The Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) Initiative of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has partnered with the Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA) programme led by Oxfam to invite proposals for the HUC TROSA Water Research Grant on transboundary water resources governance in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna  and Salween basins. The aim of this call is to strengthen transboundary and regional collaboration across Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) countries through research, learning, education, capacity strengthening, and institution building. This grant programme will bring together research and practice-based institutions in the HKH region and encourage transboundary collaboration through south-south cooperation among academic practitioners. Institutions receiving the grant must use this funding to pursue concrete long-term transboundary collaboration plans.


The HKH region is the water tower of South and South East Asia. Ten major rivers originate here. The Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna and Salween river basins extend from the world’s tallest mountains, through floodplains and lowland systems to fertile wetlands, deltas, estuaries, and bays. All these rivers hold important cultural and religious significance for the countries they pass through. The waters and rich sediment loads also support fishery and agricultural systems of national and global significance contributing to the economic development of the countries. The waters connect nations and function as trade routes. Yet, millions of people in South and South East Asia do not have secure access to water. This is due to growing competition over natural resources caused by infrastructure development; agricultural, urban, and industrial expansion; and the effects of climate change which manifest as, among other things, floods and droughts that have increased in intensity and frequency in recent years. The transboundary nature of rivers with shared resources across borders provides an opportunity for cooperation in South and South-East Asia over how waters are governed and managed within and across borders.


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In order to assist the consolidation and sustainability of the network, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has provided a two-year grant to HUC as part of the Second Phase (2016–2019) of the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP). The initiative is called HUC SDC Focus Grants and aims to contribute to IHCAP’s objective of advancing knowledge on climate science and promoting effective and sustainable adaptation measures. It seeks to upscale the impacts of interventions made by IHCAP to the larger HKH region and promote regional collaboration between institutions of higher education in India and those in neighbouring countries, under the continued support of Swiss expertise.

Thematic Areas & Requirements

The objective of the focus grants is to foster regional collaboration in higher education research and training in and for sustainable mountain development.

Institutional grant proposals are expected to focus on any of the nexuses among the thematic areas of Climate Change Sciences and Adaptation Measures listed below, which include:

  1. Water
  2. Ecosystems
  3. Landuse
  4. Air Quality
  5. Gender
  6. Migration
  7. "Nexus" approach - two or more thematic areas combined and addressed simultaneously in the context of climate sciences and adaptation measures (e.g. ‘Gender & Migration, or 'Water & Landuse').

Grant activities may range from primary data collection and analyses of existing data and preparation of international peer-reviewed publications, and development of adaptation strategies or policy briefs, to revising course syllabi/curricula, in any combination. However, trainings, workshops/conferences, exposure visits by faculties or students, and stand-alone curriculum building/revision are ineligible grant activities.

Applying (leading) institutions must be one of HUC’s Full Members. The proposal must also fulfill the following:

  1. The implementing partnership should consist of at least one additional HUC Full Member from a country other than that of the lead institution.
  2. The implementation of the grant must involve relevant expertise from research institutions in Switzerland.
  3. The linkage with one of HUC’s Thematic Working Groups is convincingly demonstrated (Annex 2).
  4. Adhere to the ICIMOD’s reporting, financial, and administrative requirements.

Previous grantees of HUC Seed/Seedling Grants are strongly encouraged to apply.

The costs of Swiss consultancy will be covered in addition to the grant’s budget. The lists of Swiss institutions and experts are available upon request.

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HUC Academy 2018

The HUC Academy is the consortium’s flagship annual intensive programme, and provides opportunities for young researchers to engage in cross-disciplinary scholarship. It aims to foster a new generation of transformational leaders committed to mountain research, capable of producing consequential knowledge, innovate policies, and environmentally responsible business practices to address HKH mountain challenges from transboundary perspectives. The four signature features of the HUC Academy are mountain focus, interdisciplinarity, field research, and leadership.

The HUC Academy 2018, titled Climate Science and Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region – a Transdisciplinary Approach, will take place in Kathmandu from 1–14 July 2018, as part of a two-year grant to HUC by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project aims to advance climate science knowledge and promote effective and sustainable adaptation measures. It seeks to upscale the impacts of interventions made by the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) to the larger HKH region and promote regional collaboration between institutions of higher education in India and those in neighbouring countries, under the continued support of Swiss expertise.

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