5 innovation competitions you can apply for

Want to enter innovation challenges? We list the ones you can apply for now. Photo by: Dennis Skley / CC BY-ND

In 2014, it was Katalyst, a market development project in Bangladesh, that brought home the DAC Prize for Taking Development Innovation to Scale. Who will it be this year?

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee is once again inviting civil society and public sector institutions to apply for the DAC Prize, which, though it doesn’t come with any monetary rewards, promises a lot of publicity for the winner.

The DAC Prize is also designed to mobilize resources toward innovative solutions by the winning organizations.

“I hope that the prize will help promote an approach to development cooperation that invests in achieving impact at scale to achieve the best development results with our [official development assistance] resources. I look forward to your participation in the prize competition,” said OECD-DAC Chair Erik Solheim in an email sent to national governments.

Applicants may submit their entries in English, French or Spanish but must do so by April 30, 2015.

Apart from the DAC Prize, here are a few more innovation-related competitions you can enter now:

Global Health Innovators Fellowship

Deadline: Nomination closes Feb. 28, 2015.

Eligibility: individuals or organizations that have developed and implemented local solutions which have been operational for at least a year.

Award: technical and financial support to scale solutions.

The fellowship is a core part of the recently launched Social Innovation in Health Initiative, which focuses on solutions that can improve the delivery of health care to those affected by neglected tropical diseases and infectious illnesses, such as malaria and tuberculosis. The one-year modular program will take place at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Powering Agriculture

Deadline: Concept notes must be submitted by Feb. 12, 2015.

Eligibility: specifically educational, industrial, and not-for-profit and for-profit, faith-based and regional organizations; foundations; academic institutions; civic groups; vendors; startups; and project developers.

Award: funding between $500,000 and $2 million.

This is the second call under this challenge, which excludes government entities and individuals. The goal is to find solutions that can foster the development and deployment of clean energy solutions to boost agricultural productivity in the developing world.

Target Research Platform in Partnership with Grand Challenges

Deadline: Intent to apply must be submitted not later than March 13, 2015.

Eligibility: existing or new partnerships between Japanese and non-Japanese organizations, with each partner having had a history of health intervention research and development and expertise to know which projects represent “potentially substantial additions to the field.”

Award: up to 100 million yen (roughly $853,000) per project proposal, with the project not lasting more than two years.

A first in Japan, this grand challenge was launched Thursday. It aims to spur “bold solutions” to tackle infectious diseases affecting the world’s poor such as malaria, tuberculosis, Chagas disease and visceral leishmaniasis. Investments will target new and improved drugs, vaccines or diagnostics in early-stage development.

Technology to Support Education in Crisis and Conflict Settings

Deadline: March 30, 2015.

Award: a total payout of up to $50,000, with no award being smaller than $1,500.

This is part of the All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development and seeks “appropriate, cost-effective and sustainable uses of a broad range of technologies that can be used within the first six months following a crisis, when infrastructure is compromised and teachers are scarce.” This is an ideation challenge, which means that although applicants do not need to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the challenge organizers, they must grant the latter with a royalty-free, perpetual and nonexclusive license to use the information from their submissions.

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About the author

  • Ma. Eliza Villarino

    Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability, and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.