Call for Proposals: Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development
*PLEASE READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE STARTING YOUR PROPOSAL.*
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. Our ultimate goal is to encourage collaboration, experimentation, learning and capacity development in the field of sustainable development data.
Who may apply?
Any consortium, with at least two organizations, may apply. Consortium members may include social enterprises, for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, international organizations, academic organizations, networks and partnerships. We are especially interested in proposals that bring different types of organizations together and in seeing these organizations contributing and integrating their data.
To better understand how the proposed project supports action and decision making, a specific end-user of the project’s outputs must be identified and included as part of the team applying.
What are the 2017 themes?
This call is focusing on innovations that support development in two areas:
Leave No One Behind: We are looking for innovations that will provide more detailed, disaggregated, in-depth information on groups that have historically been left out by traditional surveys and other data-gathering tools. Specifically, we are looking for innovations that bring together new sources of data that focus on persons with disabilities and people who live outside of traditional households (e.g., slum dwellers, the homeless, migrants, refugees and institutionalized populations).
Environment: We are looking for innovations that bring together new sources of data (big data, geospatial and earth observation, citizen-generated, IoT, and open data) to support key environmental challenges on climate change and urban resilience (e.g., natural disasters and sustainable energy needs).
What are the required elements of this application?
Applicants must submit the following proposal elements via this online application system.
A set of narrative responses that addresses the criteria above
A high-level budget (Note that awards will be in form of vendor contracts and that indirect costs or administration fees are not allowed; procurement of goods is capped at 20%)
Letters of support from all collaborating organizations
Letters of support from end users of the project
Proposals must be submitted by 17:00 ET, on Friday, September 1, 2017.
Applicants will be able to edit their submissions up until the September 1 deadline.
Proposals that are incomplete, do not follow the parameters described above, or are submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Emailed or hard copy applications will not be accepted.
What happens when finalists are selected?
Following the peer review committee’s evaluation of proposals, the World Bank and GPSDD will reach out to finalists regarding any questions raised by the committee and request the following documents:
A more detailed budget, a breakdown of activities and a proposed delivery timeline
Details of the team composition, roles, locations and levels of effort expected for individuals.
CVs for all key personnel
Evidence that the lead organization has been operational for no less than 12 months (e.g., bank statements, tax returns or audits)
The lead organization's most recent audit statement
3 examples of the lead organization's relevant prior experience
Final results are expected to be announced in January 2018. Funding disbursements will take place after March 1, 2018.
All project implementation work must be completed on or before September 30, 2019, with an additional three months of effort allocated for evaluation and documenting lessons learned.
What are the criteria for funding?
In summary, proposals must include the following elements:
1. A focus on the “Leave No One Behind” theme or the environment 2. Evidence of support from an end-user (e.g., a government agency) 3. Involve a minimum of two collaborating organizations, inclusive of the end-user 4. Be implemented in a low- and/or lower-middle-income country, or be applicable and beneficial to low- and/or lower-middle income countries
Proposals that include these elements will be reviewed by a multi-stakeholder peer review committee and a portfolio of those will be selected for funding. The committee will include members of the Secretariat and Technical Advisory Group of GPSDD, representatives from the World Bank and others from across sectors, disciplines and regions.
Scoring will be based on the following criteria:
1. Innovation and impact (0-40 points)
a. How novel is the approach and intended outcomes? b. Will the project significantly advance data production, dissemination and/or use for sustainable development? c. Will the proposed project build capacity, improve a process and/or create a process, approach, product or service where needs are continuous or recurrent? d. Does the project adequately align to the focus areas of the call, build a compelling collaboration among organizations, and bring new data sources (especially privately held data) to bear?
2. Potential to scale (0-25 points)
a. Can this idea be repeated or adapted to other regions (especially low- and/or lower-middle-income countries)? b. Does the project offer a realistic plan or strategy as to how the outcomes can be scaled up, replicated and/or adopted/adapted?
