Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is USAID’s open innovation program that funds breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest development challenges. By funding innovation and focusing on rigorous evidence, DIV impacts millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost.
DIV provides grant funding based on a tiered-evidence approach that maximizes impact per dollar spent. DIV’s model allows for risk at early stages and mitigates risk at later stages, ensuring that funding is targeted to the most impactful and cost-effective innovations.
DIV believes that the best ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. DIV supports innovators and researchers around the world to test new ideas, take strategic risks, build evidence of what works, and advance the best solutions. DIV looks for solutions that demonstrate rigorous evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and a viable pathway to scale and sustainability.
USAID’s Development Innovation Venture (DIV) supports the piloting and rigorous testing of innovative approaches to solving international development problems and supports transitioning innovations with evidence of impact and cost effectiveness to scale. It aims is to create a portfolio of innovations that improves lives for millions of the poor around the world, especially individuals in poverty or extreme poverty, and other vulnerable groups.
Even if you are a small NGO based in a developing country or a huge organization leading several projects across different parts of the world, you are eligible to apply and win grants under DIV. DIV accepts proposals for projects which offer innovative solutions to problems related to development. As this opportunity seeks to address different kinds of development challenges, you can submit proposals for any sector, whether it is livelihood development, agriculture, climate change, environment, democracy, human rights, peace and conflict etc.
DIV Core Principles
There are three fundamental objectives that drive DIV’s search for innovative and impactful solutions to problems in the developing world:
Evidence: DIV is designed to help find, test, and transition to scale the most effective innovations, and encourages the use of rigorous testing methods (e.g. market test, measuring causal impacts) as appropriate given the stage of the proposal and the scale path. Evidence can encompass ultimate impacts (e.g., infant mortality), or improvements in implementation outcomes (e.g. take-up) for those solutions that have been causally linked to ultimate impacts in the past.
Cost Effectiveness: DIV seeks innovations that deliver more development impacts per dollar than other ways of achieving the same development goals (e.g. increased literacy per dollar compared to existing practices).
Pathways to Scale: The ultimate goal of DIV is to support solutions to scale sustainably to reach millions of people in the developing world within a decade. DIV recognizes that innovations can take a variety of scale paths but expects that ultimately they will grow without continued DIV support.
DIV offers the following funding:
Stage 1 Grants: Pilot (Up to $200,000)
Stage 2 Grants: Test and Position for Scale (Up to $1,500,000)
Stage 3 Grants: Transition to Scale (Up to $15,000,000)
Evidence Generation Grants (Up to $1,500,000)
Verify that you are eligible through our Self-Screening Questionnaire.
Determine whether your project is a good candidate for DIV funding by reviewing our Annual Program Statement and browsing current and past grantees in DIV’s portfolio.
Understand the differences between the stages of DIV funding, and determine which is most appropriate for your project.
Keep in mind that our three core principles are: (a) rigorous evidence of impact, (b) cost-effectiveness, and (c) a viable pathway to scale and sustainability via the market or public sector. DIV assesses each applicant through the lens of these principles, commensurate to the stage or type of funding sought.
Step 1: Prepare your application
Draft your application in MS Word using our sample application form. This document contains sample applications for all Stages and for Evidence grants.
Step 2: Submit through our online application portal
You will need to create an account on the DIV application portal so that you may work on the application over time and check the status of your application. Applications submitted via any method other than the online application portal will not be reviewed. It is simple to paste your answers in the portal from the draft you created in Step 1.
All applications received through the DIV application portal are reviewed by the DIV team. After initial review, applications are either moved into the due diligence stage (Step 3) or declined. Applicants usually receive feedback within 2 to 3 months after submitting an application.
- The portal is best accessed through Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari.
- Your application will save automatically and continuously as you work on the application.
- The application is plain text only.
- Once you submit your application, you will not be able to edit the application.
- Applications are limited to one per project.
Step 3: After the initial review – Due Diligence
Applicants who pass the initial review move onto the due diligence stage. During this stage, applicants have the opportunity to provide more information on their proposal so the DIV team can better understand the proposed solution. The DIV team will conduct additional interviews, request supplementary materials, contact references or partners, engage other USAID or external experts, and gather any other information necessary to fully evaluate the application.
The due diligence process usually takes 2 to 5 months, depending on a variety of factors, such as the proposal’s technical complexity.
Step 4: After Due Diligence – Negotiation and Finalization
After collecting sufficient information, the DIV team will convene a Decision Panel. If the Panel makes a funding recommendation, the applicant will receive an official “Notice of Intent to Award.” Once recommended for funding, applicants start the process of negotiating milestones and finalizing the award with USAID.
In addition to submitting various materials and completing documents required by the Agency, an important part of this process is negotiating the project milestones that will structure the award payments. DIV provides funding only when specific results and milestones are achieved.
The process to negotiate milestones and finalize the award can take 2 to 3 months.
Step 5: Receive DIV Funding
If you’ve been selected for DIV funding, subject to funding availability and satisfaction of U.S. government procurement requirements, USAID will award the grant.
From the date you submit an application to the date of award finalization, the process usually takes between 6 to 12 months.
DIV accepts applications on a rolling basis. Our window is always open, so you can submit your application at any time.
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