Request for Proposals: CGIAR: Private and Innovative Finance: Assessment of the opportunity and early implementation plan

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What we are seeking

CGIAR is seeking to appoint a partner (‘Consultant’) to support in the assessment of the opportunity for the organization to mobilize and leverage funding through public-private mechanisms to finance research activities. This includes assessing the opportunities and proposing tangible and implementable revenue models that will allow the organization to attract blended finance, donations from philanthropists and the general public as well as way to monetize our expertise and IP.


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Impacts of global trends such as biodiversity loss, climate change, conflicts and the Covid-19 pandemic are impacting the planetary health and global food security not only in the Global South and beyond. There is a growing recognition world-wide that these issues need to be tackled globally. These major issues require systemic changes in different sectors and collaboration between a range of public, civil society and private sector actors, supported through public and private finance. CGIAR, historically a partnership of crop-based and ecosystems global research institutes, are transitioning to a more unified organization with as mission to deliver science and innovation that advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis, in the Global South through collaboration with governments, private sector and NGOs.

CGIAR is targeting multiple SDG benefits across five Impact Areas:

  • Climate adaptation & mitigation: Improving small-scale producers’ resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from food systems.
  • Nutrition, health & food security: Ending hunger and enabling safe, affordable, healthy diets for the world’s most vulnerable people.
  • Poverty reduction, livelihoods & jobs: Building on a 50-year track record of lifting millions out of poverty.
  • Gender equality, youth & social inclusion: Closing the gender gap and enhancing opportunities for youth in food, land, and water systems.
  • Environmental health & biodiversity: Increasing productivity in food systems while staying within environmental boundaries and maintaining biodiversity.

A portfolio of 36 research initiatives has recently been launched and includes for the first time a system approach building on CGIAR 50 years of expertise on specific crops and ecosystems.

CGIAR is present in over 100 countries and has over 3,000 implementing partners. Some of our achievements over the last 50 years include:

  • Safeguarding over 700,000 accessions in CGIAR genebanks
  • Half of the world’s wheat land is sown to CGIAR varieties
  • Over US$ 10bn annually of economic benefits from CGIAR improved rice varieties
  • Reduced infant mortality by a third thanks to CGIAR improved crop varieties

More examples can be accessed here:

Challenge/Scope of Work

CGIAR is looking to assess the opportunity for the organization to mobilize and leverage funding through public-private mechanisms to finance research activities. This includes assessing the opportunities and proposing tangible and implementable revenue models that will allow the organisation to attract blended finance, donations from philanthropists and the general public as well as way to monetize our expertise and IP. As CGIAR transforms its operating model to deliver more efficiently on global challenges, we need to understand how to reform our approach to resource mobilization including the value of the overall opportunity and assess the costs of the initial investment needed to enhance the resource mobilisation function of the new CGIAR.

CGIAR’s current annual budget of US$ 1bn has been assessed insufficient to fully realise the potential of the organisation and be able to tackle global challenges. The ambition and a key objective of the transition into one organisation is to double its annual budget to US$2bn. This will require a different attracting new type of funding for the organisation.


Blended Finance

Blended Finance is the strategic use of development finance for the mobilisation of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. It attracts commercial capital towards projects that contribute to sustainable development, while providing financial returns to investors. This innovative approach helps enlarge the total amount of resources available to developing countries, complementing their own investments and ODA inflows to fill their SDG financing gap, and support the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Funding for CGIAR and its centres have historically consisted of government grants. The transition to a larger integrated organisation provides an opportunity to introduce new and innovative models and capitalise on one of the largest sources of funding: blended and mixed finance. The consultancy will be expected to:

