Frequently Asked Questions
Who or what is Digital Square?
- Digital Square is a partnership of the world’s leading digital health experts from 40+ organizations working together with countries to strengthen digital health systems. Digital Square offers a new way to invest in digital health—providing a space where countries and members of the global community can gather to think big and do good, together. By convening government officials, technological innovators, donor and implementation partners, and others across borders and boundaries in Digital Square, we can grow possibility into reality by focusing on our common goal: connecting the world for better health. Digital Square works in three key ways:
- Co-investment: We coordinate investments in digital health to maximize the impact of every dollar spent.
- Global goods: We scale tools and technologies that can be adapted to different countries and contexts.
- Digital market readiness: We create digital market readiness by building capacity with governments, local technology developers, and health workers.
- For more information, navigate to Digital Square website.
What do you mean by the term [application][subaward][solicitication]?
- Please navigate to grants & contracts basics for an introduction to vernacular.
How does Digital Square fund global goods? What type of funding is available?
- Digital Square funding comes from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors who co-invest into Digital Square. Please navigate to the global goods procurement processes for more information. Subawards will be issued to successful applicants from PATH. Please review grants & contracts basics or Global Good Investment Process for more information.
What should my organization expect if our application is funded for investment?
- Please review the Global Good Investment Process for more information.
What is a consortium? Does my organization have to be in one?
- A consortium is a group with a common goal in which resources are pooled to conduct activities among the group to achieve a common objective. In the spirit of reducing duplication of work and fragmentation, Digital Square encourages collaboration in the concept note and full application phases by identifying a consortium, although this is not a requirement. Note, in the full application, a consortium must have a lead organization who will submit the application. Consortia members must be listed as subawards or consultants in the detailed budget.
Does Digital Square have priority countries for global goods?
Does Digital Square prefer to fund global goods that meet a certain maturity level as assessed in the global good maturity model?
- No. If this changes, Digital Square will share that update.
Does Digital Square only invest in health? What about projects that cross into other domains?
- Digital Square’s focus is health. If you are looking for support to your global good, it must be deployed to support the health sector (clients, providers, health system etc). Digital Square partners with the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) who offers catalytic grants to support digital services beyond the health sector.
Open Application Process
What is the difference between the Open Proposal Process & Platform (OPP&P) and Open Application Process (OAP)?
- The OPP&P was the first iteration of Digital’s Square’s Open Application Process. Beginning with Notice D, Digital Square updated the term to Open Application Process, which incorporates the process and platform, rather than differentiating between the two. The Open Application Process continues to use the online platform where applicants publicly post concept notes and applications, providing applicants the opportunity to find collaborators and provide and receive feedback from your peers.
What is the Open Application Process?
- An open application process promotes the collaborative development of applications for investments in digital health global goods. The open application process is hosted on an online platform.
- Concept notes and applications will be publicly posted, giving applicants the opportunity to find collaborators and provide and receive feedback from your peers. There are 3 phases with a total of 10 steps in the open application process. Please navigate to global goods procurement processes for more information. The first phase related to concept notes. The second phase related to the full application development. The last phase is related to application review and award. The first two phases occur in the OAP platform.
Is there an open solicitation for the Notice?
- Please review the OAP platform for links to current solicitation(s).
How do I provide feedback on concept notes?
- Visit our OAP platform and create an account. This will you allow to provide comments and feedback on the posted applications.
At what point in the process do I provide feedback (or expect to receive feedback)?
- In the concept note phase, you should plan to provide (and receive) feedback during the three weeks following the deadline for concept note submission.
- In the second phase, full application, you should plan to provide (and receive) feedback during the two weeks following the preliminary application submission.
- Please navigate to global goods procurement processes for more information.
Will my concept note and application get feedback?
- Digital Square facilitates a process in order for all applications to receive feedback. However, Digital Square does not take responsibility for the amount of feedback provided by other Applicants. The Peer Review Committee commits to reviewing all applications within a cluster per the Prioritization Framework.
