DIL Innovate Application

Spring 2014 – Information and Communication Technology


On behalf of the Development Impact Lab (DIL), the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL) at UC San Diego invites affiliated researchers to apply for grants supporting the design and rigorous testing of innovative solutions for international development.

Applications should demonstrate an innovative use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to address an important development problem.  The novel technology may be an intervention (meaning that ICT is being used to provide a new service), an observation tool (meaning that outcomes are being captured using ICT), or both.  Researchers do NOT have to come from computer science or electrical engineering departments. Incorporation of ICT within diverse fields of development is encouraged, including but not limited to health, energy, agriculture, environment and finance.

Applications are welcomed under two windows:

1.  Seed Applications.

These should be no more than $50,000, and are intended to provide ‘proof of concept’ for a larger project.  For example, seed grants may be used to prototype and field-test a novel technology, to perform a feasibility or market study for a new product, to pilot an evaluation study, or to conduct an entire evaluation in cases where institutional data are already available.

2.  Full Project Applications.

These may be up to $200,000, and should provide evidence demonstrating the viability of the technology or approach as well as a full research strategy for the study.  For example, full project applications may cover the costs of a larger pilot as a product moves to scale, or partial funding for a full evaluation project can be submitted.

Refer to the full Request for Applications for more information. Please contact pdel-dil-grants@ucsd.edu if you have any questions.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM US Pacific Time.

Click here to apply to DIL Innovate – Spring 2014


Applicants must have Principal Investigator (PI) status at a DIL-affiliated center or institute. Eligible PIs include those appointed at the University of California, Berkeley; the Blum Center for Developing Economies (with sites across the University of California); the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA); Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) and the Mezuri Group; Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL) at the University of California, San Diego; the LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies (LIGTT); Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) at IIT Bombay; Global Change Programme at Jadavpur University; and select Colleges at Makerere University. Select non-affiliated researchers who have been notified of their eligibility may also submit applications. Note that funds may be used to support faculty-mentored students or collaborators beyond the immediate DIL network.

Geographical Focus

Projects must focus on issues relevant to one or more eligible developing country. Below is a list of eligible countries where DIL or its partner organizations have previously supported projects. Other focus regions that are not included on this list may be allowable, but please contact dil-grants@berkeley.edu as soon as possible to confirm eligibility. You must secure approval before submitting an application before submitting an application for an unlisted country.**

Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

**Update March 25, 2014: Please note it is too late to obtain approval information for currently unlisted countries by the application deadline on March 31, 2014. DIL will continue to accept requests for approval of additional countries until the application deadline – however, DIL is unable to verify the outcome of the request before the March 31 deadline and there is no guarantee that country approval will be granted. If you still wish to apply with a project in a currently unlisted country, you must both request country approval from dil-grants@berkeley.edu and submit a completed proposal by the March 31 deadline. Your proposal for an unlisted country will then be pending approval and only be considered eligible for review if DIL is able to process the necessary country approval by April 7, 2014.  Please note, countries with permanent USAID mission presence are more likely to be approved.  Incoming requests for country eligibility will also be processed for inclusion in our planned Fall 2014 DIL Innovate competition.

Questions? Read through the FAQs below or email pdel-dil-grants@ucsd.edu for additional help.

Application Instructions

Please refer to the full Request for Applications for detailed application instructions.

All applications should be submitted by 11:59 PM U.S. Pacific Time on March 31, 2014 through PDEL’s online submission website. Applications will not be accepted by email. Note there are separate submission pages for Full Project Applications and for Seed Applications. Take care to apply under the correct window for your project. Using the online submission system, you can save your application as a draft for 21 days, but be sure to hit ‘Submit’ before the deadline. Successfully submitted applications will receive an immediate email acknowledging receipt.

Do NOT submit your application to the UC San Diego or UC Berkeley Sponsored Projects Office (SPO).

Downloadable Application and Resources


Eligibility Questions

What is a PI? Do I have to be directly affiliated with DIL?

A PI is a principal investigator; ie researchers, including faculty, who are allowed to receive and manage grants. This includes nearly all faculty at UC Berkeley. You do not have to be directly affiliated specifically with DIL. All principal investigators at UC Berkeley are eligible, regardless of department, and at the DIL-connected centers listed in the RFA are eligible.

Will submitting an application for an Explore grant affect my consideration for a pilot grant?

No it will not. You can apply for both.

Can I submit multiple applications for the grant competition?

Yes. This does not affect your prospects adversely.

I have a project in country X that is not listed in the RFA as one of the eligible countries. Can this country be approved?

We must ask USAID for their pre-approval of countries not listed in the RFA. This process can take a few weeks so we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

Have any countries been approved since the RFA was released on February 1st?

Yes, the following countries have been approved and added to the original list of eligible developing countries: Honduras, Malawi, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe.


Submission Questions

I am a UC Berkeley researcher. Since PDEL at UC San Diego is administering this competition for DIL, do I submit my application directly or does it have to go through the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO)?

Since this is an internal grant competition, applications do not have to go through the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO), nor should they be submitted to UCSD’s SPO. We encourage you to submit your application directly through the PDEL submission site: https://pdel.submittable.com/submit

I’m planning a collaborative project. The template has space for only one PI. Should I list two, or do we need to choose one main PI?

You need to choose one main PI. The other PI can be listed as a co-investigator on the cover sheet and in the narrative.

Do the references/bibliography count toward the page limit for the research narrative, or can they be included as a separate document?

All references and bibliography related to the narrative should be within the total page limit: 6 pages for full project applications, 3 pages for seed applications. Please economize without sacrificing the essentials.

Can I submit the same application to both the Seed Application and Full Project Application windows?

No. Each application should be for one grant only.

Can we send a copy of our application for comments?

For reasons of confidentiality, unfortunately, we cannot review any applications ahead of final submission.


Budget Questions

What Indirect Cost Rate (IDC) should I use?

You should use the IDC rate specified by your grant administrator for US government grants. Most universities have established a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement that stipulates the indirect rate for all US government research awards. Note that this may not apply for international universities.

We are submitting two budgets – one for our university and one for our international partner which is a foreign university. Will their overhead rate apply or should we use our university's rate?

For the foreign university’s budget, use their overhead rate.

For our application, we need to hire a study coordinator and purchase cell phones and related supplies in XYZ country. Ordinarily we do this via a subaward with an entity in XYZ country. Should we submit two separate budgets then, one for our institution and one for a foreign entity?

You should submit two separate budgets with the application, one for your institution as the Lead Institution and one for the foreign entity as the Partner Institution. A separate award will be issued directly from UC Berkeley to the second institution. DIL does not permit Lead Institutions to issue their own sub-awards. For the partner institution, you must provide a contact person, statement of work, timeline for deliverables, detailed budget, and budget justification on the “Partner Budget” tab.

Can the budget justification be brief or does it need to contain detail on items like travel (i.e. calculations for daily mileage, individual meal costs and each ground transportation cost)?

The justification for travel does not need to be as detailed as mileage and meal costs. Simply state the destination, number of days traveled, and total amount requested.

Using the budget template, the Instruction worksheet indicates NO SUMMER Salary for PIs is allowed. Our campus does not have Summer Salaries. However, on the LEAD BUDGET template, on line A7, it indicates “*PI SALARIES ARE NOT ALLOWED”. Can you clarify whether PI salaries are allowed?

Due to limited funds, no PI salaries are allowed on DIL Innovate grants, whether it be summer salary or paid on a calendar month basis.