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Lacuna Fund Invites Proposals to Develop Inclusive Health and Language ML Datasets

27 June 2024

Today, Lacuna Fund is pleased to announce two new calls for proposals to develop open and accessible machine learning (ML) datasets. We welcome proposal submissions in either of the following domains: Health (Antimicrobial Resistance) and Language (Natural Language Processing). 

Visit the Lacuna Fund Apply page (view in French, Portuguese, and Spanish) to see specific deadlines and resources for each RFP, learn more about potential mentorship opportunities, and how to submit your proposal. We encourage you to share this opportunity widely with your networks!  

Lacuna Fund is accepting proposal submissions via our application portals in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish. 

  • For applicants submitting in English, French, or Spanish: Please use the application portal and toggle to your language of choice via the dropdown tab. 
  • For applicants submitting in Portuguese: Please submit your proposal using either the English, Spanish, or French application portals. We do not have a Portuguese portal available for applicants to use at this time, but applications in Portuguese are accepted and will be reviewed. 
  • All applicants: We only accept applications submitted in the portal. We do not accept applications via email. 

If you have any questions about your application, email us at 

We extend our thanks to our funders for making these new funding tracks possible:  


New in 2024 – Lacuna Fund Hubs 

In 2024, in line with our Guiding Principles of equity and participatory approach, and as part of our strategy to share leadership with institutions in the regions where datasets are created, we partnered with the African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS) and Centro Nacional de Inteligencia Artificial (CENIA) to serve as the first two Lacuna Fund Hubs 

In this capacity, ACTS and CENIA will manage regional and global grantmaking, disseminating requests for proposals and resulting datasets, facilitating Technical Advisory Panel review and selection, and providing technical assistance and capacity building to grantees. In 2024, ACTS will support the Health RFP (Antimicrobial Resistance) and CENIA will support the Language RFP (Natural Language Processing). 

ACTS and CENIA are committed to Lacuna Fund’s mission to provide resources to data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneurs to create, expand, or unlock training and evaluation datasets to solve urgent problems in their communities. They both have continental and global networks that will enable them to share calls for datasets widely and connect grantees and their datasets to potential data users. 

Why do we need Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) datasets? 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to global health, affecting the health and survival of people as well as social and economic development. There is a need for open and accessible machine learning datasets to understand and mitigate the impacts of AMR in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa, Latin America and South and Southeast Asia. Learn more and apply for the 2024 Antimicrobial Resistance RFP. 

Why do we need Natural Language Processing (NLP) datasets? 

The ability to communicate and be understood in one’s own language is fundamental to digital and societal inclusion. There is a need for openly accessible machine learning datasets to facilitate NLP technologies for low-resource languages and cultures in Africa and Latin America. Learn more and apply for the 2024 Natural Language Processing RFP 

ACTS Mentorship – Antimicrobial Resistance RFP

Lacuna Fund is pleased to partner with the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) to offer mentorship opportunities for applicants. ACTS mission Is to strengthen the capacity and policies of African countries and institutions to harness science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. The mentorship program aims to provide support to the applicants in submitting quality applications.

On a one-time basis for this Lacuna Fund call, ACTS will offer applicants from around the world a special opportunity to join the mentorship program where applicants and teams will be matched with a mentor.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for a mentorship session after they have a detailed outline or draft proposal and at least 4 weeks before the proposal due date, by 26th July 2024. We will do our best to identify a mentor for everyone who requests one, but we cannot guarantee that mentors will be available for all. Mentors will be assigned on a first come, first-served basis. All applicants are expected to read and abide by the ACTS code of ethics.

The link to apply for mentorship with ACTS will be available soon. Please check our “Apply” page (FR | ES | PT) for that update.

Mentorship & Matchmaking Opportunity with Masakhane 

Lacuna Fund is pleased to partner with Masakhane Research Foundation (MRF) to offer mentorship and matchmaking opportunities for NLP applicants. MRF is a grassroots organization whose mission is to strengthen and spur NLP research in African languages, for Africans, by Africans. MRF’s goal is for Africans to shape and own these technological advances towards human dignity, well-being and equity, through inclusive community building, open participatory research and multidisciplinarity. 

For this Lacuna Fund call for proposals, MRF will offer applicants from Africa and Latin America a special opportunity to join the MRF community and match those who are interested with a mentor who will review your draft proposal and discuss avenues for strengthening it. Interested parties may apply for a session with a mentor by filling out this Google Form with a brief description (250-words abstract) of the dataset proposal. Mentees can request different forms of assistance such as “discussing gaps in low-resource NLP,” “writing a research proposal,” and “preparing budgets.” Providing a detailed description will support matching applicants to mentors that are aligned in your interest area. Matching of mentors to mentees will be administered by our Partner Matchmaking and Mentorship Associates who will organize several workshops to bring together applicants who are working in related fields (e.g. linguists and NLP researchers) and coordinate and organize communication sessions between relevant groups.  Through this process, we will also provide match-making opportunities for applicants to collaborate with each other to form project teams and submit proposals together.   

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for a mentorship session at least 6 weeks before the proposal due date, by 15th July 2024. We will do our best to identify a mentor for everyone who requests one, but we cannot guarantee that mentors will be available for all. Mentors will be assigned on a first come, first-served basis. All applicants are expected to read and abide by the mentorship programme’s code of ethics and conduct. 

If you are able, please take a moment to help us spread the word and ensure quality responses to this RFP: 

1 Amplify this RFP announcement on Twitter and LinkedIn.
2 – Send this RFP to your networks check out a template email you can use here. 

Thank you for your dedication to making ML equitable and accessible to all. We are excited to continue #FillingDataGaps with the future calls for proposals!

All our best,
Lacuna Fund Secretariat