Call for Expressions of Interest

to Host the Secretariat of the Group on Earth Observations

Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON)

Version 29.01.20
See the “Enquiries and clarifications” section at the bottom of the page for the updated information


The information requested includes:

  • Background and relevance of the host institution to the work of GEO BON;
  • Planned administration and staffing of the Secretariat;
  • Funding arrangements, including a budget detailing how both direct and in-kind support would be used to further develop and operate the global network.

Questions regarding this expression of interest or the selection process should be directed by email to the GEO BON Executive Secretary ( with the Subject “GEO BON Secretariat post 2020 enquiry”. All enquiries and replies will be posted publicly for the benefit of all interested parties at the end of this webpage.

Expected Qualifications and Additional Information

Organizations submitting an Expression of Interest should have the following qualifications:

  • Strong ability to actively engage in and coordinate GEO BON activities
  • Willingness and ability to host a global secretariat
  • Experience in managing large-scale research programmes/projects
  • Capacity to enable effective collaboration and international research exchange
  • Capacity to continue enabling operationalization of GEO BON activities (e.g., development of Biodiversity Observation Networks – BONs, Essential Biodiversity Variables – EBVs, EBV-derived indicators, and biodiversity monitoring)
  • Capacity to enable interaction with a range of stakeholder groups (e.g., academia, funders, governments, international organisations, the private sector and other sectors of the civil society)
  • Ability to attract excellent candidates for the post of Executive Secretary through open, international recruitment
  • Adequate funding to support Secretariat operations
  • Ability to maintain the GEO BON website along with other existing GEO BON online resources (e.g., Members page). Note that iDiv has offered to support the development and maintenance of the EBV Data Portal for another four years, thus alleviating the submitting organizations from some of the financial responsibility. iDiv will work in close partnership with the Secretariat for the future management and development of the portal.
  • Ability to provide office space for an operational Secretariat

As part of its provision of the GEO BON Secretariat, the host institution is expected to employ, and provide the salary of the Executive Secretary and at least one program officer in addition to administrative support staff and a running budget. The proposed Secretariat may or not be co-located with the future Chair or Co-Chair. Intentions regarding this co-location should be declared in the application (Section 1.1). Please note that, depending on the selected offer, the election for the future (co-)Chair(s) is planned to take place at the Implementation Committee meeting of the GEO BON Open Science Conference in July 2020.

All proposals must be backed by a realistic funding strategy for at least three, and preferably six years. In addition to the staff, funding should support other operational costs such as office space, IT, furniture, and operating and travel expenses (national and international), including the support for travel of Advisory Board members and Implementation Committee members, with particular support offered to encourage the participation from developing countries. As a reference, the current operating and travel budget of the secretariat is 50k€/year.

Proposers should also consider the possibility of establishing the Secretariat as an independent legal entity, in order to support its international role and ability to engage actively in international project proposals.

Selection Process

The GEO BON Implementation Committee (IC) will establish a Selection Committee to assess the qualifications of proposing organisations and with due consideration to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. The Selection Committee will be chaired by the current GEO BON Co-Chairs.

Milestone Date
This call for Expressions of Interest  November 15th 2019
Submission Deadline  February 15th 2020
Selection  Spring, 2020 (northern hemisphere)
Start of new Secretariat Operations  October 2020 (within a 6-month window)

A proposal has 5 sections, described below.

  • Section 1 should be completed using the template available here.
  • Sections 2-5 should be completed separately
  • Both documents should be combined and sent as a pdf file to the GEO BON Secretariat ( with the subject “GEO BON Secretariat post-2020 submission”. The final proposal should not exceed 8 pages in total.
  1. Summary. A one page summary using the template available here
  2. Vision (2 pages or less): A clear vision for a successful Secretariat supporting the GEO BON Vision and Mission, including the Essential Biodiversity Variables development working groups and the Biodiversity Observation Networks.
  3. Capabilities (3 pages or less): A description of capabilities that meet the expected qualifications listed above. The following additional topics should also be addressed:
    1. A brief description of the experience in managing international research and science-policy programmes.
    2. Discuss plans on how to run regular meetings with the different WGs, BONs and the Implementation Committee
  4. Funding Plan (1 page): A detailed funding plan for the envisaged hosting period of at least three years
  5. Staffing Plan (1 page). A plan outlining the expected staffing of the office, logistical, administrative and in-kind support, including the recruitment procedure for the staff and the internal governance of the staff

Thank you for considering submitting a proposal!

Enquiries and clarifications
  • We will also give full consideration to proposals that have not yet received a complete commitment for the funding of the secretariat by the deadline of February 15th. The Implementation Committee might come back to individual proponents for clarifications and/or confirmations of commitments at the beginning of the selection process (e.g. March-April 2020).
  • The members of the GEO BON Advisory Board will be reviewing the applications based on the criteria listed in the call, and provide their recommendations to the Implementation Committee.
  • The decision on the selection of the best proposal for the Secretariat will be made by the GEO BON Implementation Committee at one of its next meetings, after considering the reviews prepared by the Advisory Board.