The call for concepts is now closed.
The South East Asia Prosperity Fund is the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) technical cooperation programme that aims to create the conditions for global growth. Working closely with project implementers and FCO’s network of overseas missions, the Programme has supported over 90 policy projects (at a value of £3.4 million in the region) with projects in Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam & the Philippines - providing technical assistance, building capacity, encouraging stakeholder discussions and sharing the UK experience.
There will be certain types of projects that we are unable to fund. Do read our Frequently Asked Questions section before applying to see if the Prosperity Fund is suitable.
Priorities vary across the region. We strongly encourage you to get in touch with the British Embassy or British High Commission in the country where the project will operate to discuss your draft project concepts.
If you are unsure who to contact, please email us at Prosperity.Fund@fco.gov.uk and we will make the necessary introductions.
Project concepts in the following areas will be considered for funding and can be bilateral (working in one country) or regional. We expect the earliest possible start for projects to be in May 2014.
We are keen to fund projects that deepen private sector involvement in the economy – especially work on capital markets, public private partnerships and state-owned-enterprise reforms.
We are interested in supporting projects that encourage closer global and regional economic integration on a non-discriminatory basis, in line with international economic rules and standards. G20, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Open Government Partnership linked activities being of particular interest.
We are interested to fund sector-specific projects that break down the barriers to cross border trade and investment and help improve the regulatory business environment.
We are interested to fund projects that push for transparency and a rules-based economic system in South East Asia. This includes projects that:
- Promote transparency in government and businesses, including work on anti-bribery and business licensing.
- Enable government to nurture a non-discriminatory and transparent intellectual property regime that enables effective protection and enforcement.
- Facilitates the adoption and implementation of international best practice on financial regulation.
- Strengthen international tax standards and tackle international tax avoidance.
We are keen to fund projects that help government authorities plan, implement and finance the transformation to a low carbon economy, in key sectors like energy, waste, transport, agriculture and land use.
- In particular, we are keen to support projects which help authorities plan for and implement low carbon energy policies,
- Energy efficiency improvement in key sectors
- Low carbon energy supply(renewable, nuclear, clean energy)
- Promotion of natural gas as a transition fuel to low carbon energy supply
- Lower carbon energy solutions
- Removal of barriers to a low carbon energy future.
We are interested to build the capacity of governments to effectively engage in international and multilateral fora relevant to climate change, in particular to achieve the ambitious new global agreement all United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) parties have agreed to secure by 2015.
We are interested to fund projects that help government authorities understand climate impacts on energy, water, food and resource security and implement comprehensive policy responses.
- We are keen to support projects (consistent with our low carbon objectives) which reduce threats to growth from energy and resource insecurity, including through encouraging greater ASEAN energy cooperation, integration and interconnectivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the bidding process look like?
The Programme employs a two-stage evaluation process, with decisions made by a Programme Board.
Evaluation of Concept Bids - The first stage is the evaluation of project concepts and their related risk and cost. This will take 3 weeks to complete and results will be made known in late February 2014. If you are successful, we will invite you to submit a full project bid.
Following the invitation to submit a full project bid, you will have approximately 4 weeks to develop your project concept into a full project bid. During this period, the FCO will be in touch to advise and provide feedback on draft full project proposals
Evaluation of Full Bids - The second stage is the evaluation of full project bids. Full Project bids are much more detailed than concepts bids and contain information on activities, outputs, cost and stakeholders. After the final evaluation by our Programme Board, successful bidders will be informed and invited to sign a contract with the FCO. Projects will start in May 2014.
What is the difference between a concept bid and a full project bid?
A concept bid is a short summary on the project idea, why it is needed and what change it will bring. It also gives an idea of the budget needed to carry out the project.
A full bid is more thorough and will include details on the activities of the project, how these will be carried out and a comprehensive budget breakdown. It will focus on the expected short term and long term impacts of the project and key milestones that the project expects to achieve. A detailed risk analysis as well as the identification of stakeholders and beneficiary groups will also be included.
