The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to partner with them to create the U.S. Anti-corruption Innovation Lab (USAIL), a hub to leverage public-private partnerships to support the innovative application of technology to combat corruption.
USAIL will advance the Administration’s anti-corruption efforts by accelerating technological solutions to combat corruption world-wide. Leveraging technology will add to the arsenal of anticorruption tools that promote democracy and rule of law, and ensure public funds are used responsibly. Through this project, INL and the grantee will set up an innovation lab, which will engage diverse stakeholders (government, civil society, and private sector) in open collaboration for the purpose of tracking, devising, elaborating, and applying new and existing technological solutions to systemic challenges in preventing and detecting corruption, including but not limited to:
- Enhancing transparency and accountability to deter corrupt actors; and
- Improving methods to identify, trace, and disrupt the flow of illicit finances.
Defined problem sets will be devised over the course of the period of performance, based on criteria established by INL. Some potential examples (merely illustrative) include:
- Linking legal entities to related individuals, identifying beneficial owners and reducing the opportunities for corrupt officials and corruption networks to use companies for illicit financial activities;
- Identifying corrupt government and commercial activities and dark money flows related to: illegal mining, illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, and other misappropriation of public/national resources involving corrupt government officials; and
- Using technology to implement anti-corruption safeguards/guardrails in pandemic and other emergency relief distribution, lending programs, and procurement.
- USAIL’s goal is to prevent, deter, and combat corruption internationally by drawing upon public private partnerships to stimulate the innovative application of technology to address challenges.
- Target countries or entities within those countries will receive a sustainable operational solution to a corruption problem set and become stakeholders in shaping the application of technology to their needs. INL and the grantee will make the solution accessible to other countries and promote widespread adoption of any technologies identified or developed in the process of addressing the problem set.
- INL and grantee will work together to tackle at least one problem set in the first year of the program, and two to three in subsequent years. Regardless of the number of countries reached through the initial piloting, one intended outcome of USAIL is to create a set of mechanisms that will raise awareness of pressing anticorruption issues among government, private sector, and civil society stakeholders and galvanize cross-sectoral collaboration to leverage technology to address them.
- Objective 1: Annually 1-3 novel, responsible, and sustainable technological solutions identified and operationalized to prevent, deter and combat corruption.
- Sub-objective 1.1: Anticorruption Problem Set Identified
- Collaborate with stakeholders including government, private sector, civil society, and potential end users through mechanisms such as roundtables to identify an anticorruption problem set (generalized, or identified in relation to a particular country or set of countries) that may be addressed through the application of technology.
- Sub-objective 1.2: Technological solution identified
- Collaborate with stakeholders including government, private sector, civil society, including those from target country(s), to identify appropriate existing technology to address the problem set identified through Objective 1.1.
- Sub-objective 1.3: Innovative solution(s) implemented in target country(s) to prevent, deter, and/or combat corruption for selected cases
- Support technology adoption and implementation, including technical assistance, user testing, and training for end users in target country(s) identified in sub-objective 1.1.
- Sub-objective 1.1: Anticorruption Problem Set Identified
- Objective 2: Solutions Disseminated Globally for Iterative Development
- Develop advocacy plan for wider promotion so others adopt the technological solution.
- Length of performance period: 24 months
- Number of awards anticipated: 1 award
- Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $750,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000
- Total available funding: $1,000,000
Participants and Audiences
INL and other USG stakeholders, foreign governments, subject matter experts, private sector, civil society, and international organization representatives.
Activities may include, but are not limited to:
- Create central repository, i.e., database or online marketplace, to house information and guidance regarding technological innovations developed through this program;
- Deploy road map developed through Sub-Objective 1.3 for future end users to implement the technology;
- Highlight the technologies that can prevent and combat corruption and socialize their adoption. These could take place as standalone events, or as part of international events, conventions, conferences, panel sessions, roadshows, trade shows, industry events, publications, social media, etc.;
- Expand INL’s network of tech vendors and raise awareness of INL’s tech engagements to encourage continued efforts on combatting corruption; and/or
- Establish channels for assistance requests and calls for input.
INL will work with the selected grantee and other stakeholders to identify target countries for each new problem set under the cooperative agreement. This determination will be made based on INL strategic priorities. Depending on the problem set identified and interested stakeholders, the grantee may pilot the technical solution in one or more countries. Any technologies should be promoted with the objective of eventual regional or global application.
- The following organizations are eligible to apply:
- U.S.-based non-profit/non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
- U.S.-based educational institutions subject to section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code;
- Foreign-based non-profits/non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
- Foreign-based educational institutions
- Applicants must also meet the following requirements to be eligible to apply to this NOFO:
- A reputable organization with extensive experience in conducting hackathons;
- A reputable organization with experience developing public-private partnerships in an international context;
- Experience with foreign governments (e.g. regulatory bodies).
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=333951