3. Results and lessons learned (0-20 points)
a. Are the anticipated results clearly articulated and measurable? b. Is the anticipated risk/reward or cost/outcome ratio realistic and worthwhile? c. Is there an effective means to capture knowledge and share it with others?
4. Experience, record and resources (0-15 points)
a. Is this an experienced team with a variety of organization types (e.g., non-profit, for-profit, academic, governmental) collaborating together? b. Does the team have a broad understanding of the problem and context? c. Why and how is this team better positioned to carry out the proposed work than another team? d. Doe the collaborating organizations have significant expertise in the data area of the innovation proposed and have significant experience working in low- and lower-middle-income countries? e. Do the collaborating organizations have a strong track record of project implementation and financial management?
What are the levels of funding?
The amount of funding available for each project depends on whether the project is embryonic or ready to scale up. This phased approach to funding allows us to provide smaller amounts of funding (starting at $25,000) on riskier, unproven innovations at the pilot stage. We are able to provide larger amounts of funding (up to $250,000) for proposals that have a clear justification (for example, testing in multiple sites at the same time), strong evidence of prior success, and are ready to be replicated/adapted to other contexts.
What is the source of funding?
The initiative 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.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
A webinar will be held to field questions regarding this call for proposals on:
Monday, August 7, 2017, 9:30 – 11:00 ET
To participate in the webinar, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the name(s) and e-mail address(es) of the participant(s). Each participant will receive an email with instructions for registering for the webinar. Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in the scheduled webinar.
Additionally, applicants may submit questions to email@example.com. Questions will be answered by e-mail and shared publicly (without identifying the questioner) on this page below. All questions must be submitted no later than Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Questions will be answered within 24 hours, during normal business hours.
Due to the expected high volume of proposals and in line with our efforts to ensure transparency and fairness, questions can only be answered during the webinar or via the submission process described above.
Please check the "Answers to Questions Asked by Applicants" section below to see if your question has been addressed previously.
What are the funding terms and conditions?
Awards in the form of vendor contracts (not grants), will be issued to the lead organizations in the consortiums. The lead organization will be responsible for executing subcontracts with other consortium members. Applicants must agree to abide by the World Bank Group General Terms and Conditions for Consulting Services, should they be awarded funding.
Note, for example, that the World Bank will own all deliverables and will share them under an open license once they have been produced; that the lead organization must have insurance and have been in business for at least 12 months; and that current and former World Bank staff are ineligible to be vendors during their appointment and for at least one year following the termination of their appointment.
The terms and conditions listed above may be changed, added to, deleted or modified by the World Bank prior to awarding funding. Other terms and conditions may be negotiated between the World Bank and the successful applicant.
Answers to Questions Asked By Applicants
Answers to questions will appear here as they become available.
Leave No One Behind
Q: How narrow is the definition of the eligible topics included under the LNOB category?
A: We consider the definitions to be fairly broad. If you can provide evidence and a clear justification that the group you are focused on falls within one of the topics, your proposal will be considered.
Q: Are the topics of climate change and urban resilience the only topics considered under the environment category or are others possible?
A: Projects related to the topics of climate change and urban resilience are the only types of projects that will be considered for funding within the environment category. However, we consider both of these themes to be quite broad and will consider all applications that clearly justify how the proposed projects relate to the eligible topics.
Q: Projects around natural disasters and sustainable energy needs are mentioned as examples of urban resilience. Does this mean that these topics are more preferable than other projects related to urban resilience?
A: These were included only as examples and are not intended to indicate a preference.
Q: What do you mean by innovation?
A: By innovation, we mean doing things differently or doing different things. Doing things differently could involve doing something better, faster, cheaper, or with more disaggregation than it is currently done. Doing things different could mean collecting, producing or managing information in a way that doesn’t happen right now in a certain context.
Keep in mind that, for this call, innovation is not linked to a particular tool or technology.
Q: Are there any recommended or preferred types of project deliverables?
A: No, there are no recommended or preferred type of project deliverables. It is up to each consortium to propose a schedule of deliverables. It will be important to justify what you are delivering and make clear how the deliverables advance the aim of the Call.
