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The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has announced the Transform Fund Call for Innovation 2020 will focus entirely on supporting their Member Countries long-term preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Call will operate in addition to the IsDB Group’s other wide-ranging initiatives coordinated by their Strategic Preparedness and Response Facility.

The IsDB Group is coordinating a wide-ranging response to the impact of COVID-19. It has set up a Strategic Preparedness and Response Facility which will oversee a response package. The facility will focus on emergency preparedness to curb the spread of the COVID-19, minimizing the socio-economic impact of the pandemic especially on poor communities, and building the resilience of their Member Countries in responding to outbreaks and pandemics.

The IsDB has a longstanding commitment to harnessing the powers of STI as a means to unlocking global development challenges. Their US $500 million Transform Fund, launched in 2018, invests in early stage innovative ideas and the scaling of innovations by providing seed money for innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs and institutions that need initial funding and growth capital to develop their ideas.

The overall aim of the fund is to support the Muslim World with the power of innovation, facilitate the commercialization of technology, promote joint activities among member countries, research institutions, and ensure the development of entrepreneurship.

More specifically, the objectives of the IsDB-STI Fund are to:

        Support the Muslim World with the power of innovation, especially social innovation to address key development challenges;

        Support and generate public good through facilitating the commercialization of technology developed through sustained partnerships among researchers and entrepreneurs from IsDB Member Countries (MCs) and non-member countries for socio-economic impact;

        Promote joint activities that would lead to innovation and entrepreneurship through the application of science and technology;

        Promote the continuity of and access to the chain of financing from various financing sources such as angel funds at early stages and hedge funds at later stages, in order to allow small innovative SMEs to flourish their own ideas and create new market; and

        Devote a steady and predictable source of funds that is critical for developing STI.

The projects and activities of the Fund will be governed by the following operating principles. IsDB-STI. As such, applications for funding are required to possess the following attributes Support sustainability science ideas/projects with focus on innovations benefiting the Muslim World and having the following attributes:

        Disruptive, transformative and inspiring innovations that are linked to one or more SDGs;

        Feasible innovations having scalable solutions with high impact

        Innovations that are adaptable, replicable, readily diffusible, affordable and accessible

        Diversity in sectors such as education, health, agriculture, water and sanitation and infrastructure

The Call for Innovation will identify, encourage and reward innovative proposals that will benefit local communities focused on the following:

        The application of advanced technology

        Innovative health supply chain management systems

        Development of Low-cost rapid tests and screening methods

        Capacity building interventions

Funding Categories

The Transform Fund supports eligible scientists, innovators, SMEs and institutions that need initial funding and growth capital for their ideas/projects. These ideas/projects will result in technologies and solutions that will contribute to the development effectiveness of IsDB Member Countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries by addressing the challenges related to one of the following SDGs: SDG2: No Hunger (food security), SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being, SDG4 Quality Education, SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG7: Affordable & Clean Energy, SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

The categories of application are:

        New Ideas with Proof of Concept, Funding Opportunity: Grants ranging from US$ 50,000-100,000

        Capacity Building in Science, Technology and Innovation Funding Opportunity: Grants ranging from US$ 100,000-150,000

        Scaling up of Innovative Projects, Funding Opportunity: Equity Participation up to US$ 300,000

        Commercialization of Technology Funding Opportunity: Equity Participation up to US$ 1,000,000

Eligibility Criteria

        The IsDB-STI Fund will support eligible scientists, innovators, SMEs and institutions that need initial funding and growth capital for their ideas/projects. These ideas/projects will result in technologies and solutions that will contribute to the development effectiveness of IsDB Member Countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries.

        Eligible scientists, innovators, NGOs, private companies, research institutions which need funding support under one of the four categories must apply to the STI Transform Fund by completing the online application form available at the IDB portal “Engaging and transforming communities”

        Grants are mainly offered to support scientists and innovators to develop their innovative ideas into development solutions as well as to support capacity building efforts of entities, such as universities, registered non-governmental organizations, registered private or public companies, SMEs and government organizations, in strengthening the STI ecosystem of MCs.

Deadline: 1 June 2020 For more information, visit https://www.isdb-engage.org/en/challenge/call-for-innovation-via-transform-fund-2020