Send Your Open Source Ideas In for Unicef Innovation Funding
Unicef, the children's charity run by the UN, is steering more than $9 million into startups based on venture capital-style investing, and the funds will go toward numerous open source efforts. UNICEF is inviting technology start-ups developing solutions with the potential to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children to apply for funding, and there are already signs that open source blockchain efforts and other open development initiatives will benefit from the funding.
“The purpose of the UNICEF Innovation Fund is to invest in open source technologies for children,” said Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead. “We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children.”
To qualify for funding, projects must be open source and have a working prototype. They can involve developing a new technology, or expanding or improving an already existing one.
According to Unicef, the funding will focus on three areas:
Products for youth under 25 to address a range of needs including learning and youth participation;
• Real-time information for decision-making; and
• Infrastructure to increase access to services and information, including connectivity, power, finance, sensors and transport.
“These three areas are ripe for investment due to rapidly changing technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, wearables and sensors, artificial intelligence and renewable energy,” Fabian said.
Unicef notes that applications will be assessed according to a number of criteria including the strength of the team, the project’s relevance to children, and the ability to see potential future value in the open source intellectual property being created.
Submissions of Expressions of Interest must be received no later than 26 February 2016. Further information is available at www.unicefinnovationfund.org.