Q: Is there a preference for projects that focus on one country versus projects that have a regional or global focus?
A: We do not have a preference and work can happen at the subnational, national, regional or global level. Two important things to keep in mind when determining the locations of a project are the applicability to low- and/or lower-middle income countries and the potential to scale.
Q: Can we work in one low or lower middle income country or do we need to work in more than one country?
A: You can work in one country but keep in mind that it is important that all projects have the potential to scale and be beneficial to other locales.
Q: What type of information are you expecting in response to question 8 of the application, “Please explain the sustainability of this project and provide supporting evidence?”
A: We want to ensure that once the projects we fund don’t end once the award is over and, thus, have a limited impact. Through this question, we are trying to get a sense of how the work will be ongoing and recurrent, following the award period. Some things that might be addressed here include:
- Will the project be adapted by another organization or locale? - If the project needs additional funding to continue, is that funding available? - If the project is reliant on personnel are they available to carry the work forward?
Q: Should the proposal be linked to a specific SDG indicator?
A: We’ve asked that proposals be linked to targets but not to specific SDG indicators, as defined by the SDG Framework. If a proposal is linked to a specific indicator please do mention this in your application but it is not required.
Q: Is there a preference for brand new projects over those that scale up existing work?
A: We do not have a preference. The criteria laid out above describe how projects will be judged. It will be important, however, that the amount of funding requested be commensurate with the project proposed.
Q: Is there a preference for a project that supports broad data generation or data for specific decision making?
A: We do not have a preference. With either option, it will be important that the work aligns with one of the themes of the call and the criteria laid out above.
Q: Can the proposed project focus on the development of the collaboration that will allow the data development and sharing to happen?
A: Projects can include some focus on the establishment and development of such a collaboration but would also need to include a component of data development. We would not be able to provide funding for a project solely focused on the establishment and development of a collaboration.
Q: Is it possible to use funding to expand coverage of an ongoing innovative research project or replicate a project to provide comparative results?
A: In principle, this is possible but you would need to keep in mind the deliverable ownership requirements that come with any Innovation Fund award.
Q: How would you define project outputs?
A: Project outputs can be a variety of things, including technical reports, academic papers, software, new methodologies, data sets, tools, pieces of technology, etc. We’d expect that by the end of the project you could point to something and say that this is the innovation that’s been created.
Q: Would you consider funding projects similar to those that have previously been funded?
A: We would consider funding such projects if your proposal builds on a previous project by scaling it up, applying it in new contexts or doing something else that meets the criteria to be innovative. However, if you are asking for funding to generate knowledge or learning that already exists your proposal would not be considered innovative.
Q: If we have a project that relates to more than one of the themes should we just pick one theme or should we note them all?
A: We would advise bringing focus to the application by picking one theme. Applications that include multiple themes and many SDGs and targets may give the impression that the proposal is not focused or well thought out.
Q: How important is it for projects to take place in a low- and/or lower-middle-income? Can a project be undertaken in a higher income country if it is applicable to a lower income country?
A: To be eligible for consideration, a project must be implemented in a low- and/or lower-middle-income country, or be applicable and beneficial to low- and/or lower-middle income countries. While both types of projects will be considered, projects that take place in a low- and/or lower-middle-income country will be significantly stronger.
Q: What are the reporting requirements associated with this funding?
A: Beyond the deliverables you will need to submit, reporting will be minimal. A brief inception report will be requested at the start of the project. A more detailed final report and lessons learned document will be required at the end of the project. Additionally, the World Bank may reach out for updates occasionally to answer funder inquiries.
Lead Organizations, Vendors, Consortiums & End Data Users
Q: Can the project leader be a member of another organization other than the lead organization? (Question added Aug. 28, 2017)
A: No, the project leader must be from the lead organization.
A: Any partner receiving funds from the lead organization or vendor must accept the flow down terms for subcontractors, as stated in Clause 43.
