Go to Top

Frequently Asked Questions on The Funding Application: The Concept Note

1. What should be included in the concept note?

The concept note is the application to request new funds from the Global Fund for any one of the three diseases or cross-cutting support for HSS. It replaces the previous Rounds-based proposal form, and incorporates the modular template (which replaces the Rounds-based performance framework, workplan and detailed budget).
In the concept note the applicant will be expected to justify why they need Global Fund funds, and how they will effectively and efficiently use this investment for greatest impact in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Concept notes include the following information:

  • The country’s disease context, with epidemiological data at the subnational level, and its current response;
  • The “full expression of demand”, which is the total amount of funding needed to finance a technically appropriate response to the disease; and
  • The request to the Global Fund, which will consist of priority interventions to be funded from the indicative funding amount, and interventions or program elements to be included in the above indicative amount, which may be funded through available incentive funding (if eligible) or through additional resources, if they become available.
  • counterpart financing commitments that show how implementing governments fulfill their obligations to sustain and increase their financial contributions to the three diseases and overall health system.

2. How do I know if I need to submit a joint concept note for TB and HIV?

Countries with high co-infection rates of TB and HIV shall submit a single concept note that presents integrated and joint programming for the two diseases. The World Health Organization has identified 41 high-burden countries (i.e., countries where TB and HIV epidemics are closely interlinked) which represent 92% of the overall burden of TB/HIV co-infection.
The decision applies to 38 high-burden countries who are eligible for Global Fund support for both components.
There will be a specific format of concept note that will be made available for applications for TB and HIV programs for countries to which this decision applies. It will be closely based on the standard concept note, and will have all the same components (e.g. modular template, programmatic gap tables and counterpart financing table). Countries eligible for HIV and TB funding that are not on the list of countries with high co-infection rates will also be able to use the HIV and TB joint concept note.

3. How will the Technical Review Panel (TRP) review be different? What are the criteria they will use to assess the concept note?

The TRP continues to review new funding requests and material reprogrammings in an independent and transparent way. The TRP begins its review by assessing whether what is proposed is positioned for highest impact. This means that the concept note should be strategically focused and technically sound, and investments should have maximum impact with the available resources in a given context. The TRP makes its funding recommendation on the indicative and above indicative amounts, prioritizing interventions.
The TRP review is designed to work towards identifying the highest impact programs, and getting to an outcome of “yes” (however, the TRP may deem that a concept note is not yet ready to advance to grant-making and request the applicant submit a revised concept note). This is a radical change from what was previously required of the TRP. Following its review, the TRP is delegating more clarifications and/or adjustments to the Secretariat during grant-making and implementation.
TRP reviews will be more frequent in the new funding model, up to four times a year.

4. What happens if the TRP does not recommend my concept note for funding?

The TRP no longer makes “yes or no” recommendations. Rather, it recommends a concept note subject to certain actions during grant-making or implementation. If the TRP deems that the concept note is not yet ready to advance to grant-making, it will request the applicant submit a revised concept (shortly thereafter). The new funding model allows for a more iterative dialogue and more frequent opportunities to submit a funding request.

5. How is grant-making different from the previous grant negotiations process?

The Global Fund will begin the grant-making processes following the review of concept notes by the TRP and the Grant Approvals Committee (GAC), prior to requesting Board approval. It is the GAC that determines the upper-ceiling for grant-making. The Secretariat will work with applicants to transform technically sound concept notes into grants. By starting to think about implementation arrangements at the concept note stage, the new funding model will help ensure that issues and capacity gaps are resolved early on, with direct support from technical assistance partners. This process will help to avoid the imposition of numerous conditions precedent in grant agreements which can delay program implementation.
One additional difference is the potential for early release of funds for procurement and capacity building after the first Grant Approval Committee review, before Board approval.

6. To what extent does the new funding model reduce timing between concept note and implementation?

The focus on implementation planning before the concept note is submitted will reduce the time spent on grant-making between concept note approval and grant signing.
The estimated time between the review of the concept note by the TRP and GAC and the Board’s approval (and grant signing) is 3-4 months but can be longer if the TRP or GAC seek complex actions and/or amendments.
The process is country-led, and timing will depend on a number of factors in-country (e.g. whether or not the country has an updated and costed National Strategic Plan, the strength of the CCM, PR performance, etc.). Based on this, the country will determine the target date for signature and the release of funding, and plan a timeline to achieve this.

7. What is the role of technical partners?

The new funding model relies on a close partnership with technical partners at country level. Partners, with their country presence, can play important, context-relevant and differentiated, mutually reinforcing roles in supporting countries through the country dialogue and concept note processes, and their support continues during grant-making. Their role includes: i) discussing the disease/health sector landscape with in-country stakeholders, and mapping donor commitments and ensuring alignment; ii) supporting the development of an accessible depository (knowledge base) of country studies, available data, etc.; iii) assisting in the identification and prioritization of strategic investments for robust NSPs and concept notes; iv) providing input in discussions around disease split; v) reviewing program performance and impact data, as well as current trends of epidemiological context; and vi) providing technical support in-country as needed.

8. What is a National Strategic Plan (NSP), and who evaluates it?

An NSP is either a disease-specific, or health sector national strategy that provides the overall strategic direction for a country over a period of time (often for five years).
NSPs should be reviewed by the appropriate technical partners. As part of this technical review and support process, NSPs should preferably be jointly assessed through a credible, independent, multi-stakeholder process that uses internationally agreed frameworks, such as a Joint Assessment of National Strategies (JANS). This is a shared approach where country stakeholders and development partners carry out an independent assessment of an NSP against an internationally agreed set of criteria. The purpose of a JANS is to indicate the soundness of an NSP and its operational plan, and its potential as the basis for technical and financial support.

9. What happens if my country does not have an NSP?

Where a country does not have an NSP, or if it is not up-to-date, is not sufficiently robust, fully costed and/or cannot be used for the basis of a funding request to the Global Fund, applicants should develop a full expression of prioritized demand for strategic interventions, developed in a manner that complements existing national processes.