Where can I find information on global goods currently being funded by Digital Square?
- Please navigate to Digital Square Investments in Global Goods for a list of approved and funded global goods.
Are global goods specifically software?
- Global Goods are digital health tools that are adaptable to different countries and contexts. There are three types of global goods:
- Software—A software tool that is free, open source, and used to manage, analyze, or transmit health-related data, with proven utility in several settings.
- Services—A software tool that is used to manage, transmit, or analyze health-related data that can be freely accessed as a software service and adheres to open data principles.
- Content—A resource, toolkit, or data standard that is available under an open license and that is used to improve or analyze health data management processes.
- Mature digital health global good software is software that is (usually) Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), is supported by a strong community, has a clear governance structure, is funded by multiple sources, has been deployed at significant scale, is used across multiple countries, has demonstrated effectiveness, is designed to be interoperable, and is an emergent standard application.
- For more information, please navigate to What are Global Goods?
Where can I find written resources explaining specific global goods?
- Navigate to Digital Square Investments in Global Goods or review the Global Goods Guidebook (to be launched April 2019).
Concept Note Phase
How and when do you submit concept notes for applications?
- Digital Square will release a solicitation as a call for applications, which will begin the Open Application Process Notice. The first phase and step of which is the Concept Note Phase. Please review the Global Good Investment Process and Prioritization Framework for more information.
How often will Digital Square issue calls for applications?
- As often as funding permits. We anticipate up to two Notice(s) a year.
When Digital Square is ready to accept new concept notes, will you release guidelines or templates on how to develop them?
- Yes! The solicitation will detail application requirements and Digital Square provides templates that applicants must follow through in the open process, linked below:
- Concept Note template
- Full Application: Technical Application Template, Budget Template and Budget Narrative template.
When proposing new concept notes, should this be done as a team or as individuals?
- In the spirit of reducing duplication of work and fragmentation, Digital Square encourages collaboration in the concept note and full application phases by identifying a consortium. Note, in the full application, a consortium must have a lead organization who will submit the application. Consortia members must be listed as subawards or consultants in the detailed budget.
Can my organization submit more than one concept note or application?
- Yes, provided each application is aligned with the Notice request for application.
Should my concept note build off of global goods that Digital Square currently supports?
- This is not necessary. Concept notes and subsequent applications should meet the criteria outlined in the RFA.
Must concept notes focus on interoperability?
- No. Not focusing on interoperability will not preclude a concept note from funding. However, please note systems and applications that enable exchange of data are in line with Digital Square’s mission.
One requirement for the concept note is to confirm the global good is registered in the Digital Health Atlas. How do I do this?
- If the digital health tool is registered, please include a screenshot of the entry under “Attachments” in OPP&P.
- If it is currently not part of the taxonomy to register the software, please register by contacting Megan Martin email@example.com and include a copy of this email under “Attachments” in OPP&P.
What visibility do other submitters have into my concept note?
- All concept notes may be viewed by all other applicants. Digital Square encourages applicants to provide feedback on other concept notes and to look for potential collaborators during the concept note phase.
Can you explain the transition between concept note and application: e.g. when—and how—does a concept note become an application; do all submitted concept notes progress to the application phase; does this all happen in the OPP&P?
- The first phase is the concept note phase, the second phase is the application, both of which occur in the OPP&P. Concept notes advance to the application phase if they meet the criteria stipulated in the RFA. Digital Square refers to entities as applicants during the concept note phase and applicants during the application phase. Please review the global good procurement process for an overview or the OPP&P open solicitation for a specific timeline.
- Per the Prioritization Framework, Digital Square will asses concept notes alignment with initiative vision, priorities, and funding round objectives. Digital Square will not prevent the advancement of any concept notes into application phase unless they are clearly out of Digital Square’s scope.
What happens if my concept note or application receives conflicting feedback?
- Digital Square does not take responsibility for crowd-sourced comments. Applicants should expect consistent feedback from the Peer Review Committee and a thorough review during Review & Investment phase. In the event of conflicting comments, Digital Square may discuss the feedback with the applicant to provide guidance in alignment with the Digital Square mission and mandate.