Q: Should the project leader have a particular profile (education, work experience, etc.?) (Question added Aug. 29, 2017)
A: No particular profile is required. However, project leaders with education and experience relevant to the proposed project will strengthen an application.
Q: Can individuals apply for funding?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from individuals. We encourage applications from a minimum of two collaborating organizations, inclusive of the end data user.
Q: Can one organization submit multiple proposals through different consortia?
Q: Can one consortium submit multiple proposals?
Q: Is there a limit to the number of proposals submitted by an organization, whether as the lead organization or a member of the consortium?
Q: We are considering being a part of multiple consortia. Would our chances of being selected for our main proposal be reduced if we are also selected for a project in which we have a smaller role? (Question added August 16th)
A: Organizations can be a part of multiple consortia, whether as a lead or as a partner. Applications will be judged based on their individual merit so it is possible for an organization to get funding for more than one project, assuming the organization has the capacity to implement more than one project at the same time.
Q: Our consortium is made up of different organizations and we need to select the lead organization. Are there any recommendations and preferences regarding what type of organization should be the lead?
A: As long as the organization can meet the criteria established to receive a World Bank vendor contract and is able to accept the World Bank Group General Terms and Conditions for Consulting Services, we have no preference as to the type of organization that is the lead within a consortium, with one exception. Governments cannot be lead organizations.
An established organization, regardless of type, with a track record of successfully implementing work similar to that being proposed by the consortium, would help strengthen an application.
Q: What are some of the different roles members of a consortium might play?
A: Every consortium will be different but some of the roles might include organizations responsible for methodology, statistics, data collection, advice, etc. For example, in a consortium an academic organization might take the lead on methodology, a private company might bring the data, a local NGO or government agency might have access to end users or field data collection.
Q: Can a commercial organization be a member of a consortium or lead organization?
A: Yes. We would especially like to see commercial organizations that not only provide their expertise and technology but that also provide the data that is being used, like mobile data or financial services data.
Q: If we partner with a government agency in a low or lower middle income country and other organizations and individuals located in higher income countries, is that acceptable?
A: Yes, this is fine. The important thing in this case is that the work benefits the low or lower middle income country.
Q: Is an organization that is already a consortium eligible to apply on its own or must that organization partner with others?
A: Yes, an organization that is already a consortium can apply on its own but you would need to explain this clearly in the application.
Q: What is acceptable evidence that the lead organization has been operational for no less than 12 months?
A: Electronic copies of bank statements, tax returns or audits are all acceptable evidence. Additionally, documentation of your registration or incorporation date with the government would be acceptable.
Q: Are there any minimum requirements around the size or annual budget of the lead organization?
Q: If government agencies cannot be lead organizations and are ineligible to receive a vendor contract from the World Bank, can they get a subcontract through a consortium?
A: The World Bank would not object to a subcontract to a government agency if local laws allow government agencies to be subcontractors and the government agency can comply with all required World Bank flow downs. See Clause 43 of the World Bank Group General Terms and Conditions for Consulting Services for more details on required flow downs.
Q: What does end user mean?
A: Some examples:
If you’ve developed a new method for collecting data, the end user would be the current agency or organization that is currently collecting that data and would use your new method going forward.
If you’re producing data on a hard to reach population to inform a specific policy intervention, then the policy maker who would make that data would be the end user.
Q: Can members of a consortium also be the end user?
A: Yes, end users should be members of the consortium.
Q: Can the end user be the lead applicant? (Question added August 16th)
Q: To what degree should the end-user/stakeholders from low-and middle-income countries be involved in the process?
A: At a minimum, we would want to see a letter of support indicating that there is an end user, be it a national government agency, a subnational government agency, or another entity within a country, supporting the proposal and expressing interest in the work. We would also welcome end users that will be active partners, perhaps producing joint research or engaging in capacity development work. We recognize a wide range of levels of participation from end users.
Q: Could the end-user be the policy implementers or researchers in a higher income country, international organization or a university or must the end users be located in low or middle income countries?
