Big Data for Development Innovation Program

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI), in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is launching the Big Data for Development (BD4D) Innovation Program. Applications are open until Wednesday, 12th June (11 PM EAT).

Overview

The BD4D Innovation Program (BD4D-IP) aims to support emerging young African data scientists to generate innovative solutions that leverage new and non-traditional sources of data to address development challenges.  The BD4D-IP aims to:

  1. Build knowledge and skills in Design Thinking and Big Data Analytics and Techniques
  2. Provide an opportunity to apply big data tools and techniques to solve development challenges
  3. Provide a platform to network and collaborate for emerging young African data scientists

Young African data scientists will use big data tools and techniques to solve one of the following challenges:

  1. Youth Employment
  2. Financial Inclusion
  3. Food Security

By the end of the program, participants will have the opportunity to apply to pitch their solutions at the BD4D Innovation Challenge (BD4D-IC) and win seed funding grants of up to USD 10,000.

The Challenges

In order to kick off the BD4D-IP, the following three challenges have been selected for the pilot phase. In future editions, there will be additional challenges in different development areas.

Benefits

  • Skills and knowledge in Design Thinking and Big Data Analytics and Techniques
  • Certificate of completion for participants attending all training sessions
  • Opportunity to apply to pitch at the Final Challenge for seed funding grants of up to USD 10,000 and mentorship support
  • Platform to collaborate with other young African data scientists based in Rwanda

How is the BD4D-IP structured?

  • Training Sessions: 10 training sessions on Design Thinking and Big Data for Development to be delivered over the course of one and a half months. The sessions will last 2 – 3 hours and will be delivered weekly.
  • Technical Course: 2 weeks’ technical course on Big Data Analytics and Techniques delivered by a Data Science expert from the World Bank Group.
  • Individual Work: Besides attending the sessions, participants are encouraged to dedicate at least 2 hours per week to further work on their project solutions.
  • Final Challenge: Participants who take part in the training will have the opportunity to submit their solutions to pitch at the Final Challenge.

 What are the BD4D-IP Timelines?

  • 29 May: Applications open
  • 12 June: Applications close
  • 14 June: Accepted applicants will be notified
  • 17 June: Training sessions start
  • 29 July: Deadline to apply to pitch at the Final Challenge
  • 2 August: Training sessions end
  • 9 August: Final Challenge (for shortlisted solutions)

How to apply

To submit your application, click here.

Applications are open until Wednesday, 12th June @ 11 PM (EAT).

Eligibility

The applications are open to young African data scientists and engineers based in Rwanda who are interested in using big data tools and techniques to solve development challenges. Applicants should be interested in learning how to become creative problem solvers and be committed to generating innovative data solutions to help advance development in their country and in the region.

  • Applicants must apply in teams of minimum 2 and maximum 3 people. Teams are encouraged to combine skills in data science and data engineering.
  • Applicants must choose one challenge they wish to solve. They can apply to the program with or without an existing solution idea (they may generate their solution idea as they go through the program).

All applicants must be able to attend all training sessions and dedicate time additionally to continue developing their solution ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions