The general FAQ about the Intelligent Forecasting Competition can be found below.
Why is USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health running the Intelligent Forecasting Competition?
The USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) supports voluntary family planning and reproductive health programs in nearly 40 countries. A key component in this work is to support Ministries of Health and service delivery partners to better predict, procure, allocate, transport, and distribute contraceptives. Greater access to contraceptives enables couples and individuals to determine whether, when, and how often to have children.
In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) around the world, health systems are often unable to accurately predict the quantity of contraceptives necessary for each health service delivery site, in part due to insufficient data, limited staff capacity, and inadequate systems. When too few supplies are ordered, service delivery sites may run out, limiting access to contraceptives and family planning. When too much product is ordered, it leads to unused contraceptives that are wasted if they are left to expire. Accurate forecasting of contraceptive consumption can save lives, money, and time by ensuring health service delivery sites have what they need when they need it and by reducing waste in the supply chain.
What are the two overlapping phases of this competition?
First, there is a Forecasting Prize Competition to develop an intelligent forecasting model—using the data we provide and methods such as artificial intelligence (AI)—to predict the consumption of contraceptives over three months. Second, there is a Field Implementation Grant to customize and test a high-performing intelligent forecasting model in Côte d’Ivoire.
What are the incentives for entering this competition?
For the Forecasting Prize phase of the competition, we will award 20,000 USD for the best performing model and 5,000 USD for the second-best performing model. For the Field Implementation Grant, we will award approximately 100,000 to 200,000 USD for the most compelling Field Implementation Grant concept note. We will also cover travel expenses for up to two individuals to support the Field Implementation Grant negotiations or kick-off.
What do you mean by intelligent forecasting?
When we refer to intelligent forecasting, we mean the use of empirically based modeling methods that include but not limited to statistical methods, complex adaptive models, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to power decision making and enhance prediction accuracy over time.
Why was Côte d’Ivoire chosen for this competition?
Côte d’Ivoire is a low- to middle-income country located in West Africa that is home to approximately 27.4 million people. The government of Côte d’Ivoire has committed to make contraceptives available to the entire population, and since 2017, the national government has increased resource allocation to the purchase of contraceptives by 25 percent. Public health facilities are an important source of family planning services in Côte d’Ivoire, accounting for 61 percent of the supply of contraceptives nationally. Contraceptives are available at all levels of health care, this includes community-level distribution.
In Côte d’Ivoire, USAID is committed to increasing the utilization of quality health services, including the contraceptive prevalence rate. To this end, USAID provides expert technical assistance to strengthen health supply chains, while collaborating with multi-level stakeholders to improve the efficiency of the public sector health system. USAID’s investments in Côte d’Ivoire have significantly improved the availability of medications and health care services to address HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal and child health, and access to contraceptives in the country. USAID/Côte d’Ivoire is committed to continue improving access to contraceptives by developing and implementing technologies that empower health facility staff at all levels to improve data quality and the use of data for decision-making.
Who can enter the competition?
Both individuals and organizations are eligible for the Forecasting Prize. USAID encourages entries from new competing parties that include women, LMIC residents, and innovators from outside the development sector. Organizations may include U.S. and non-U.S. based private sector, not-for-profit, faith-based, foundations, industrial, academic, civic groups, and regional organizations.
Can I get some advice for how to best enter the competition?
We will be hosting a webinar to provide guidance on our goals, the entry process, and the two phases of the competition, as well as to answer any questions you may have. The webinar will take place on August 12, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern USA Time and information on how to attend will be posted on this website.
If you have inquiries about the competition, you may submit them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 4, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern USA Time. After the webinar, we will publish all questions and answers about the competition on this page to ensure transparent communication.
Where do I access the data needed to build my model?
You may download the data and accompanying dataset descriptions for the competition only after you have registered or logged into the online entry platform. Both the primary dataset and the secondary datasets are linked in the third section of the entry form.
Do I need a local presence in Côte d’Ivoire?
Competitors for the Field Implementation Grant must be a registered entity somewhere in the world, and have, or be in the process of obtaining, the legal right to implement the project in Côte d’Ivoire. Competitors should demonstrate they are based in, have a presence in, or will have a partner(s) in Côte d’Ivoire.
Do I need to be registered to receive USAID funds? How do I register to receive USAID funds?
Yes, awardees for the Field Implementation Grant must be registered to receive USAID funds. If you do not already have one, you must obtain a DUNS number and be registered in the SAM system before an award can be made. A DUNS number and registration in the SAM system is NOT required for the Forecasting Prize.
Can I submit more than one entry?
You can submit up to three models within the Forecasting Prize Expression of Interest. You can submit only one model for the Field Implementation Grant.
When is the deadline for entries?
Entries must be submitted by 11 a.m. Eastern USA Time on September 8, 2020. Late entries will not be accepted.
What will happen after I enter the competition?
After USAID has evaluated predictions and tested the models, the Intelligent Forecasting Competition team will contact you if you are one of the winners of the Forecasting Prize. USAID will also invite shortlisted competitors from both the Forecasting Prize and Field Implementation Grant to participate in a virtual co-creation activity and develop concept notes.
Competitors have six weeks for simultaneous co-creation and concept note development before judging for the Field Implementation Grant concept notes begins. A panel of experts will interview competitors who submitted the shortlisted concept notes, and every effort will be made to schedule interviews at a time that is reasonable for both the competitor and USAID staff.
Who owns the intellectual property included in the submitted entry?
While competitors entering the prize will retain ownership of their intellectual property, they grant USAID a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual license for government use, specifically for additional USAID learning and applied research. Upon selection as an apparent awardee, USAID and the field grant awardees may further negotiate additional intellectual property exchanges and protections as part of the grant award process.
Organizations must ensure that any submissions under this competition are free of any third party proprietary data rights that would impact the license granted to USAID herein.
Can I remove my entry once I have submitted it?
Yes. If you want your entry to be removed after you have submitted it, you can send an email to email@example.com and request for it to be removed.
Who will be judging entries for this competition?
For the Forecasting Prize, USAID will evaluate the submitted models and Expressions of Interest. For the Field Implementation Grant, a panel of expert judges will evaluate and shortlist concept notes.
How do I participate in the co-creation activity?
Participation is by invitation only. USAID will invite selected, shortlisted competitors from both the Forecasting Prize and Field Implementation Grant to participate in a virtual co-creation activity and develop concept notes. To participate in the co-creation activity, competitors must be willing to collaborate with other participants.
What are the awards for the Forecasting Prize?
USAID will award 20,000 USD to the best-performing model and 5,000 USD to the second-best performing model.
What can I do with the Forecasting Prize award if I win?
While we encourage that the prize award be used in ways that can continue to be beneficial to the public and the health care sector, you are under no obligation to do so and may choose to utilize your winnings how you see fit.
What is the award for the Field Implementation Grant?
USAID will award approximately 100,000 to 200,000 USD for the most compelling Field Implementation Grant concept note. We will also cover travel expenses for up to two individuals to support the Field Implementation Grant negotiations or kick-off.
How long will field implementation of the model last?
The total length of the agreement will be decided by USAID and the grantee, but field implementation of the forecasting model is expected to last for approximately one year or longer.
If you didn't find the answers to your questions above, we may have covered it in our webinar. You can view the recording here or read the detailed answers to competitor questions in English or en français.
The information provided on this website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.