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Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)/IDRC COVID-19 Global South AI and Data Innovation initiative 2020

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The COVID-19 Global South AI and Data Innovation initiative is open for applications from research consortia and individual organizations.

About the Award

The COVID-19 Global South AI and Data Innovation Program supported by IDRC and Sida aims to support multi-disciplinary research to deepen our understanding of how to develop and scale responsible (inclusive, rights-based, ethical and sustainable), evidence-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science approaches that support response and recovery COVID-19 in Low and Middle Income countries (LMICs). Specifically, the program will aim to support research that is linked to government responses in the following areas: Forecasting transmissions and reducing spread through policy and public health interventions; Mobilizing AI and data science to understand and support gender-inclusive COVID action; Optimizing public health system responses for patient diagnosis, care and management; Building trust and combatting mis- and dis-information around COVID-19; Strengthening data systems and information sharing about COVID-19; Supporting transparent and responsible AI, data and digital rights governance around COVID-19 and pandemic responses.

Researchers analyze big data from mobile networks to gain insights on economic activity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data science are key tools to support public health responses to COVID-19. IDRC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) are providing up to CA$10 million to support AI and data research and innovations in the Global South to assist the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery.

Countries in the Global South must also address infrastructure, governance, and implementation challenges related to new technologies. This initiative will explore how to best use responsible and inclusive tools in the Global South while ensuring they maintain the highest regard for inclusion, sustainability, and human rights.

“Sida is pleased to collaborate with IDRC on this important initiative, which primarily targets researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to lead research teams applying AI tools and data science to support the COVID-19 response and recovery in LMIC settings,” says AnnaMaria Oltorp, head of Sida’s Research Cooperation Unit.

The program aims to support multidisciplinary research in six thematic areas:

  • Forecasting transmissions and reducing spread through policy and public health interventions;
  • Mobilizing AI and data science to understand and support gender-inclusive COVID-19 action;
  • Optimizing public health system responses for patient diagnosis, care, and management;
  • Building trust and combatting mis- and dis-information around COVID-19;
  • Strengthening data systems and information sharing about COVID-19; and
  • Supporting transparent and responsible AI, data, and digital rights governance around COVID-19 and pandemic responses.

Funding will support research that uses AI and data science to strengthen governments and public systems in responding to the current pandemic and to address future epidemics. It will also support policy research that ensures the use of AI and data is responsible (inclusive, rights-based, ethical, and sustainable) and well governed. The program will also support opportunities for Southern researchers to build capacities and collaborate with researchers globally.

Type: Research

Application deadline: June 28, 2020

Eligibility

Research consortia and individual organizations may apply, with preference in selection for those based in Low and Middle Income countries.

For the purposes of this call, research consortia are defined as multidisciplinary research collaborations and networks made up of multiple organizations. Preference will be given to research consortia that demonstrate an ability to work across different contexts and directly with governments. Please note that more than 50% of organizations in a consortium must be based in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Eligible applicants are legal entities, such as accredited universities, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, or government-funded research organizations. Primary applicants must be a financially stable entity that can receive funds in a timely manner without being subject to lengthy approvals or country clearance. Private sector organizations may apply, although commercial applications and innovations are not eligible for funding.
  • Consortia should identify a primary applicant institution that will receive and administer the funds because IDRC will not contract directly with additional organizations. The involvement and role(s) of consortia partners must be clearly articulated in the proposal.

Value of Award:

The program will support projects between CA $500K to CA$1.25 million for two years (2020–2022). The project funds will be disbursed and administered by IDRC on behalf of the partnership. The number of supported projects will depend on the number, quality, review, and ranking of eligible proposals as determined by the review process. The competitive selection will be undertaken through review from a panel of experts.

Duration of Award: 24 months

How to Apply and Timelines

  • All applications must be submitted by June 28 2020 at 11:59pm ETD through this website. Proposals received after the submission deadline will not be considered.
    • The research proposal questions are outlined in the system. You may open a session and complete tasks without being obliged to submit your application in the same session. Until you hit the final “Submit” button, you may always return to your application to edit or add content.
    • Read the call document for additional background, eligibility, terms and conditions, and more;
    • If applying as a consortium, the lead applicant can add collaborators to the site to assist in the drafting of the proposal;
    • To complete an online application, select ‘Apply’. In case of the proposals involving multiple organizations, the lead organization should submit a single application on behalf of those involved.
  • Acknowledgements of receipt will be sent to all applicants whose application was received before the closing date and time.
  • Applications can be submitted in either English or French. Spanish-language proposals will be considered in specific circumstances; please email us at covidresponse@idrc.ca if you would like to propose this.
  • For full details and instructions on how to apply to the call, please refer to the call for proposals document.

Important Notice: It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.

Visit Award Webpage for Details

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