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.

BIRAC is a industry-academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives, be it providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to the biotech firms and make them globally competitive. In its Eight years of existence, BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms that help to bridge the existing gaps in the industry-academia Innovation research and facilitate novel, high quality affordable products development through cutting edge technologies. BIRAC has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver the salient features of its mandate.

Vision: “To Stimulate, foster and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry, particularly start-ups and SME’s, for creation of affordable products addressing the needs of the largest section of society”.

About the Grant

Adaptation to the changing climatic conditions would be crucial to ensure that food production is maintained and the agricultural sector becomes resilient to the climatic irregularities. Different ways to adapt to climate change have been found to work well in different regions and among different communities. Some of these methods include improving crop varieties, involving communities in the adaptation process, ecosystem-based approaches like diversification, land restoration, agroecology, and agroforestry, etc. Such approaches make communities more resilient to climate change while bringing multiple benefits. However, the outcomes of these approaches may differ depending on the specific social and environmental conditions and evidence needs to be generated to support long-term productivity and the impact on essential services like pest control, soil health, pollination, and temperature regulation.

The potential of adaptive measures can also vary based on factors like the local economy, types of ecosystems, combinations of plant and animal species, and the level of institutional support. As noted in the IPCC AR6 WGII Summary for Policymakers, to ensure the proper implementation of adaptability measures, it is essential to recognize the changing climate scenario, the need for adaptability and the importance of policies, both scientific as well as social as ‘transformation entails system transitions strengthening the resilience of ecosystems and society’ (IPCC, 2022, p. 8). Therefore, there is a need for a program that delivers shortterm and long-term outputs that help agriculture and food system to adapt to climate change and can provide evidence to decision makers to mainstream climate resilient agriculture in agricultural policies. Consequently, there is an urgent need to invest in creative solutions to help vulnerable populations adapt and build their resilience to the existing and future climate related challenges impacting agriculture and build alternative livelihoods. This work will involve making those most affected, especially women, major stakeholders in discussions about how new climate resistant and adaptive innovations will be deployed, as well as giving them a deliberate choice and advantage in the creation of new economic opportunities that result from these investments.

Program Overview:

The overall purpose of this program on “Accelerating Catalysing Solutions for Climate Change’s Impact on Agriculture in India” is to increase the research and professional capacities, policy and administrative responsiveness, and agricultural-food-nutrition practices for better adaptation to climate variability and change in the Indian sub-continent. This RFP seeks innovative research and pilot/feasibility projects utilizing transdisciplinary approaches to better adapt to mitigate or reverse the combined, deleterious effects of climate change on agriculture in India. It is intended towards development of scientific and technological solutions as well as action research enabled by innovation, technology development, or knowledge creation for evidence-based policy. We are especially interested in (i) locally led, system-level innovations that are scalable and sustainable and (ii) cross-cutting solutions at the intersection of multiple scientific and engineering disciplines.

Desirable outcomes:

The overall expected outcome is enhanced resilience to climate variability in vulnerable regions. Two specific outcomes desirable are, (i) Increased and More Responsive Adaptation Mechanisms, Technology and Policy. (ii) Knowledge, Innovation and Policy to Confront Nutritional and Environmental Challenges at the local and regional levels. The projects proposals will have to specify how these outcomes will be realized with research in one or combination of the following themes.

  • Mapping and Enhancing Landraces: Epigenetic responses to environmental stress.
  • Securing Plant and Animal Proteins: Crop-livestock system to enhance agroecosystem resilience.
  • Millets, Tubers and Tree Crop Staples: Reviving Regional Food cultures/varieties for Climate Adaptation.
  • Soil Health and Biodiversity

Detailed Research Areas:

The major research areas within the above thematic areas which may be focused for a resilient agricultural production system and for which proposals are sought are as follows,

  • Mapping and Enhancing Landraces: Epigenetic responses to environmental stress
  • Securing Plant and Animal Proteins: Crop-livestock system to enhance agroecosystem resilience
  • Millets, Tubers and Tree Crop Staples: Reviving Regional Food cultures/varieties for Climate Adaptation.
  • Soil Health and Biodiversity

We are looking for proposals that:

  • Provide a strong rationale for the work proposed, demonstrating a clear understanding of India’s context and needs, and present a defined hypothesis and associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated.
  • Articulate how the project will lead to impact in the near-term and how those benefits will be sustained past the lifetime of the project.
  • Articulate the scalability of the solution beyond a small local region or population. Strong consideration will be given to approaches that can scale to multiple geographic areas, zones, demographics, etc.
  • Demonstrate engagement with local communities, local and/or regional decisionmakers and adopters of relevant innovations or policies.
  • Inter-sectoral co-ordination and collaboration is strongly encouraged.
  • We encourage applications from women and women-led organizations.

Project Duration and Funding:

The projects will be supported for a period of 36 months (3 years) starting from signing of Agreement. The funding level is upto INR 80 Lakh (USD $100,000.00) for each grant. If selected for financial support, investigator shall sign an agreement with BIRAC. Funding will be awarded for 3 years, subject to expert evaluation and the applicant complying with agreed milestones. Funds will be released on achievement of each milestone.


This RFA is India-led and proposals are solicited from Indian nationals having good scientific record and working within the country in established academic institutions, research institutions, agricultural research institutions, not-for-profit organizations/ trusts/ foundations, or companies.

  • The proposal should have a clearly defined plan with details of proposed activities, specific milestones and timelines, and the budget estimates. The proposal must be budgeted clearly indicating the budget components to carry out each proposed activity on a milestone basis.
  • Research proposals will be supported financially at recognised academic institutions, universities, national laboratories and other recognized R&D institutions having all the necessary facilities to carry out the proposed research. We also encourage partnerships with researchers of national/international expertise, subject to the call guidelines.

This call is open to,

  • Indian Academic – If the applicant is an Indian academic scientist, researcher, or PhD student (citizen of India), they must be willing to incubate at a recognized incubator and submit a letter of intent for the same.
  • Companies – Companies incorporated under the Indian Companies Act, 2013 having a minimum of 51 percent Indian ownership.
  • Limited Liability Partnership – Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) incorporated under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 having a minimum half of the persons who subscribed their names to the LLP document as its Partners should be Indian citizens.
  • Indian institution/ universities/ public research organization – Academic institutions established in India and having NAAC/ UGC/ AICTE or any equivalent recognition certificate or any other Public/Government supported organization.
  • Society/ Trust/ NGO/ Foundation/ Association – Society/ Trust/ NGO/ Foundation/ Association established in India under the relevant Indian Law having at least half of the stakeholders (partners/ trustees/ members/ associates etc.) as Indians.

How to Apply

Applications are required to be submitted online only.

Last Submission Date: 31st January 2024, 1600 hrs IST

For more information, visit: Link

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