Small Grants Programme

The Small Grants Programme is an initiative to enable local, innovative, cross-disciplinary, collaborative projects to get started and grow sustainably. It evolved organically from conversations at the Retreats hosted by BSF on Urban Waters, Urban Biodiversity and Urban Climate Change in 2018-2019 and  was initially established to provide seed funding for projects and ideas conceived at the BSF Retreats, with a deliberate focus on collaboration and Bengaluru and the specific theme of the Retreats. 

Very soon, the value of the Small Grants Programme (SGP) in offering support for micro-focussed and distributed problem solving within the city was clearly evident and in December 2019, the Programme expanded with an open call to applicants across the city of Bengaluru. Since then, the SGP has supported 36 projects that span a diverse set of interesting ideas and innovative formats; achieving an impressive breadth and depth of interventions for our city.  

Some examples of the projects supported so far include a guide for local avenue trees in Kannada, a community driven plan to bring edible weeds back onto the meal plan, an art project at metro transit station on Bengaluru’s water heritage, a project to assess human-elephant conflict in peri-urban Bengaluru,  a board game looking at the relationship between urbanisation and bird diversity in the city, easily deployable water treatment system for storm water drains, several publications to connect children and adults to the biodiversity and environment around them as well as tools to foster citizen engagement at the ward level. We invite you to scroll down and take a look at the various projects supported.

The SGP Framework 

Since its inception, the Small Grants Programme  has been committed to help connect science and research done in the city of Bengaluru with the actual situation on the ground, involving as many stakeholders and sections of society as possible. The SGP welcomes projects that approach a problem with an understanding of interconnectedness of city systems and are rooted in the local community. Diversity in methodology that includes, but is not limited to, qualitative and quantitative data collection, action research, design based research, documentation, outreach and communication, participatory methods, training, workshops, citizen science and citizen engagement is valuable. 

With a core belief in the value of cross pollination of ideas, the framework for the SGP has been designed for collaboration, by making it a necessary condition for eligibility of the project. Some of the key aspects taken into consideration while evaluating a project for BSF’s Small Grants Programme include:  

  • Interdisciplinarity: Does the project have a well thought out and healthy partnership with each collaborator bringing in their strengths and experience for greater impact of the project?
  • Innovation: Is it a problem not easily addressed through conventional funding? How does the project view the problem statement with a fresh perspective
  • Replicability: While the project is neighbourhood /audience/ city focussed, can the idea and framework be replicated in other parts of the city/country?
  • Policy connect: How does the project consider influencing policy or advocating for change, as part of the plan?
  • Community & Outreach: Is citizen engagement, participation and outreach part of the plan – through all stages of the project?
  • Post-grant viability: What is the scope of the project to sustain the work, if needed, beyond the grant period?

Not all of these parameters may be applicable for every project. Proposals are evaluated based on a combination of these, as relevant to each project. The process is guided by BSF’s Steering Committee to ensure transparency and a participatory approach. 

Over the years, the Small Grants Programme has grown to include a significant proportion of committed individuals and organisations working towards Bengaluru’s sustainability. BSF hopes to continue to support more and more agents of change in a collective effort to make Bengaluru sustainable for all life. The next step will be to see what learnings can be crystallized through this wealth of knowledge and experience. 

FAQs about the SGP

Who can apply for the grant?

The grant is open to all. People, organisations and institutions from all backgrounds can apply for the grant. To be eligible for the grant, the project should involve a minimum of two parties, with one of the collaborators being a registered organisation.

Can I submit a proposal if I have been supported by the SGP in the past?

Yes, we currently have no restrictions.

What kind of projects can be considered?
Examples of appropriate activities for these grants include documentation, data collection, research, outreach and communication, training, workshops, citizen science and citizen engagement.
What kind of projects will not be considered for support by SGP?
● Service delivery projects
● Projects that do not have a collaborator onboard, at the time of applying
● Projects that have a high budgetary allocation on capital expenditure – computers, software, (*list will be updated)
What is the theme for this year’s grant?
The themes will usually fall in the areas of urban water, waste management, mobility, air pollution, biodiversity and climate change or other aspects of urban sustainability. The specific theme for a given cohort will be shared when the call is announced.
Where does the project have to be based?
Proposals centred in Bangalore and its peri-urban areas are preferred. However we are open to considering innovative projects from other cities, if they bring in some new perspective and can potentially be replicated in other cities. Final selection will be based on the proposal’s merit, not just the location.
Is it possible for people from two different organisations to partner together for the grant?
We encourage interdisciplinary collaborations between people from different organisations and disciplines. Collaborations that bring together people from diverse backgrounds are preferred.
What kind of outputs can the projects have? Are there any desirable formats?
There is no predetermined format for the project’s output. In the past we have had reports, mobile applications, board games, hand books, audio-visual stories and more. The Small Grants Programme seeks to support innovative approaches which research or solve existing problems with a new perspective.
What is the duration and the grant amount under the SGP?
The specific details for a given cohort will be shared when the call is announced.
At present, selected projects can be supported with a maximum of INR 10 Lakh and the accepted time duration is a maximum period of 24 months for each project. Projects which fall below these targets can also apply.
If my project is outside Bangalore, can I still apply?
We prefer that the project proposal has a direct connection to Bengaluru or its peri-urban spaces. However innovative ideas set in other cities which can be replicable in Bangalore may be considered.
When is the next call for applications?

Subscribe to our mailing list or stay tuned to our social media for the next call for applications