Two new DFID Research Programmes

Two new DFID Research Programmes

Posted by · on September 02, 2015 · in Opportunities > Funding · with 2 Comments

Two new DFID Research Programmes

DFID have recently announced details of two significant forthcoming research programmes.

The first is a programme of research entitled Bioenergy for Sustainable Energy Access in Africa which will fcous on testing the commercial and economic viability and the technical feasibility of various bioenergy applications and technologies for developing countries and develop effective solutions to improve energy access.  The geographical focus of the research will be in DFID focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). DFID envisage a phased approach with Phase I (up to 12 months) focusing on identifying knowledge gaps in this area and setting the boundaries for the research that could be undertaken in a Phase II of the programme (up to 36 months). Phase I will also be used to establish the needs of the stakeholders in SSA and to identify and establish a collaborative dialogue with similar research and relevant operational programmes working in the field of bioenergy. There will be the possibility of a break-point in the contract at the end of Phase I. Continuation to Phase II will be dependent on the quality of Phase I work and DFID approval of the proposed research priorities and methodology.

Phase II might then focus on i) improving understanding of the commercial, economic and technical needs, challenges and opportunities for developing countries in SSA to benefit from bioenergy in various contexts (e.g. rural villages, small towns, poor neighbourhoods in larger cities) and ii) identifying, testing and piloting new and existing technological and business solutions to enable the deployment (i.e. production and application) of bioenergy solutions on the ground at scales to suit the needs of poor people with no access to energy, as well as micro, small and medium size businesses.  DFID has approved a budget of upto £4.5 million for this programme and would like to invite prospective bidders to an Early Market Engagement event in October 2015, at which we will present the research concept and draft TORs as well as a set of key research questions to stimulate discussion. The main objective of this is to seek views from the market on the research concept, initial thinking on the research themes and the contractual approach. Further information including the date of the event in October will be communicated via the DFID Portal in due course. One focusing specifically on Bioenergy in Africa and the other much broader and entitled Transforming Energy Access.

There is no supplier day announced for this programme but we will publish any further details about the call here as soon as we hear about them.


The second is for a programme entitled Transforming Energy Access. This is envisaged as an applied research and innovation programme to respond to the challenges of significantly scaling up access to reliable, clean energy to serve the poor. A five year programme of value up to £60 million is envisaged that will address critical evidence gaps and test what innovative technology applications, business models and financing, and skills development could dramatically accelerate the provision of affordable, clean energy based services to poor households and enterprises. The programme will build on and expand successful DFID research partnerships, and also test new research commissioning channels. A number of complementary components are envisaged. A consortium is sought to oversee the coordination of this umbrella programme, ensuring that the research and evidence is translated into new energy initiatives that increase energy access. The research programme will be managed to optimise the testing and scaling up of successful models. This will be achieved through rigorous monitoring of progress against theory of change models and indicators, phasing and reviews of the different research components, and tracking of the translation of results into practice.

This Research Programme Delivery Consortium will provide a range of services varying from coordinated oversight monitoring for the established partnerships and commissioning processes, through to direct undertaking of scoping activities, analysis and commissioning of additional research, which will require sector expertise. This is not the conventional Programme Management Unit role. This will require very strong, demonstrable monitoring and evaluation skills, and reporting and communications capabilities. The services may extend beyond this programme to incorporate results monitoring for other related DFID energy research projects (to be discussed). Experience of working in DFID focus countries is essential. A five year contract is envisaged for the consortium, with a break point dependent of satisfactory performance. Each component of the research programme would also incorporate break-points between phases.

DFID would like feedback from prospective bidders and will organise a Market Engagement Day for 9th October 2015 at our DFID Whitehall Offices, exact timing to be confirmed. The main objective of this meeting is to seek views from the market on the research framework proposed and overall research management concept. TEA research framework and a draft terms of reference for the envisaged Research Programme Delivery Consortium will be made available, together with a set of key research questions to stimulate feedback, recognising the innovative nature of this research delivery structure and the transformative scale envisaged for this project.

We will publish further details about the TEA supplier day as soon as they are available.

Further Details for

1. Transforming Energy Access –

2. Bioenergy for Sustainable Energy Access in Africa –

This is the main admin account for the LCEDN and we use it to manage both the main LCEDN site and the USES network site.

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