Consultancy Services: To conduct a study on Selecting the most effective funding approaches and instruments to invest in innovation in Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (SAI).

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Home-based / Working Remotely


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), on behalf of the international Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI), is seeking Expressions of Interest (EoI) from consultants to conduct a study on Selecting the most effective funding approaches and instruments to invest in innovation in Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (SAI). Here, the term ‘innovation’ includes institutional, policy and financial innovations as well as scientific and technological innovations related to sustainable agriculture intensification. SAI refers to the transformative changes in agricultural systems required to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, including social and human objectives as well as environmental sustainability.

Objectives of study

  • Categorize, tabulate and summarize the state of evidence on how well different investment approaches and instruments to innovation have worked in supporting the multiple objectives of SAI, also drawing, to the extent possible, on lessons from other sectors and the Global North.
  • Develop lessons and guidance based on this evidence to aid innovators and investors to make choices about funding approaches and instruments to support innovation in SAI.

Approach and methods

Questions to be addressed

  • What types of investment approaches and instruments have been tested to support innovation in SAI in the Global South? How can these be categorized into a working typology?
  • What is the evidence on how well different types of approaches and instruments have worked towards supporting the multiple objectives of SAI at scale? (e.g., social equality, environmental objectives). What are the contextual and design factors that affect their success or failure in achieving these objectives (e.g., type of value chain, who participates)?
  • What advice can be given to innovation investors and practitioners about the approaches and instruments that can be selected for different objectives and contexts, and how these can be designed to achieve better impacts?


The consultants would be expected to outline the scope of the review and the work involved in the inception phase (see timeline), and ensure this is approved by the Oversight Group.

The study will focus on direct investment in innovation (see Background section). It will not include the underlying investment needed for innovation systems to function well (education, science, infrastructure, business environment, etc.). The scope of this study is aligned with the scope of CoSAI’s Innovation Investment Study (IIS).


The final approach, methods, schedule and deliverables will be determined in agreement with the Oversight Group following the inception phase. CoSAI is aiming for a pragmatic product which includes evidence of varying quality and not a systematic review, although an assessment of the quality of evidence behind the findings is important.


The available budget for the assignment is of the order of US$ 100,000. This sum is expected to cover all aspects of the study, but may be used predominantly for the payment of consulting fees. The total budget may be revised after the inception phase to reflect the final agreed scope of the study.

Place of assignment

The consultants will work from home. Communication with the Study Manager and Oversight Group will be carried out virtually.

Content of EoI

All applicants should provide a brief EoI (a maximum of 12 single-spaced pages, plus annexes) including the following information:

  • Postal address, legal registration and electronic contact information for the applicant (or lead applicant, if a consortium). Provide the name of a contact person including their title, phone number, Skype ID or similar, and e-mail address.
  • Names and brief summary of experience of the team leader and other key team members and confirmation of their dates of availability, supported by annexes 1 and 2 (see below).
  • Proposed approach to the study and justification for the proposals made (see section Scope), taking into consideration that this may be further refined during the inception phase. The main objective of the EOI is to demonstrate a pragmatic approach based on in-depth experience in completing similar assignments.
  • Budget and time required (the amount must be under the allocated budget), including daily rates and anticipated number of days for named individual consultants, and any other anticipated operational or overhead costs. Assumptions made on tasks to be completed and time requirements underlying the estimates should be specified. Tasks should include preparation and participation in a minimum of four online meetings: briefing, discussion of inception report, discussion of emerging results, and final presentation. Where possible, estimates should be ‘ground-truthed’ with reference to the actual cost/time of previous relevant studies carried out by the applicant or others.
  • Conflict of interest statement. All applicants should disclose any past or current contractual or financial relationships with CoSAI, WLE or IWMI.
  • Annex 1: Short curriculum vitae for the team leader and other proposed team members.
  • Annex 2: List of studies previously carried out by team members or the organization/firm that demonstrate relevant experience, including links or attachments.

For the detailed Terms of Reference, view:

Call for EoI – Funding approaches and instruments study



Any experienced think tank, research institution or consultancy firm, whether for-profit or non-profit, or academic institution, or a group of individuals, or a combination of these is eligible to apply for this consultancy.

Minimum requirements:

  • Evaluation experience of synthesis and comparison of evidence from a variety of sources and assessment of its quality.
  • Good knowledge of investment, development approaches and methodologies in the agriculture sector in the Global South.
  • Knowledge of innovation or previous work in this area, particularly in areas of new investment approaches.

The consultancy team leader should have experience in managing teams to produce high-quality results on time and within budget. The team leader or lead author should have demonstrated clear, concise writing and presentation skills, and excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.

Applications from the Global South, or including at least one substantive partner from the Global South, will be favorably considered.


IWMI believes that diversity powers our innovation, contributes to our excellence, and is critical for our mission. We offer a multi-cultural, multi-color, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary working environment. We are consciously creating an inclusive organization that reflects our global character and our commitment to gender equity. We, therefore, encourage applicants from all cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

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