Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge Now Open to Applications!

As part of USAID’s efforts to mark Earth Day on April 22nd, Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt publicly issued the official call for concept notes to the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge.

“Today, our Agency is harnessing innovation, data, and public-private partnerships to both protect and manage the environment that supports us,” he said. “The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge represents a groundbreaking effort to not only root out poaching and trafficking, but to strengthen the economic and national security of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The Challenge, an initiative of USAID in partnership with National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and TRAFFIC, represents one component of USAID’s efforts to support the President’s Implementation Plan for the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, unveiled in 2014.  The Challenge will:

  • Include a three-phase open competition to identify the most promising and innovative ideas,
  • Engage a talented community of solvers from all corners of the globe and all areas of expertise,
  • Provide technical expertise and networking support to help successful applicants develop their solutions,
  • Award Grand Prizes of up to $500,000 to help applicants scale their solutions.

The Challenge is looking for fresh perspectives from innovators around the world to stem the ongoing slaughter of wildlife. From April 22nd, interested organizations or individuals will have ten weeks to complete a short concept note describing themselves, their solution, and how it might scale to achieve greater impact.

Applications must address at least one of four Challenge issues for which innovative science and technology solutions could offer immediate impact:

  • Detecting transit routes
  • Strengthening forensic evidence
  • Reducing consumer demand
  • Tackling corruption

Judges will evaluate applications based on impact and scalability and invite those with the most promising Concept Notes to move forward in the competition.

For more information on the Challenge, please visit the WCTC website at https://www.wildlifecrimetech.org.

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