A: This is a bit of a gray area. We still want to see the results of the funding benefit low or middle income countries. If the end user is an academic or policy implementer at an international organization and his or her work benefits low or middle income countries, that may be acceptable but would need to be clearly explained and well justified in the application.
Q: Does the end user have to be a government agency or an official data collection or use agency? (Question added August 16th)
Q: If the end users of our project are unable to provide a letter of support because of literacy or technological limitations, could we submit a letter of support from a social impact expert, describing how the project would help the end users? (Question added August 16th)
A: Yes, a letter of support from an end user representative is acceptable. If you are working with community-based groups or associations – even ones with limited capacity/literacy – there may be a way to get a letter from a representative of a larger group of end users, rather than looking to one individual.
Q: Does a lower budget increase the chance of success for the application?
A: No, the amount of funding requested does not impact the chance of success. However, the budget does need to be reasonable in comparison to the work being proposed.
Q: Does the amount of funding you get relate to the length of time of the award? If you just request $25,000 would your award be less than 18 months?
A: No, there is no link between the length of time of an award and the amount of funding requested. Having said that, it will be important for your timeline to be reasonable given the work being proposed.
Q: Do all consortium members have to be funded through the contract or can some members contribute to the project but not receive funds?
A: Consortium members can contribute to the project without receiving funds.
Q: Is co-funding required?
A: Co-funding is encouraged but not required. Proposals will not be penalized if they do not have co-funding.
Should you include co-funding in your proposal, it is important to make sure that the project is able to comply with the copyright requirements of the World Bank. The World Bank will own all deliverables and will open source them so that both the consortium and wider community can make use of what has been developed. See Clause 21 of the World Bank Group General Terms and Conditions for Consulting Services for more details.
Q: Is the funding paid as a lump sum at the beginning of the project?
A: No, the contracts will be paid on a deliverables basis. Typically, 10% of the contract amount is paid at the signing of the contract. The remainder is paid around the submission of deliverables. The payment schedules will be unique to each project and will be discussed with finalists during the contract negotiation process.
Eligible Expenses Q: Please provide more information about what costs are covered by the grant and what costs you consider indirect.
A: Costs that are generally allowed, if they are reasonable for the work being proposed, include staff, travel, events, publication of reports, development of technology, hosting a website and M&E. This is not an exhaustive list; other costs may be allowable.
We define indirect costs as overhead and administrative fees. These costs cannot be included in the budget.
Q: Can we include equipment in the budget?
A: Some types of equipment can be included in the budget but equipment can be no more than 20% of your budget. Additionally, any requests for equipment must be strongly justified and clearly linked to the work being proposed.
Q: Can we purchase a vehicle with the funding?
A: No, but you can include the costs of a driver or rental vehicle in the budget to reach remote areas.
Q: Can we include funding for the evaluation period in our budget?
A: We would prefer budgets that only include funding for the project period.
Q: Can we use funding to buy telecom data or other forms of data?
A: While we are sympathetic to the desire to use funding to buy this type of data, we would like to fund consortium models that bring owners of this type of data into consortium to share data for a project that is beneficial to all involved. We won’t rule out any funding to buy data but would prefer applicants find other ways to access data.
Q: Is software considered equipment?
A: For the purposes of this call, software will be considered equipment.
Q: Would funding for data collection be allowable or are you only interested in funding the innovation needed to collect the data?
A: Funding can be used for both data collection and methodological work but we cannot fund a project only focused on data collection.
Q: There is a spending cap on equipment. Are there spending caps on other types of expenses?
Terms and Conditions
Copyright Q: The call states that the World Bank will own all project deliverables and will share them under an open license once they have been produced. Where can I find out more about ownership, copyright and intellectual property (IP)?
Also, please note that the World Bank does not necessarily have plans to use the deliverables themselves. Rather, they will be published under an open source license in order to benefit the community at large.
Q: What type of open source license will the World Bank release the deliverables under?
A: The World Bank will use a Creative Commons License that allows for maximum reuse for any purpose, including commercial, as we believe that this type of license will encourage use by both the public and private sector.
