Request for Proposals (RFP) for Innovation Funds

The SoLAR Innovation Fund

The SoLAR Innovation Fund (IF) aims to support the development and testing of technological, financial and institutional innovations to address the constraints and challenges of upscaling solar irrigation, with a special focus on the problems faced by small-scale, marginal, and women farmers in South Asia (specifically Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan).

The IF will, in particular, aim to support innovations and practices that can influence policy or be expanded and integrated into regular government programs and practices with the support of additional funding sources. The objectives of the IF are as follows:

  • Support innovations that help to bridge the gaps that hamper the scaling out of solar irrigation pumps in South Asia.
  • Support innovations targeted at reducing barriers for sustainable adoption and use of solar irrigation pumps by small-scale, marginal, and women farmers.
  • Support innovations that encourage the sustainable use of groundwater resources when using solar-based irrigation.
  • Support innovations that enhance climate-resilient livelihood options for small-scale, marginal, and women farmers in the region.


Starting in 2020 and for the next 3 years, IWMI will administer a SoLAR Innovation Fund (IF) with a total value of CHF 400,000. Through this fund, the Institute will aim to support eight to ten innovations for the next 3 years. This is the first call for applications for IF grants. Four to five projects will be supported through this call.

The next call for applications will be released in March 2021. The expected value of funding for each innovation will vary between CHF 30,000 and CHF 60,000 (converted to its equivalent USD value). The maximum duration of a project is 24 months.


Issued by: International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center
Supported by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Date of issue: May 15, 2020 (Friday)
Deadline for sending questions regarding the call: June 7, 2020 (Sunday). Questions should be sent to: (subject line: Questions regarding RFP-IF-SoLAR)
Date for responding to questions: June 15, 2020 (Monday)
Deadline for submissions: June 30, 2020 (Tuesday)
Email address for sending submissions: (subject line: Submissions to RFP-IF-SoLAR)
Date for communicating final decision to successful grantees: August 15, 2020 (Saturday)
Start date of projects: October 1, 2020 (Thursday)
Period of projects: Minimum 12 months and maximum 24 months, end date no later than October 2022
Geographic scope: Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan
Number of projects to be funded: Not more than four to five projects in this round
Total funding volume: CHF 200,000 (converted to equivalent USD value) for first round of proposals

Download the Request for Proposals (RFP)

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