  • Review CGIAR mission, work and portfolio and establish how much can be funded through blended finance – we are looking to identify and quantify opportunities per market, sector and funder type
  • Analysis of historic deals: Based on a set of sectoral and geographic criteria provided by the client, an analysis of relevant historic deals – sector, size, beneficiaries, financial instruments, most relevant investors, etc
  • Review appropriateness of current CGIAR financial mechanisms to receive Blended finance
  • Future opportunities: assessment key grant providers: bilateral / multilateral / philanthropy; estimation of potential future size / portfolio of blended finance opportunities, in particular TA / grants, based on current trends.
  • Review financial mechanisms established in IGOs of similar size that are currently attracting blended finance
  • Propose new financial instruments and associated governance frameworks CGIAR needs to implement to attract blended finance
  • Propose changes and improvements to CGIAR current portfolio to make it more attractive / suitable for blended finance – or propose new types (of research) programmes that are best suited to attract blended finance
  • Assess the potential ROI and the timeframe to fully realise the opportunities associated with the proposed instruments. CGIAR is looking at several types of revenue models/mechanisms suited for different scenarios (long-term solutions that will take several years to implement but also short-term solutions suited to capitalise on crisis and new opportunities that can fund rapid-response programmes).
  • Develop required USPs and narratives (including potential ROI for investors) that will appropriately frame CGIAR offer to private investors

Historically, some CGIAR centres have had limited success in attracting funding from philanthropists (high net worth individuals and foundations) and virtual no effort has been made to attract donations from the general public. Some centres have created national charities and non-for-profit entities to be able to offer a way to donate in a tax efficient manner, but no strategy currently exist to proactively secure this type of funding and it is unclear whether this type of funding represents a large enough opportunity for CGIAR to invest in it. Access to this type of funding would normally be unrestricted and allow CGIAR greater flexibility and fund areas of operations not necessarily covered by traditional ODA. The consultancy will be expected to:

  • Review previously commissioned work by CGIAR and assess gaps and whether the information/documentation is still current
  • Review CGIAR work, mission and portfolio and evaluate how much could be funded by foundations, philanthropists, and private donations
  • Quantify the opportunities per market, sector and funder type
  • Review strategies and mechanisms in place in other IGOs and NGOs of similar size that are actively pursuing foundations, philanthropists and attract private donations
  • Propose financial and legal mechanisms that CGIAR would need to implement to attract and accept private finance and donations
  • Identify priority markets and tactics to deploy that will deliver the best ROI for CGIAR on the long term
  • Review previously developed models for CGIAR, propose new ones if deemed necessary and assess the resources and costs needed for an initial investment to start a private finance resource mobilisation function at CGIAR
Monetizing our IP and expertise

CGIAR and its centres, being mostly funded by public money, our research and innovations is made available in the public domain. It is accessible for everyone as long as its uses are intended for public good. This is an important aspect of CGIAR work and this can’t be changed. However, there is an opportunity to monetize very specific elements of the CGIAR work by selling bespoke advisory services or building specific products to the private sector. Examples includes:

  • data sets for ESG assessments and assessing SDG alignment, making use of innovative tools such as satellite data, blockchain, AI;
  • risk assessment, monitoring (MRV) and impact (e.g. related to SDGs and Climate goals) assessment tools;
  • providing sustainable innovations, e.g. in agriculture, land and water management, including nature-based solutions. Hence broadening opportunities for investors in currently underinvested sectors and appropriate for low- and middle-income countries in the global South.

The consultancy will:

  • Review CGIAR mission, work and portfolio to assess which area can our IP and expertise can be monetized
  • Review and propose how the CGIAR IP Policy should be updated
  • Review current CGIAR “Subsidiaries”, the work and how it affects our IP (i.e Harverst Plus and Harvest Plus Solutions”
  • Review other IGOs and NGOs that are monetizing their work while also delivering on a public good mission
  • Identify and quantify potential commercial markets for CGIAR where our IP and expertise would mostly likely generate revenue
  • Propose the governance, legal and financial mechanisms required for CGIAR to monetize its work in a dynamic manner in compliance with its public good mandate, international law and national laws or rules set out by CGIAR historic funders


This is a 3-month engagement with possibility of extension.

