Lacuna Fund provides data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneurs with the resources they need to either produce new labeled datasets to address an underserved population or problem, augment existing datasets to be more representative, or update old datasets to be more sustainable. All datasets produced will be locally developed and owned, and they will be openly accessible to the international community while adhering to best practices regarding ethics and privacy.
You can review a copy of RFP questions, including the prompt for the narrative portion of the proposal, under each RFP. When an RFP is open, proposals are accepted through the application portal.
Lacuna Fund aims to make its funding accessible to as many organizations as possible in the AI for social good space and cultivate capacity and emerging organizations in the field.
To be eligible for funding, organizations must:
- Be either a non-profit entity, research institution, for-profit social enterprise, or a team of such organizations. Individuals must apply through an institutional sponsor. Partnerships are welcome but only the lead applicant will receive funds.
- Have a mission supporting societal good, broadly defined.
- Have all necessary national or other approvals to conduct proposed research. The approval process may be conducted in parallel with grant application, if necessary. Approval costs, if any, are the responsibility of the applicant.
- Have the technical capacity to conduct dataset labeling, creation, expansion, and/or maintenance.
- Be sufficiently stable to ensure the sustainability of the dataset or have arrangements with an organization of sufficient stability.
Lacuna Fund uses an open solicitation process, conducting requests for proposals (RFPs) for projects aligned with Fund goals in a particular domain on a fixed timeframe. In other words, we are not accepting proposals for every domain at all times, but when we are, solicitations are open to any applicant who meets the eligibility criteria.
Initial screen: RFPs are generally open for 45 days or more. Proposals are submitted through an online portal. After the conclusion of an RFP, the Secretariat and partners perform an initial screen for qualifications and eligibility criteria.
Panel review: Following the initial screen, a Technical Advisory Panel of domain experts review proposals based on selection criteria, then meet to make selections. Technical Advisory Panel members who review proposals for an RFP are not eligible to submit or collaborate on proposals for that call.
Notification and revisions: After the Technical Advisory Panel meets, the Secretariat will finalize selections or communicate any needed revisions to potential recipients. All communication and revisions will be finalized through the applicant portal.
Post-award confirmation: Upon notification of selection, recipients will be prompted to submit due diligence and financial information through the applicant portal.
Potential grantees should not begin work until a contract has been signed. More details on expectations and support after a grantee begins work are available through the portal for current grantees.
Open Funding Opportunities
If an open funding opportunity below does not match your substantive focus, please join our mailing list at the bottom of this page to receive updates as new EOIs/RFPs are released.
6 August 2021 – 3 September 2021
Expressions of Interest: Labeled Agricultural Datasets for Machine Learning Solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa
This EOI is now closed.
Applications for open funding opportunities are only accepted through the applicant portal. The portal requires you to create an account to access and manage your application. More information on how to create an account and access the portal can be found on SurveyMonkey Apply’s website here.
Lacuna Fund seeks Expressions of Interest (EOI) from organizations interested in responding to a call for proposals to unlock, create, aggregate, and/or improve labeled datasets that will be essential to train and improve machine learning (ML) models needed for sustainable transformation of the agri-food systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
A full copy of the EOI solicitation, including more details on potential areas of funding, eligibility, and selection criteria, is here.
Applications are accepted through the application portal here.
- EOI Call Posted Publicly on Lacuna Fund Website: 6 August 2021
- Question and Answer Deadline: 16 August 2021
- Answers Posted: 23 August 2021
- Applications Due: 3 September 2021 (14:00hrs PT / 21:00hrs GMT / 23:59hrs EAT)
Question and Answer Period: All questions related to the EOI should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Agriculture 2021 Question” in the subject line. Questions submitted by 16 August will be de-identified and answered publicly by 23 August on the Lacuna Fund website in a document posted here.
(August 23, 2021) Please see the Q&A here.
The Steering Committee of Lacuna Fund: Our Voice on Data has identified the following areas as domains where a lack of labeled training data limits the potential of machine learning or presents the risk of bias or inequity.
Enabling new and more robust AI applications through remote sensing and other critical datasets.
Translation, speech recognition, and other datasets to enable the promise of digital communication for all.
Improving the robustness and availability of AI solutions in healthcare through datasets across the value chain.