$2.5m innovation fund supports use of data in poor countries

$2.5m innovation fund supports use of data in poor countries

A new $2.5m innovation fund led by the World Bank will support ideas to improve the production, management and use of data in poor countries. The new initiative seeks to improve availability and use of data under two themes: “Leave No One Behind” and the environment. These topics cover people with disabilities, those living outside traditional households (e.g. institutionalized populations, slum dwellers, the homeless and refugees), and issues related to climate change and urban resilience.

The World Bank’s Development Data Group (DECDG), in collaboration with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), is interested in supporting innovative collaborations for data production, dissemination, and use. The collaborations should take place primarily in low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries, and be directed towards sustainable development generally, and linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular.

This call has been issued to target improvements where needs are continuous or recurrent, and where innovations can be readily adapted to other regions and sectors. The ultimate goal is to encourage collaboration, experimentation, learning and capacity development in the field of sustainable development data.

It’s thought there is a shortfall in funding for data, and also limited funding for innovation and experimentation in how data can be produced, managed and used. That’s where this innovation fund comes in. It is looking for both innovations in technology and innovations in approach that will make an ongoing difference to a country’s statistical system.

Many governments, companies, researchers and citizen groups are experimenting, innovating and adapting to the new world of data. But many others are excluded because of a lack of resources, knowledge, capacity or opportunity. This is especially a concern in poorer countries – this innovation fund targets priority issues in the countries that most need support.

“We are seeking collaborations that shine a light on groups that have been historically left out by traditional surveys and other data gathering,” said Claire Melamed, executive director of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. “Exclusion takes on many forms, and in order to ‘Leave No One Behind’ we must invest in better data to make better decisions leading to better lives.”

The Innovation Fund is supported by the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) with financing from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Korea and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland. DFID is the largest contributor to the TFSCB.

Successful teams will be awarded amounts between $25,000 to $250,000 depending on whether the project is embryonic or ready to scale up. Funding will be disbursed by the World Bank’s TFSCB. The first round of funding for ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development’ was launched in 2016 and funding for projects was announced in March 2017.

Proposals for this call must be received no later than September 1, 2017 and submitted via the online applications system here.

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