Draft contract terms are provided as Annex 1 to this request for proposals

Evaluation Criteria

  • Technical proposal (60% weighted)
    • Consultant’s demonstrated understanding of CGIAR’s requirements, proposed approach including workplan, prior experience relevant to the scope of work as evidenced by examples of similar work, relevance of education, background, qualifications of proposed team, and feedback from clients’ references.
  • Cost – Financial proposal (40% weighted)
    • Clarity and relevance of cost proposal, including any alternative fee structures (i.e., fee caps, blended rates, fixed rates, pro-bono elements, or other reduced fee arrangement, etc.).
    • Value for money as perceived by the CGIAR System Organization in the context of operating in a not-for-profit sector.

All proposals will be evaluated on a value-for-money, 2-step basis with the technical proposals and the financial proposals each being evaluated separately to determine the best value for price.

The CGIAR System Organization reserves the right to consider proposals in whole and in part, and to propose the appointment of one or more applicants to the project in the form of a new consortia for delivery of the project with an identifiable project lead.

The CGIAR System Organization in its absolute discretion may contact short-listed bidders with questions for clarification during the evaluation process. Such clarifications may include a request to re-consider the composition of the proposed team and or the fee basis/project total cost.

Required Response

Please submit a response covering all sections listed below:

Narrative proposal will consist of no more than 10 pages (excluding cover page and table of contents) using Microsoft Word or similar format, font size 11pt., margins no smaller than one inch. Other materials and supporting documents may be referenced and attached as appendices.

Your response should be prepared in the following order:

  • Your understanding and summary of what are seeking to achieve
  • Suggested approach or methodology for delivering on the scope of work
  • Proposed workplan including timelines
  • Project team, experience, competencies, examples of similar assessments, 3 contact references.

Budget proposal will be presented using Microsoft Excel or similar format and consist of, at a minimum, the following line items: consultant time, resources, travel (where applicable). The budget will be presented in fixed pricing US dollars (USD).

Bid Schedule and Dates

The following schedule includes key milestones and their associated completion dates and is provided primarily for planning purposes. CGIAR System Organization may modify the project timeline at its discretion.

Indicative dates Milestone
12-Dec-22 RFP Published
20-Dec-22 End of inquiry period for RFP clarification (bidder)
22-Dec-22 Response to inquiries shared with invited bidders
11-Jan-23 Deadline for submission of proposals
26-Jan-23 Presentation/ interview of shortlisted bidders
31-Jan-23 Consultant selected and informed by CGIAR
06-Feb-23 Agreement signed
06-Feb-23 Contract start date (TBC)

How to submit a proposal:

Please submit a narrative proposal and a budget proposal as two separate documents to Both documents can be attached to the same email.

All proposals must be received no later than Midnight (Paris time) 11 January 2023. Only electronically submitted proposals will be considered. Late proposals will not be considered.

Who we are

CGIAR is a global research partnership whose mission is a world with sustainable and resilient food, land, and water systems that deliver diverse, healthy, safe, sufficient, and affordable diets, and ensure improved livelihoods and greater social equality, within planetary and regional environmental boundaries.  One CGIAR is a dynamic reformulation of CGIAR’s partnerships, knowledge, assets, and global presence, aiming for greater integration and impact in the face of the interdependent challenges facing today’s world. As One CGIAR, scientific innovations for food, land and water systems can be deployed faster, at a larger scale, and at reduced cost, having greater impact where they are needed the most. This will provide its beneficiaries around the world with more sustainable ways to grow, catch, transport, process, trade, and consume safe and nutritious food.

The CGIAR System Organization, which is an international organization headquartered in Montpellier, France. The System Organization has an important role in facilitating and overseeing the development, effective and efficient implementation of the CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy. The System Organization enters into agreements with the trustee of the CGIAR Trust Fund, Funders, Centers and other relevant entities for funding CGIAR Research and other activities of the CGIAR System. The Organization is committed to cultivating a work environment that reflects teamwork, gender equality, and respect for diversity. We endeavor to foster a multi-cultural environment that is free of any form of harassment and discrimination; and that embraces and values individuals regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, national or social origin, marital status or any other form of personal identity.


Download the request for proposals

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