The Food & Business Applied Research Fund provides grants to applied research contributing to innovation for food security issues. Proposals may be submitted by private practitioners organisations active in the 15 partner countries of Dutch Development cooperation. The research projects are to be carried out with a research or higher education organisation (which includes TNO and DLO).
PurposeThe Food & Business Applied Research Fund aims to finance research supported innovations that will improve the food security in the 15 partner countries of Dutch development cooperation. Food security is defined as a focus area of Dutch development policy, in which the knowledge of the Dutch private and research sectors can assist the partner countries in improving their food security. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds ARF to support applied research projects that are driven by the knowledge demand of practitioner organisations (companies, NGOs etc) from the partner countries. The projects should evolve by a concerted effort of practitioners and research and/or higher education organisations (co-creation). Projects should contribute to improving sustainable and inclusive access to sufficient and healthy food for the most vulnerable people in the Dutch LMIC-partner countries. Projects must show applicability of the newly developed or adjusted knowledge, insights, technologies, tools, products, services or policies. Since a strong local/regional private sector is important in reaching local/regional food security, research projects that aim at improving local/regional entrepreneurship are included.

Who can apply

A consortium applying for the ARF should consist of at least two partners:

  1. A private or public practitioner organisation from one of the 15 partner countries of Dutch development cooperation acting as the main applicant.
  2. A research organisation from a partner country or from the Netherlands, acting as a co-applicant.

In the execution of the project at least one researcher from a partner country must be involved. The involvement of additional partners, acting as co-applicant is encouraged.

What to apply for

A grant amounts to a minimum of 50,000 euro (for six months) to a maximum of 300,000 euro (for 36 months).

  • Grants should contribute directly to the project. Reimbursable cost include:
    Personnel costs: up to a maximum of gross (before tax) monthly salaries of 2000 euros for support staff, 3000 euro for junior and 3800 for senior research staff. Overhead costs to a maximum of 10% of the grant;
  • Innovation costs: consumables and durables. Travel and accomodation costs for the project team members and consortium partners (maximum 20% of the grant);
  • Knowledge sharing costs: activities for sharing the projects’ experiences and outputs with a broader group of stakeholders beyond the consortium and project team (maximum of 15% of the grant).

Co-funding: private partners of the consortium should contribute to the project budget by providing co-funding (cash and/or in-kind) that amounts to a minimum of 20% of the grant.



Admissible applications will be assessed for quality, using three selection criteria, each of which carries equal weight and should meet a minimum quality standard.

Selection criteria:

I Contributing to development

  • Extent to which the problem or opportunity analysis and research questions are rooted in local practitioners demands
  • Potential to contribute to one or more of the foci of the ARF
  • Potential to sustainably serve the food security needs of the ultimate target group of ARF
  • Potential to sustainably contribute to local capacity development

II Contributing to innovation

  • Complementarities and level of integration of scientific knowledge and practitioners’ knowledge (co-creation) resulting in novel outcomes
  • Adequacy, feasibility and soundness of the research methodology/approach (involving systematic inquiry and/or comparison)
  • Potential for application of the expected research output

III Overall project consistency

  • Coherence and synergy in project objectives and activities
  • Appropriateness and efficient use of requested budget
  • Quality of impact pathway and indicators


Applications are evaluated by at least two members of an international pool of independent experts (PIE). The PIE consists of researchers and practitioners from the public and private sector, and from development policy and practice. The composition of the PIE will be published on the website Food & Business Research. Based on the the evaluation of the PIE, the Programme Committee of the Food & Business Research Programme takes the final funding decision. The entire procedure takes about two months.