USAID Addresses Global Energy Issues Through "Launch" Challenge

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 22, 2011
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NASA, the U.S. Department of State, and NIKE, Inc. have partnered on a unique initiative called LAUNCH. The LAUNCH: Energy Challenge, announced today, formally begins the third module of the LAUNCH program which is focused on sustainable energy challenges for the developed and developing worlds.

LAUNCH's mission is to search for, showcase and support innovators poised for potential large-scale impact on humanity's most pressing sustainability challenges. Previous LAUNCH modules in 2010 and 2011 focused on Water and Health. In this module, LAUNCH is searching for entrepreneurial efforts focused on the development of innovative products, services, and programs in the energy sector. This initiative seeks innovations that can benefit from collaborative engagement with influential government and business leaders who are convened to help accelerate the deployment and adoption of these innovations in both the developed and developing worlds.

LAUNCH: Energy will select entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world - who will be chosen based on their innovative approaches, products, and programs - to attend the LAUNCH: Energy Forum. During the two-and-a-half day event, the selected LAUNCH Innovators will present their innovative solutions to the 'LAUNCH Council' which includes leading figures from the business, international development, policy, engineering, science, communications and sustainability sectors. The Forum sessions are designed to provide targeted advice to innovators on their business and program challenges and to identify future opportunities.

“Access to sustainable sources of energy is one of the 21st century's greatest development challenges,” said Dr. Alex Dehgan, Science and Technology Adviser to the Administrator at USAID. “USAID is excited to continue to play a central role in LAUNCH. We believe in supporting leading-edge innovators in the energy sector, and we hope to give a boost to several who will make a big impact on our most pressing global energy challenges.”

LAUNCH: Energy seeks transformative innovations to improve access to energy, energy efficiency, and/or energy technologies, for both the developed and developing worlds. LAUNCH is seeking innovations in the following categories:

  • Energy Generation: Renewable energy sources and technologies;
  • Energy Harvesting and Storage: Methods and processes to collect and store energy;
  • Industrial Applications: Self-sufficient industrial facilities and/or hubs (such as energy management systems and self-powered wireless sensors);
  • Community Applications: Self-contained generation systems (for settings from individual homes to small communities, including next generation cookstoves for the developing world, MicroGrid solutions, and other solutions for the developing world);
  • Financing: New business models or financial strategies that promote creation of or access to innovative systems or technology;
  • Education to inform, align and encourage best energy practices by consumers, utilities, and policy makers;
  • Deployment: Programs, tools and networks to enable adoption and use.

Prospective LAUNCH Innovators can learn more about the LAUNCH: Energy Challenge (including the application process, format, and evaluation criteria information) and can submit an application via the LAUNCH website at Innovators working in the for-profit, not-for-profit, and social enterprise sectors are all eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted until September 9, 2011 when the challenge will close.

Finalists will be announced in early October. Innovators who are selected will be invited to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida November 10-13, 2011 where the LAUNCH: Energy Forum will take place.

NineSigma and Inno-360 are supporting LAUNCH as Resource Partner organizations and as such play an integral role in the global search for these transformative innovations.

To learn more about LAUNCH, visit:

For more information about USAID and its programs around the world, please visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

For more information about the U.S. Department of State, visit

For more information about NIKE, visit

Last updated: June 21, 2017

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