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AIIRA PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Round 2, 2014

1.         Introduction

The Australia-Indonesia Infrastructure Research Awards (AIIRA) program is based on the premise that by enhancing the skills and informed roles of academic and civil society organisations in Indonesia’s infrastructure policy and planning processes, the quality of outputs from work commissioned by Government of Indonesia (GoI) agencies will improve. The program involves up to three separate funding rounds for research partnerships, involving an Indonesian and an International institution, over the period from July 2013 to June 2015.

The main AIIRA program outputs will be a series of high-quality demonstration research products, which will have the additional benefit of providing opportunities for learning by doing, and effective and sustainable knowledge transfer. In this way, a further, long-term outcome will be the increased capacity of the participating institutions and agencies to undertake and complete action and applied research, independently.

2.         Two-stage application process

The AIIRA grant program operates through a two-stage process:

§  The first stage process provides seed funding of up to $A10,000 to a selected number of partnered applicants, to support them to proceed to a Full Proposal . The seed funding can assist partners to: (a) meet costs including initial negotiations, meetings, analysis, preparation of documents, travel etc.; (b) identify and confirm negotiations with  an appropriate GoI agency partner; and (c) resource the preparation of a collaborative submission. The primary reason for providing this first-stage assistance is to ensure more balanced, equitable, and effective partnerships across the International and Indonesian research groups, and to confirm ownership and sponsorship of the planned research by a GoI agency.

§  The second stage of each round will fund, between $A50,000 and $A150,000 each, the best of the initial shortlisted applications (as assessed by peer reviewers and confirmed by an Expert Panel) – to undertake, complete and communicate the approved infrastructure research. Note that value-for-money, which can often be achieved by lower-cost research proposals, will be considered favourably in Round 2, Stages 1 and 2.

3.       Eligibility

To ensure that the most effective use is made of resources, an initial, eligibility check will be completed for all Stage 1 (EoI) applications. This preliminary eligibility check, accessible directly from the relevant IndII-AIIRA website page, requires potential applicants to answer 10 questions to determine their eligibility to apply for AIIRA funding. Their eligibility will also be checked by IndII personnel, following submission of applications

4.        Partnerships

A key aspect of the program is the need to ensure that any AIIRA-funded research has at its core the need to resolve or progress potential solutions to a challenge faced by an Indonesian government agency. Through its commitment to a demand-driven approach, IndII will ensure that potential AIIRA research projects clearly prioritise the needs and interests of the participating Indonesian institutions and GoI agencies.

5.        Commitment from GoI agency or agencies

All proposed activities for which AIIRA funding is being sought will require a strong “buy-in” from a GoI agency (or set of agencies) at either the national and/or sub-national level – to maximise the potential of sustainable outcomes and benefits. As direct beneficiaries of the research, GoI agencies will be better positioned to work productively with IndII and other donors in implementing infrastructure projects that are founded on well-researched needs and whose approach and objectives address clearly-articulated emerging demands of that agency.

6.        Scope of partner organisations

Participation in the program is open not only to academic institutions, but also to civil society groups, such as “think tanks”, business associations, user group associations, and other NGOs/CSOs. This will help facilitate important and potentially productive linkages between groups with similar priorities. The program will also build on and extend existing initiatives to promote research links internationally, including Australia Awards, and other DFAT-supported project-/ program-specific training, etc.

7.        Communications

An essential component of the AIIRA program is the need to socialise research results effectively. There will be multiple audiences – each with varying needs for information. Applicant organisations will propose a communication strategy for dissemination of the research results, not only within the participating institutions and agencies, but also more broadly across the discipline cohort. The successful achievement of these communication strategies will be a condition of payment of the final grant amount.

8.        Broad selection criteria

The following broad assessment factors provide the framework within which specific AIIRA selection criteria have been determined.

(a)     Institutional credentials and capacity: Although one of the objectives of AIIRA is capacity building, it is important that the applicant institutions in both countries have the requisite absorptive capacity to work closely with, and learn from, their international partners. Initially, AIIRA is seeking to focus on institutions with the best capacity and credentials - to maximise opportunities for success.

(b)  Governance, transparency and value-for-money: The management of the AIIRA program and individual grant administration is transparent and accountable. To minimise the fiduciary risk, project funding is substantially output-based (upon the successful completion and acceptance of key deliverables).

(c)   Research relevance: The most important (broad) selection criterion is the relevance of the planned research collaboration. Each research proposal must demonstrate high potential to be able to better inform and assist the delivery of infrastructure in Indonesia, at either or both the national and sub-national levels.

9.         Further information

Further information concerning specific aspects of the AIIRA Grants program can be obtained by emailing AIIRA@indii.co.id. Completed Stage 1 applications must be submitted to AIIRA@indii.co.id, no later than Friday 14 February 2014.