The Lacuna Fund for Data Scientists, Researchers, and Social Entrepreneurs
While there are thousands upon thousands of brilliant minds within the different sciences globally, one problem that’s hindering their academic and professional development is a lack of funding. The Lacuna Fund aims to address that.

The Lacuna Fund for data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneurs shall lay the foundation for low and middle-class people in scientific research and business to reach greater heights.

It aspires to provide and expand labeled data sets that could catalyze more equitable and inclusive machine learning, initially in the domains of agriculture, language, and health.

Application deadline: December 1, 2021

Benefits of the Lacuna Fund

Lacuna Fund helps data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneurs create new labeled datasets to address an underserved community or problem, enrich existing datasets to make them more representative, or update old datasets to make them more sustainable.

All datasets created will be developed and held locally, and they will be readily accessible to the international community while following ethical and privacy best practices.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be granted the Lacuna Fund, all aspiring data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneur’s organizations must first meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • 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. Meanwhile, partnerships are also accepted, but only the lead applicant is eligible to receive the funds.
  • Have a mission supporting societal good.
  • 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 labelling, creation, expansion, and/or maintenance.
  • Be sufficiently stable to ensure the sustainability of the dataset or have arrangements with an organization of sufficient stability.

Selection Process

The Lacuna Fund uses an open solicitation process, which means that they conduct requests for proposals (RFPs) for projects aligned with fund goals in a particular domain on a fixed timeframe.

Consequently, the organization is not accepting proposals for every domain at all times, but when they are, solicitations are open to any applicant who meets the eligibility criteria.

The stages of screening are as follows:

INITIAL SCREEN: RFPs are 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 qualification and eligibility criteria.

PANEL INTERVIEW: Following the initial screen, a technical advisory panel of domain experts shall review the proposals based on selection criteria, then meet to make selections. The 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.

Please note that potential grantees should not begin to 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.

How to Apply

The opportunity requires an Expression of Interest (EOI) from organizations and individuals interested in applying. All questions related to the EOI should be submitted to [email protected] with “Language RFP 2021 Question” in the subject line.

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