Request for proposal – CGIAR Data Analysis Pipeline for Drone-Based Images


What we are seeking:

ICRISAT is seeking Professional Services for the training of breeding teams of the CGIAR system to acquire top quality images from UAV (unmanned Airborne Vehicle, i.e. drones), for generating large scale breeding plot crop information and to develop a Cloud-based Data Analysis Pipeline and related algorithms to analyze the images generated from UAV’s. Several breeding programs of the CGIAR will be involved in that initiative and will be responsible for the trials on which the UAV images will be collected. These breeding programs will also be in charge of collecting plot data at different time intervals in the fields located at ICRISAT, ICRISAT Campus, Patancheru, Telangana, India where the UAV will fly.

Deliverables and timeline: 

General tasks include:

  • Training teams of the CGIAR system to acquire top quality images from UAV (Unmanned Airborne Vehicle, i.e. drones) until the teams are fully independent in these tasks.
  • Develop of a Cloud-based Data Analysis Pipeline and validate algorithms to analyze the images generated from UAV’s and generate data on critical breeding target traits in four crops of the CGIAR (maize, sorghum, chickpea, and one to be decided among forage, pearl millet and cowpea).

Specific tasks include:

  • Training four CGIAR breeding teams (2-3 members per team to be trained) to set up trial campaigns in four crops over a two-year period (trial map, flight plans, timetable)
  • Review and check the adequacy of the ground measurements that will be collected by the CGIAR teams to ensure these are aligned with the traits calculated from the images
  • Training 2-3 members of the CGIAR teams to operate UAV flights according to standard and state of the art standard operating procedures (SOP’s), and to acquire data from UAV-borne sensors (data download and storage in database)
  • Data quality validation (including UAV vs. ground data validation), which will require possible tuning the algorithms used in the data processing for crop specificity
  • Training in the use of the cloud-based data analysis pipeline until breeding teams are fully independent in its use
  • Data processing and delivery of campaign trials
  • Summary report of each crop campaign


  • 2-3 trials in each of the four targeted crops over a two-year period, plots being of 10-20 m2 to allow for sequential ground sampling, replicated four times
  • Each trial will consist of 10-20 genotypes in each crop and trial
  • At least five traits processed in each trial/crop/genotype combination


  • SOP’s for generating top-quality UAV images and technicians from the CGIAR trained to fly the UAV
  • Trained personnel from CGIAR teams to acquire UAV-based images and to use the data analysis pipeline
  • A data analysis pipeline that is user-friendly and is able to deliver measurements on vegetation indices (NDVI, etc…), plant/organ counting (plant number per plot, panicle number), architectural traits (crop height, LAI, Green Fraction), micro plots’ heterogeneity indicators
  • Turn-over time for data processing inferior to 10 working days
  • Full report on each of the crop campaigns at the end of the experimental season with an analysis of the lessons learnt and modifications to make in the following campaign


October 25, 2019 – Deadline for submission of proposals (Deadline may be extended if a sufficient number of proposals are not received.)

November 8, 2019 – Service provider selected and informed by CGIAR

November 15, 2019 – Agreement with service provider signed

Nov, 2019-Jan 2020 – Service starts and summer season preparation begins

Jan-May 2020 – Summer season campaign

June-Oct 2020 – Rainy season campaign

Oct 2020-April 2021 – Post-rainy and summer season campaign

June-Oct 2021 – Rainy season campaign

Knowledge, skills, and abilities:

The Proponent must have experience (published research, examples of successful collaborations with private breeding companies on the use of drone to assist breeding) in the use of UAV’s to generate plot-based data on crop growth indices. It should be noted that the UAV will be made available to the selected Proponent to generate remote-sensing images

  • The Proponent must already have experience with an existing data analysis pipeline, which could then be adapted to the CGIAR needs and specific to its crop
  • The Proponent must provide a description of a typical trial campaign, based on their experience with other clients
  • The Proponent must provide a timetable and indications of turn-over time for data processing and analysis
  • The Proponent must demonstrate that the composition and professional capabilities of the proposed consulting team are suited to the scope of the work
  • The partner and team assigned for the work must be fluent in English
  • The Proponent must be eligible to take such assignments and fulfils all the regulatory compliances/Government requirements and permissions to execute such assignments at project locations.
  • The Proponent must be a Government approved trainer to impart training on UAV.

Evaluation Criteria:

An internal review committee will be established to assess the proposals. Following receipt of the proposals, the committee will analyze the proposals, and if shortlisted, the company will be invited to a virtual call to present their proposal.

The Evaluation Criteria to select the service provider will be as follows:

Company profile: 10%
Experience and professional capabilities of the partner(s) and proposed team: 30%
Technical Proposal: 40%
Pricing: 20%

The Technical Proposal should include:

  • Company profile
  • Composition of team allocated for the services
  • List of clients for which a similar set of services are currently being provided. 

Commercial Proposal should include:

Clear timelines

Itemized budget

Payment terms

Validity of pricing etc. 

Award of Contract

Proposals could form the basis for a contract between you/your institution and ICRISAT. This letter is not to be construed in any way as an offer to contract with you/your institution. ICRISAT reserves the right to accept or reject any Proposal and to annul the solicitation process and reject all Proposals at any time prior to the awarding of the contract, without incurring any liability to the Bidder or any obligation to inform the Bidder or Bidders of the grounds for its action. ICRISAT will award the contract to the qualified Bidder whose Proposal, after being evaluated by ICRISAT, is considered by ICRISAT to be the most competitive and appropriate for the needs of CGIAR Data Analysis Pipeline for Drone-Based Images.

Who we are:

ICRISAT is part of the CGIAR consortium, i.e. a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR Centers in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations, and the private sector. These 15 Centers have close to 10,000 staff based in over 50 countries.The proposed work will be taking place at the ICRISAT-HQ research station, Patancheru, Telangana, India, and will involve several breeding programs.

How to submit a proposal:

Please submit a narrative proposal and a budget proposal as two separate documents to V.N.SOMAYAJULU@CGIAR.ORG and copy to Both documents can be attached to the same email.

Narrative proposal will consist of a document of no more than 10 pages.

Budget proposal will be presented in US dollars using Microsoft Excel or similar format.

All proposals must be received no later than 25 October 2019 (Friday), 17:00 IST. Only electronically submitted proposals will be considered. Deadline for submission of proposals may be extended if a sufficient number of proposals are not received.

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