Research and innovation for sustainable development (TRANSFORM) - Call for Proposal

Servizio ricerca e trasferimento del sapere

21 Febbraio 2020

Submission deadline: 5 April, 2020 (pre-proposals)

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is launching a new research and innovation program, called TRANSFORM, which aims at funding strategic and applied research initiatives, which are directly linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and to the need of the partner countries. TRANSFORM follows the experiences of the joint SDC-SNF R4D program and is complementary to the newly launched SNF SPIRIT program, which focused on research cooperation with developing countries.

The call will focus on the following objectives:

  • generate and validate knowledge and technology that meet the needs of practitioners and contribute to sustainable development in the developing countries;
  • foster and support the utilisation and scaling-up of research-based knowledge, technologies and innovation in development policies and interventions, through engaging implementation partners from the onset of research projects;
  • enhance scientific skills and know-how in conducting transformative and transdisciplinary research on systemic and complex development challenges.

Already ongoing or starting in 2020 research can be supported.

Initiatives funded should:

  • address concrete development challenges from any sector and refer to policy frameworks at national/regional/global level;
  • facilitate the validation of research findings and up scaling of research-based innovation with tangible results in the next 3 to 5 years;
  • address several SDGs, on top of contributing to SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals) and SDG 1 (no poverty).

Funding and duration:

The maximum duration of SDC’s contribution to the initiative is 5 years. SDC in principle finances up to 50% of the total budget, but can cover up to 70% of the total budget if the type of initiative requires it (e.g. new innovative initiative). SDC’s contribution will indicatively be around CHF 1 million (m)/year. The consortium should prove that in-cash and in-kind financing is secured for at least half of the duration of the initiative and explain how further funds will be raised.

Who can apply:

TRANSFORM will support interdisciplinary consortia that consist of at least a Swiss research institution, a research partner in the developing countries (based on the OECD DAC list) and a non-research implementation partner of any nature (government, civil society, private sector). Further (research) partners from developed countries can also be included in the consortium. The consortium bring together the necessary expertise, capacity, network and experience and a good track record in scientific research, innovation, implementation of development projects and policy dialogue for sustainable development.


The call follows a two-stage procedure. Pre-proposal are 5 pages in length, including cover letter with signatures, project description (3 pages) and description of the relevant experience (1 page).

The deadline for pre-proposals is April 5th, 2020, 8PM.

The submission has to be sent to:

For further details, please contact Ms. Janice Casarella.


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