Call for testing and demonstration of agricultural inputs and technologies suitable for use in marginal environments at ICBA research station

The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is a not-for-profit international applied agricultural research center with a focus on marginal areas where an estimated 1.7 billion people live. Established in 1999 in Dubai by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the center identifies, tests, and introduces resource-efficient, climate-smart crops and technologies that are best suited to different regions affected by salinity, water scarcity, and drought. Through its work, ICBA helps to improve food security and livelihoods for some of the poorest rural communities around the world.

ICBA is not a funding agency and does not provide grants or any form of financial assistance. Project collaborators are expected to secure funding through external sources or be self-financed. All collaborative projects should comply with ICBA's full-cost recovery policy.

 The information provided in this form will be reviewed by ICBA team carefully and transparently. All provided information will be treated with utmost confidentiality. The evaluation of the project collaboration request will take into consideration the relevance of the proposed project to ICBA’s vision, mission and mandate, availability of expertise, other commitments, and any conflict of interest-related matters.

The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) invites companies, entrepreneurs or traders supplying or producing agricultural technologies for marginal environments to register their products in the platform for testing and demonstration at the ICBA research station.


ICBA is the Center of Excellence for innovative agriculture, focused on addressing the root causes of hunger, malnutrition and poverty in marginal environments. Marginal environments are characterized by severe biophysical constraints, including poor soils, increasing salinity, inadequate quality and quantity of water, and unfavorable climate conditions. These challenges undermine agricultural productivity in such environments and the livelihoods of farmers that depend on them. ICBA’s areas of applied research themes include:

  • Sustainable management of natural resources
  • Crop improvement and sustainable production
  • Integrated agri-aquaculture systems
  • Climate change modeling and adaptation

Objectives of this call

ICBA offers to provide consultancy services to companies that would like to test their products or technologies applicable to marginal environments before disseminating them to customers.

What can ICBA offer?

  • Extensive experience in developing tailor-made solutions to problems of salinity, water scarcity, and drought
  • Unique long-running research and knowledge on salinity and water scarcity in marginal environments
  • One of the world’s largest collections of germplasm of drought-, heat- and salt-tolerant plant species
  • Inter-disciplinary research teams and world-class research facilities
  • Unique focus on alternative rather than mainstream solutions and approaches

ICBA can provide consultancy services in the following areas:

  • Crop diversification using underutilized, stress-tolerant crops for food, feed and biofuel and different types of saline water, including reject brine and seawater;
  • Plant breeding, genetics, and genomics; seed production, harvesting, and post-harvest technologies;
  • Controlled-environment agriculture, including vertical farming;
  • Inland and seawater-based integrated agri-aquaculture systems;
  • Fish waste and livestock manure composting and management;
  • Agroforestry systems integrating non-traditional crops for forage and biofuel production;
  • Algae production in integrated farms for biofuel and other uses;
  • Precision agriculture;
  • Development of agricultural value chains;
  • Sustainable irrigation systems, including small-scale irrigation solutions, tailored to local environments.
  • Soil improvement through organic and inorganic amendments;
  • Integrated soil, water, and crop management practices;
  • Irrigation efficiency and agricultural water productivity through modeling, water accounting, and other tools;
  • Surface and groundwater modeling;
  • Land use, agro-climatic zoning, and reclamation and use of marginal lands
  • Remote sensing, GIS applications, and drones;
  • Advanced climate modeling using big data and machine learning;
  • Modeling and remote-sensing tools for climate change impact assessment;
  • Future analysis and planning using water and crop modeling;
  • Integrated drought management – monitoring/early warning systems, vulnerability and impact assessment, mitigation, and response.

What is the benefit to companies?

  • Technical support to optimize the quality and efficiency of their products;
  • Establish demonstration plots that could be used by the participants to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products and their impact on crop productivity or water use efficiency;
  • An analysis and report on how their products perform against a standard (commonly used) products or technologies;
  • Access to ICBA’s state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories;
  • Cost-benefit analysis of their products;
  • Training for internal (company) staff as well as organizing conferences, seminars, and workshops with relevant stakeholders;
  • Internationalization – opportunity to test their product in different regions of the world (Africa, Central Asia, and MENA) where ICBA is active;
  • A joint publication of scientific papers on the results of mutual studies.

What is required from interested companies?

  • Provide the product or technology to be tested with full documentation;
  • Effect payment to cover the full cost of carrying out the requested service at the ICBA research station, including scientists’ time, farm and irrigation supplies, etc.;
  • Assign a Project Leader to be responsible for the implementation and coordination with ICBA on behalf of the company.

Who is the owner of the product or technology being tested?

All equipment provided by companies will remain the property of the companies.

What cannot be tested at ICBA:

  • Any technology that interferes with ongoing experiments;
  • Any product specifically to be used with ongoing long-term experiments that changes the growing environment/soil permanently.

How is the publication of research results and findings managed?

If the service or test has potential for scientific publication, it is in the company’s interest that ICBA prepares a research publication of the findings from the project. Companies shall have the rights to review and give final approval prior to publication.

How are Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) managed?

Any information of a confidential nature shared between the company and ICBA, such as technical and business information relating to proprietary ideas, patentable ideas and/or trade secrets, existing and/or contemplated products and services, research and development, production, costs, finances, and financial projections, clients, and current or future business plans and models, regardless of whether such information is designated as “confidential information” at the time of its disclosure, shall be treated with at least the same degree of care as they would use in respect of their own confidential information of a similar nature. This includes the obligation to refrain from using the other Party’s confidential information in any way other than in direct relationship with this Agreement, to refrain from disclosing the other Party’s confidential information to any third party, and to exercise reasonable care to ensure that it or any member of its personnel do not use the other Party’s confidential information for private or company advantage.

Intellectual property rights, in particular, copyright-related to material such as information, databases, scientific articles, software, and designs made available by the Parties to each other to carry out the activities under this Agreement shall remain with the originating Parties.

Make a Request

Please click here to make a request on the ICBA Technology Testing Platform.


Inquiries should be sent to:

Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation


Phone: +971 4 304 63 00