Research grants

SANDEE provides research support to researchers and institutions from South Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalaya region interested in the inter-connection among development, natural resource use, and the environment. Deadline: 15 December 2020
Research grants


Economics of natural resource use and environmental change

SANDEE invites concept notes for research projects on environmental and resource economics relating to development in South Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Applications will be considered for the summer 2021 grant cycle. 


SANDEE is an initiative of ICIMOD under its Regional Programme on MKAN. SANDEE is a research capacity-building network that provides research support to researchers and institutions from South Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region interested in the connections between economic development, the environment, and the use of natural resources. ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge-sharing centre based in Kathmandu, Nepal, that works in its eight Regional Member Countries of the HKH region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Globalization and climate change increasingly threaten the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and livelihoods in mountain and downstream communities. ICIMOD aims to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities while addressing upstream–downstream issues. ICIMOD serves its Regional Member Countries through six regional programmes, with competencies in four thematic areas.

About the call

SANDEE invites concept notes in any area of environmental and resource economics relating to the development of South Asia and the HKH region. Of particular interest are concept notes that demonstrate a clear demand from policymakers for their underlying research, although any innovative research idea within the scope of SANDEE that has scientific merit will be considered. The landmark 2019 Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment report – coordinated by ICIMOD under its Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) – identifies several gaps in the evidence base to take actions to safeguard the mountain environment and improve the livelihoods of people living in the area and downstream. Accordingly, concept notes addressing relevant issues identified in the report will be of particular interest.

We encourage research on issues of interest to national, provincial, and local policymakers in the region, including environmental issues faced by people living in the plains, hills, and mountains in the aftermath of COVID-19 and how green recovery could be promoted to address the environmental issues and improve livelihoods. We will also consider proposals that critically examine the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that each country has submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) under the Paris Agreement. Other areas of interest are urban environmental issues and sustainability, energy access and efficiency, disaster resilience, and green jobs/growth.

Application guidelines and selection criteria
  1. Regardless of whether concept notes submitted in response to this call focus on any of the environmental/natural resource topics, SANDEE will prioritize the selection of concept notes that have a strong economics component and the dual potential to produce high-impact scientific publications and information that is useful to national-, provincial-, or local-level policy makers in the region.
  2. Concept notes for action research that aims to produce consulting-type reports will not be considered. SANDEE welcomes concept notes that involve interdisciplinary projects, cross-border collaborations, and trans-boundary topics with a mountain and gender focus. Please visit to view examples of publications from completed SANDEE projects.
  1. Researchers working in South Asia and the HKH region are eligible to submit concept notes.
  2. Principal investigators (PIs) must be junior to mid-career professionals employed by a university, research institute, or other similar institutions in the region, including government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
  3. Institutional affiliation of the PI is mandatory. While submitting a full proposal, a support letter from the institution where the PI is affiliated is required for further consideration.
  4. Research teams can include senior researchers (professor, directors, etc.) as co-PIs or mentors but not as PIs.
  5. We especially encourage women researchers and researchers affiliated with member universities of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) to apply.
Grant amount and duration

Grants are likely to be in the range of USD 20,000–30,000 over a two-year period.  The upper limit grants are aimed for the multidisciplinary teams involving two or more countries in the region, or focus on a transboundary issue.

Application procedure and deadline
To be considered for the summer 2021 grant cycle, please review the procedure and submit the application form online by 15 December 2020.
Selection criteria

Applications that do not meet the criteria mentioned in this call will not be considered. Candidates whose concept notes are shortlisted will be invited to submit full research proposals, which will be rigorously reviewed by multiple reviewers. Successfully revised proposals will be further reviewed, and a final shortlist will be formed. PIs of shortlisted proposals will be invited to a research and training workshop to be held in summer 2021, where they will present and defend their proposals for a SANDEE research grant competition.

If you have any difficulty submitting the online form, please write to Neesha Pradhan ( mentioning the nature of the problem.

Application form: