Scale-up Innovation Competition

Overview

IGI hosts scale-up innovation competitions that fund technical assistance to governments to adapt, pilot, and scale evidence-informed innovations that have been previously evaluated with a randomized evaluation(s) and found to improve the lives of people living in poverty. J-PAL affiliated and IGI invited researchers can submit applications in collaboration with government partners, J-PAL regional offices, and other collaborators. Innovations can be programs or changes to existing programs, processes, or delivery systems. Technical assistance can include support to governments to collect data about the nature and extent of a problem; determine whether evidence about potential solutions is relevant to their context and systems; adapt, pilot, and monitor evidence-informed programs; evaluate scalable versions of these programs when the government commits to using the results to inform their scale-up decisions; and improve government monitoring and evaluation systems for scaled-up programs, among other forms of scale-up support.

IGI will initially prioritize three sectors where there are large bodies of evidence about designing effective programs and high government demand for collaboration: education, health, and social assistance. We also accept proposals from other sectors.

IGI will also prioritize partnerships that explore one or more cross-cutting themes that we believe are important for effectively implementing programs at scale and drawing general lessons for others working to scale up evidence-informed social programs with governments: 

  • Technology- and data-enabled program delivery and monitoring: Phones, tablets, digital transfers, and other technologies have the potential to improve and reduce the costs of program delivery and monitoring.
  • Implementation science: Piloting and pressure-testing different implementation models before selecting one for scale-up can help identify models that are both feasible to implement well and lead to sufficient take-up and use among program participants.
  • Cost analysis: The costs of various program options are critical inputs for policy decisions, so collecting cost data early and systematically is critical.

IGI has a strong preference to fund partnerships in low- and middle-income countries.

Proposal Timeline

IGI does not currently have an open scale-up innovation competition; the next competition is expected to launch in mid- to late 2021. IGI accepts off-cycle proposals on an ad-hoc basis.

Please email the IGI team at [email protected] with any questions.

Eligibility

All J-PAL affiliated researchers, IGI invited researchers, and J-PAL offices are eligible to apply in collaboration with their government partners. All applicants are required to have a J-PAL affiliated or IGI invited researcher involved in the project to apply. All proposals may include collaborators outside of this network including other researchers and NGO partners. IGI invited researchers are eligible to apply for projects to adapt, pilot, and/or scale findings from evaluations in the J-PAL network, which includes any randomized evaluation funded by a J-PAL initiative, implemented by a J-PAL office, and/or that had a J-PAL affiliated researcher as a co-PI.

Only projects with a specific government partner(s) will be considered. IGI has a strong preference to fund projects in low- and middle-income countries. For all IGI projects, the implementing partner has to be a government body or a non-governmental partner delivering services through government infrastructure (e.g. government schools, clinics, etc.) with the government actively involved in the partnership. Government partners can be national, state, regional, provincial, city, etc., including individual ministries or agencies. Governments must be the main recipients of technical assistance, but governments cannot be the receiving institutions of funds. Receiving institutions can include J-PAL offices, IPA offices, and other non-governmental partners working with J-PAL affiliated and IGI invited researchers.

Evidence requirements for scaling projects: Scaling projects must be based on evidence from one or more randomized evaluations, at least one of which should have been conducted by a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher and/or funded by a J-PAL initiative.

The RCT results must be available in writing in a paper (published or working paper) or other write-up. For more information about this requirement, please see p. # of the IGI RFP Overview.

If you are uncertain about whether your team is eligible to apply for a scale-up project, please email [email protected]

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