Q: What about pre-existing IP?
A: Any pre-existing IP would remain the property of the owner and the owner would retain all rights to that IP. The Innovation Fund recipient would have to grant the World Bank an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, disclose, reproduce, publish, distribute or display copies to the public, or modify or prepare derivative works of such pre-existing IP, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the owner.
Q: Given that the World Bank will own all of the deliverables produced via this funding, what use rights would the consortium and end-users have to the work developed?
A: Deliverables produced via this funding will be open sourced by the World Bank, according to the parameters laid out above. These parameters will allow Innovation Fund recipients to continue to use the deliverables, further their work and produce derivative content.
Q: If we developed software through this funding, would the World Bank own the code?
A: Yes, if the funding paid for the development of the code and associated software, the World Bank would own the code and it would be published under the open source license described above.
A: The requirements do vary by country. For work in the U.S. or for organizations incorporated in the U.S. the requirements are laid out in clause 13. Organizations incorporated outside of the U.S. and working outside of the U.S. are required to have insurance coverage reflective of local market conditions for their country of incorporation or of the country in which the Services are rendered, whichever is higher. More details can be found here.
Q: Are all members of the consortium required to have insurance or only the lead organization?
A: Only the lead organization is required to have insurance.
Q: How can I submit an application?
A: To start your application, click the "Start" button at the top of this page. Applications can only be submitted via this online system. Emailed or hard copy applications will not be accepted.
Q: Does the application have to be submitted in English? If yes, what about other documents, like support letters, deliverables and reports?
A: Yes, everything needs to be submitted in English. We would like to be able to accept applications in other languages but do not have the capacity to review them.
Q: The deadline is September 1st. Will this deadline be flexible or is it fixed?
A: This deadline is fixed and will not be extended.
Q: What do you mean by letters of support and what do you want to see in them?
A: You must submit letters of support from all collaborating organizations and end users. The letters should be on the organization’s letterhead and should describe support of the project in question, not just support of an individual or organization. Additionally, it would be beneficial to have the letters of support touch on the nature of the support, but that is not required.
Q: Can you share successful proposals from last year?
A: We cannot share proposal documents but you can find out more about the projects we funded here.
Q: What is the maximum length of an award?
A: Funding disbursements will start in March 2018. All implementation work must be completed within 18 months, with another three months available for evaluation and documenting lessons learned.
Q: Who will review the proposals?
A: Proposals will be reviewed by a multi-stakeholder peer review committee. The committee will include members of the GPSDD Secretariat and Technical Advisory Group, representatives from the World Bank and others with expertise in the environment, LNOB, data and technology.
Q: How many awards will be given?
A: We can’t give an exact number of awards because it will be dependent on the budgets of the top ranked proposals. Last year ten awards were given out.
Q: Will future rounds of funding be offered?
A: While we would like to continue the Innovation Fund in 2018, that will be dependent on the availability of funding.
UN Agencies, the World Bank & International Organizations
A: No, for this call for proposals, the terms and conditions cannot be adjusted.
Q: Can UN agencies get a vendor contract or be one of the partners in the proposal?
A: UN agencies are not eligible to receive a vendor contract, and therefore cannot be a lead organization. However, we would welcome them as members of consortia, ideally contributing their own funds to the project. In order to receive funds as a member of a consortium, they would have to accept the required flow downs from the World Bank Group General Terms and Conditions for Consulting Services. See Clause 43 for more details.
Q: Is a World Bank Unit eligible to apply for this funding? (Question added August 16th)
Q: Can other international organizations apply for this funding?
Q: Partnerships hosted by UN agencies and UN agencies themselves often charge fees for any funding received. Are such fees considered administrative fees and therefore excluded from funding?
A: Yes, those fees would be considered administrative fees and would not be an allowable expense.
Q: Can a national chapter of a UN agency or a UN agency itself be a data end user?
A: Yes, as long as the proposal clearly explains how the project and the selected data end user will benefit the country.
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