Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Grants

Deadline: 16 May 2014 (16 GMT+1)
Open to: project proposals connecting the ecosystem services and poverty alleviation
Grant: proposals between £50,000 and £150,000 GBP Full Economic Cost (FEC)


The ESPA-2014 Grants call is for “blue skies” research projects designed to significantly advance global understanding on the way that ecosystem services are linked to poverty alleviation, with specific emphasis on generating new understanding that can benefit poor people in low-income countries (LICs). Research funded under ESPA-2014 is expected to inform thinking and practice over, at least, the next decade, representing a step-change in the knowledge and evidence that will underpin future activities in ESPA’s sphere of activity.

Applicants for ESPA-2014 are encouraged to think creatively and to consider more risky research approaches where it can be shown that the potential returns are significant.

The Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) research programme is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). ESPA is an international programme funding cutting-edge interdisciplinary research generating new knowledge to enhance global understanding of how ecosystems function and provide services that contribute to human well-being, poverty alleviation and sustainable growth that benefits the poor. ESPA was launched in 2007 and will run until March 2017.


The application must:

  • Demonstrate the “blue skies” innovative, and, if appropriate, the “risky” nature of the proposed research. Proposals should explain how the successful completion of the project will change the way that the links between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation are viewed;
  • Clearly demonstrate research excellence that has relevance to the needs of poor people living in low-income countries;
  • Have clear hypotheses and/or conceptual frameworks that utilise ESPA’s Knowledge Strategy and Research Framework as a starting point and then seek to challenge and extend existing thinking;
  • Include clear methodologies and rationale for the methods proposed;
  • Address a range of ecosystems services, and link these to a multi-dimensional analysis of poverty and the ways that poor people can move out of poverty;
  • Consider natural and social systems (socio-ecological systems) and processes (and the links between them);
  • Include/consider multiple dimensions of poverty and human well-being;
  • Demonstrate understanding of the ecosystem processes that underpin different services and benefits or dis-benefits in order to identify synergies and trade-offs between them;
  • Document any relevant links and potential synergies with other ESPA research investments (both current and past);
  • All applications must be submitted in English and budgeted in pounds sterling (£/GBP).


Applications are invited for funding in the range of between £50,000 and £150,000 GBP Full Economic Cost (FEC). This call has been allocated a total available budget of up to £1.5M GBP, which may be revised at the discretion of the Programme Executive Board (PEB). Projects will be funded for a maximum duration of 12 months, with an expected start date between 1 December 2014 and 1 February 2015. Projects will be eligible to delay their start from this date by up to 3 months only. All other standard NERC guidelines will apply.


Please read HERE the requirements for single and joint applications (p. 25-26). The deadline for submission is 14 May 2014 (16:00 GMT/+1). Read the How to Apply section and log in to the online platform.

Check the web-site of ESPA.

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