What visibility do other submitters have into my full application?
- All technical applications may be viewed by all other applicants. Digital Square encourages applicants to provide feedback on other applications. In the full application, collaborators may be identified in a consortium. Budget information is limited to a high-level summary in the technical application.
One requirement in the final phase of the process for application is to complete a self-assessment on the Global Goods Maturity Model. How do I do this?
- Navigate to the Global Goods Maturity Model. Then, save a copy of the document. You can make a copy of the Google sheet and submit with include a link in the technical application or as an Excel document.
What level of budget detail should be included in application budgets?
- The Governing Board must have an idea of how funding will be spent. If your technical application includes several objective areas or workstreams, the budget should include the budget value for each of these objectives or workstreams, in addition to the full budget.The detailed budget must be a line item budget that includes staffing, including level of effort (LOE), consultants, travel, supplies, other direct costs, including workshops and publications, subawards, and indirect costs, as allowable. Please review the budget template and budget narrative template for more information.
Review & Investment Phase
What will the process be to ensure alignment and avoid duplicate health information system (HIS) investment for concept notes that will be re-reviewed for relevance?
- Part of Digital Square’s mandate is to avoid this duplication. Digital Square is addressing this through the Peer Review Committee and Governing Board.
What does it mean if an application is labeled green-lit, amber-lit, or red-lit?
- A green-lit application meets all criteria for investment through the relevant Notice. The application demonstrates a global good that aligns with country priorities, can adapt to different countries and contexts, and will scale easily across countries.
- An amber-lit application meets at least one of the criteria for selection for investment and a potential risk has been identified and will need to be addressed by the submitters of the application.
- A red-lit application does not meet any of the criteria for investment through the relevant Notice, or there is high risk identified in the application’s ability to meet its objectives.
Who determines if an application is green-lit, amber-lit, or red-lit?
- The Peer Review Committee.
What is the process to move green-lit applications forward?
- Digital Square will compile green-lit and amber-lit applications and submit to the Governing Board or funder to be vote on for investment during the review & investment phase. Once approved by the Governing Board or funder, Digital Square will begin the subaward process.
What are the next steps for green-lit application(s) which do not have identified funding?
- The Governing Board may vote to mandate Digital Square to secure funding for the application(s).
Will amber-lit applications that were not approved for investment by the Governing Board be revisited?
- Applicants with amber-lit applications may submit a revised application during the subsequent Notice, provided it aligns with the Notice solicitation. Digital Square can work with submitters to improve their application.
Can teams revise and resubmit red-lit application(s)?
- Red-lit applications are out of Digital Square’s scope, so we do not recommend resubmitting a red-lit application unless it has changed significantly in scope.
What if my application is approved but not yet funded or is partially funded? Will I need to resubmit my application in future Notice for funding consideration?
- No, all approved applications are automatically considered for funding in subsequent Notice(s). Digital Square advises you do not revise and resubmit your application.
Who sits on the Peer Review Committee?
- Please navigate to the Peer Review Committee.
Who is a member of the governing board?
- Please review the Governing Board members.
How does the Governing Board or funder select which applications will receive funding?
- The Governing Board or funder will review Digital Square’s recommendation, compiled from respondent feedback and PRC votes, aligned with the Prioritization Framework.
How will successful applicants receive Digital Square investments? Is this a grant or contract?
- Once the application is approved by the Governing Board or funder, PATH will issue a subaward in alignment with the proposed scope of work. Please review grants & contracts basics or global goods investment process for more information.
What is the maximum duration of an subaward?
- The length of a subaward will vary depending on the scope of work, however, a subaward term will not exceed an end date of June 26, 2021. Applicants should follow guidelines presented in the Notice solicitation. Generally, applicants should plan for activities up to 12 months.
Is this an entry point into a larger funding stream?
- Digital Square hopes this is an entry point into longer term funding and support, but this will depend on the specific application(s).