- What We Do
- Agriculture and Food Security
- Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
- Economic Growth and Trade
- Ending Extreme Poverty
- Environment and Global Climate Change
- Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
- Global Health
- Water and Sanitation
- Working in Crises and Conflict
- U.S. Global Development Lab
- Cornerstone Partners
- Partner With The Lab
- Lab Vacancy Announcements
- Development Innovation Ventures
- Data & Analytics for Development
- Digital Development
- Global Development Alliances
- Grand Challenges for Development
- Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN)
- International Research & Science Programs
- Leveraging Universities
- Makers For Development
- Pioneers Prize
- Research and Innovation Fellowships
- Science at USAID
The DIV model is designed to find breakthrough solutions, minimize risk and maximize impact through stage financing, rigorously test impacts and cost effectiveness, and scale proven solutions through the public or private sectors. Through this model DIV seeks to help understand and advance innovations that work while avoiding long term investments in those that don’t.
DIV runs a year-round competition for bold development ideas and recognizes that breakthroughs can come from anywhere—a lab in a university, a local organization who has deep contextual knowledge, or a passionate entrepreneur. Nearly any organization in the world is eligible to apply, and their proposals can be for any sector and any country in which USAID operates. Selection of winning applications is based on:
- Cost Effectiveness - DIV seeks applications that have the potential to deliver greater development impacts per dollar than standard practice.
- Rigorous Testing - The DIV model emphasizes testing potential solutions and rigorously evaluating impact to identify what works and what does not, and to help scale only those solutions proven to produce development outcomes.
- Pathways to Scale - Innovations are expected to eventually scale up through the private sector, the public sector, or in some cases a combination of the two, in order to reach sustainability without DIV support. Public sector scaling plans demonstrate that grantees are likely to compel host country governments, multilateral donors or other public sector players to scale the innovation. Grantees who expect to scale through the private sector will plan to achieve commercial viability themselves, or convincingly demonstrate that other businesses will scale their innovation, or a combination of both.
Drawing inspiration from product development enterprises, DIV uses a three-tiered staged finance model to maximize cost-effectiveness and minimize the risk of testing new ideas. Applicants can apply at any stage (staging is based on the content of the project, not the level of funding needed).
Stage 1: Proof of Concept/Initial Testing
Stage 1 grants support the introduction of a solution to target customers/beneficiaries in a developing country context to gain an early, real-world assessment of the solution. This includes testing for technical, organization, distribution, and financial viability. Key activities could include assessing user demand, willingness to pay, and correct usage of products and services, as well as documenting social outcomes and real world costs to implement the solution. Stage 1 funding levels range from $25,000 to $150,000 per project. Stage 1 projects can propose activities for up to two years.
Stage 2: Testing and Positioning for Scale
Stage 2 grants support testing for social impact, improved outcomes and/or market viability, as well as operational refinement to build paths to sustainability and scale. Stage 2 applicants should have already met all the requirements of a Stage 1 project described above.. Stage 2 projects range from $150,000 to $1,500,000. Stage 2 projects can propose activities for up to three years.
Stage 3: Transitioning Proven Solutions to Scale
Stage 3 supports transitioning proven approaches to scale. This could include adaptation to new contexts and geographies. Operational challenges for scaling should be identified and addressed, allowing refinement and iteration along defined pathways to scale. Stage 3 funding and support provide a runway for applicants to grow, while engaging additional partners who will help scale the project beyond DIV support, but for whom more evidence of success and track record are needed. Stage 3 applicants must explain how they will use DIV funds in a catalytic fashion so that they can raise needed resources from sources other than DIV. Stage 3 projects are broken into two phases: Category A awards range from $1.5M to $6M, and Category B awards range from $6M - $15M. Stage 3 projects can propose activities for up to five years.
Rigorous Testing of Impact and Cost Effectiveness
Pathways to Scale
Last updated: April 28, 2014