Apply for the AIMS-NEI Big Data for Development Innovation Challenge 2019 (Seed funding grants of up to USD 10,000)

Application Deadline: 21 August 2019

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI), in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is launching the Big Data for Development Innovation Challenge (BD4D) . 

The BD4D Innovation Challenge aims to support emerging young African data scientists to develop innovative solutions that leverage new and non-traditional sources of data to address development challenges.  

Eligibility Requirements

The BD4D Innovation Challenge is open to Applicants from member countries of the African Union. Applicants may be individuals or teams of individuals. Teams are encouraged to combine skills in data science and data engineering. Applicants are responsible for compliance with the legal requirements of their country. 

Applicants must submit a solution to one of the 3 challenges: 


  • Seed funding grants of up to USD 10,000 
  • Mentorship support
  • Public recognition and opportunity to network 

Innovation Challenge Awards

Selected candidates will pitch at the Final Challenge and compete for seed funding awards and mentorship support. 

Challenge Winners will be selected and awarded for the following categories:

  1. Best BD4D-IC solution: Up to $10,000 
  2. Most Innovative BD4D-IC solution: Up to $10,000 

 AIMS-NEI will extend an invitation to the winning solutions to explore ways to collaborate in validating, implementing or scaling the project’s reach. All winning projects will be recognized through public communications from the AIMS-NEI, IDRC and the World Bank Group and may be mentioned as part of a high-profile international event where the BD4D network will participate. 

The prizes will be awarded in disbursements, based on a deliverables plan which will be agreed with each team. 

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Expected Submissions

SOLUTIONS: These are innovative big data-driven solutions that address one of the challenge statements presented in the BD4D Innovation Challenge. The submitting solutions should have been tested or validated at a basic level and demonstrate this through the submission form. 

 PROTOTYPES: These are innovative functional prototypes that are yet to be validated, and that address one of the challenge statements. Prototypes will be expected to justify the value of their concept through written documentation, supporting data, screenshots, videos or other relevant media files. 

  • Each Solution or Prototype must leverage or create some type of Big datasets. Combinations of traditional and new or unconventional data sources will be acceptable. 
  • Submissions may be any kind of a research proposal, insight or data-driven solution, be it for the web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, SMS, or any software platform broadly available to the public. APIs and algorithms will also be accepted.  
  • Submissions may incorporate open source or any new technology. 

Application Procedure:

BD4D Innovation Challenge Application  

  1. Applicants must use this online form to submit their application for the BD4D Innovation Challenge.
  2. The best submissions will be invited to pitch at the Final Pitch Competition. 
  3. The Pitching Competition will take place on September 9th, 2019. Winners will be announced on the same day.
  • Registration

Applicants visit this online form to submit an entry. Registration is free. Only applications submitted through the online form will be accepted.

  • Online Submission Requirements

Each Contestant will be required to provide the following as part of his or her Submission:

  1. A link to a demo of your solution/prototype, which could be in the form of a Kaggle kernel, Youtube video, Medium article, or hosted web application, among others.  
  2. A text description of your solution/prototype 
  3. Electronic acknowledgement through the website that the entrant(s) have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.
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21 August 2019: Applications close 
27 August 2019: Accepted applicants will be notified 
9 September 2019: Final Challenge competition

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Big Data for Development Innovation Challenge 2019

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