An initiative of USAID in partnership with National Geographic, Smithsonian, and TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge was a global challenge competition that awarded cash prizes and technical assistance for innovative science and technology solutions to combat wildlife trafficking, and accelerated them to scale.
The Challenge opened the call for Concept Notes in April 2015, receiving over 300 submissions from around the globe, including from individuals as well as private, nonprofit and academic institutions. From this group, 44 Finalists were invited to submit a full Prize Application, from which 16 Prize Winners were selected and awarded packages of $10,000 plus up to $30,000 in technical assistance, two networking events, and partnerships development support in January 2016.
The CIT also spent a significant amount of effort preparing for and successfully executing a Winners Event and Showcase Event in Washington, DC, to which all Prize Winners were invited to attend. These events represented a major milestone the Challenge overall, as Prize Winners were afforded opportunities to pitch their events to potential implementers, investors and conservationists. Following a call for Grand Prize Applications and a rigorous judging process done in consultation with USAID, Integra awarded four Grand Prizes worth a total of $902,962 in September 2016.
Over the course of Year Two, Integra shifted part of its focus from designing and implementing the prize competition to directly supporting Prize Winners in scaling their solutions. Through the technical assistance and partnership development support provided, the Challenge leveraged over $2.3 million dollars in external funding and in-kind assistance to combat wildlife crime, and several Prize Winners have progressed from the concept stage to prototype and actual deployment of their technologies. Integra continued working with Prize Winners, supporting the development of their technologies through the end of September 2017.
Integra was the prime contractor implementing the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge on behalf of USAID, along with subcontractors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Sonjara, Inc.