Apply Now: $1 Million Grant Funding for Agricultural Disease Surveillance Data

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Farmers in low-income countries struggle to protect their crops from pests and disease like the Fall Armyworm. They are unprepared and ill-equipped to respond effectively due to:

  • Inconsistent access to crop protection products.
  • Inadequate knowledge of best-practice control strategies.
  • Insufficient awareness of pest and disease outbreaks.

Infestations can destroy crop yields completely, devastating low-income farming families who depend upon the harvest for their food and livelihoods.
In addition, few data exist on the true burden of crop pests and diseases for low-income countries, yet big data, computer algorithms, and mobile phones present an opportunity for a radical change in crop pest and disease surveillance for low-income countries.
Gates Foundation Grant Funding
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is seeking innovative tools and technologies for crop pests and disease surveillance over large geographic regions in low-income countries.

  • Ideas with increased coverage of geographic area will be prioritized over ideas that increase diagnostic accuracy.
  • Ideas that are applicable or adaptable to multiple crops and diseases/pests will be prioritized over ideas that are specific to only one crop or pathogen

Apply now for Phase 1 awards of $100,000 and Phase 2 awards of $1,000,000 USD with farmer-facing applications that integrate into country-level extension services and function without requiring a smartphone or reliable Internet connectivity. The application deadline is November 14, 2018.
Gates Foundation Funding Goals
To be considered, proposals must closely align with the goals of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development team to improve the well-being of millions of families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, allowing them to live more productive and rewarding lives.
Make sure your donor funding application can:

  • Offer an innovative and transformative solution for surveillance and early detection of crop pests and diseases;
  • Offer potential for dramatic cost reductions or increases in efficiency or precision in data collection compared to current strategies;
  • Be amenable to integration into a national or regional pest and disease surveillance and response system for crop plants;
  • Have potential applicability to at least two of the following crops: maize, wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, beans, cowpeas, chickpeas, and groundnuts;
  • Convey a clear potential for achieving data collection at broad geographic scale.

Potential Project Funding Ideas
Here are a few examples of the many possible ideas you could propose to the gates Foundation for grant funding. These ideas should be used to inspire your ideas – they are not prescriptive:

  • Multidisciplinary approaches that leverage emerging research in data science, engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, telecommunications and other relevant fields;
  • Phone-based technologies (Please note: proposals using image analysis strategies must clearly show novel improvement over existing technologies either in integration of diverse data or algorithmic approaches, must address more than one crop and/or disease, and must clearly state the data requirements and achieved or target accuracy);
  • Novel sensor-based strategies affordable to low-income country users;
  • Approaches that leverage “passive” big data sources (remote sensing, crowd-sourced data, online content, social media, call center records, and other non-traditional data sources) and machine learning/artificial intelligence.

What are you waiting for? Apply today!
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