Who can apply for funding?
We will consider bids from government and other official bodies, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), businesses and individuals. However, bids have to demonstrate an ability to bring about a high impact, transformational outcome. Our experience is that this is best achieved by working with government and/or business leaders – but we are happy to consider alternative arrangements.
Is there a limit to the amount of funds I can bid for?
There is no set limit for the amount of funding that can be applied for, however bids will undergo a competitive evaluation process, with value for money a part of the evaluation criteria. Bids that request a large amount of funds would represent a significant opportunity cost (and risk) to the Programme. Historically, bids ranging from £20,000 (small bilateral projects) to £100,000 (large regional projects) have been approved.
Can my organisation bid for more than one project?
Yes. We are happy to consider multiple project bids.
Can I apply for multi-year funding?
Yes, although we can only guarantee funding for our Financial Year 2014-2015 (1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015). Funding for activities in the subsequent years will be subject to review and confirmed in the first quarter of 2015. Designing multi-year projects that can have concrete deliverables by the end of the financial year would be a good way to prepare for this review.
What makes a successful policy project?
We think that working with governments and official bodies is more likely to result in high impact, transformational outcomes which are sustainable and outlive the duration of the project. But partners can include business and NGOs where their influence can bring around similar result.
Stakeholder and government support is vital to any policy project. A proposal that is able to demonstrate interest from its beneficiaries and stakeholders would be looked upon favourably. In addition, proposals that are able to demonstrate how it can complement other on-going/planned work in the region would score better.
We think that effective communication is critical to any project’s success, but are mindful to ensure value for money with these activities. Proposals that include any publicity, dissemination and outreach activities in the budget should be accompanied with justification why these activities are needed.
The FCO places strong emphasis on programme and project level evaluation. Realistic and measurable outputs, outcomes and milestones would demonstrate that the project design has gone through a thorough and well-considered process. In addition to a final project report, the FCO would require a narrative and financial report every quarter.
Programme funds are considered Official Development Assistance funds from the UK tax payer. We are charged to ensure that these funds are spent in a way that demonstrates value for money. A detailed activity based budget is important and the FCO will not entertain administrative costs above 10% of the grant amount requested. Proposals that demonstrate co-funding (monetary or in kind) would be viewed favourably.
Where a regional project bids has been submitted, we will consider the logic behind the involvement of participating countries recognising, where possible, any synergy that might arise from this arrangement.
What projects are not suitable for the Programme?
We do not fund projects that focus solely on research. A certain element of research is acceptable, as long as it is closely linked to policy and is dovetailed with outreach activities.
We are unable to fund projects that have significant capital costs (ie equipment, infrastructure etc). If a small amount of capital expenditure is required, we will consider your requirement on a case-by-case basis.
We do not fund climate change adaptation projects. The Programme focuses solely on the mitigation aspect of climate change. The Department for International Development (DfID) is the UK’s focal agency for adaptation projects – please approach them if you have project ideas on adaptation.
We do not fund bilateral projects in non-priority countries. The Programme currently identifies Laos PDR, Cambodia and Brunei as non-priority countries. Pure bilateral projects in non-priority countries will not be considered, but regional projects with priority countries (that include activities in non-priority countries) will be considered.
Do I have to sign a grant contract?
Yes. As a UK government department, the FCO is accountable to Parliament for how it spends it funds. This means that there are certain procedures incumbent on the FCO to ensure that we do so in a transparent manner in accordance with Government Accounting Principles. The FCO uses a standard contract with all successful project implementers as the basis on which project funds are advanced.
For government, not for profit organisation, NGOs and civil society, this will take the form of a standard grant contract. For businesses, this might be in the form of a commercial contract.
The clauses in the commercial contract and grant contract are by default, not negotiable and exceptions are seldom approved. Sample contracts are attached below. Please ensure that you have read and are happy with their terms before applying for funds.