Frequently Asked Questions

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Open Proposal Process Notice B

Submit by January 19 Deadline

  1. Can my organization submit more than one concept note or proposal? Yes.
  2. Is Notice B restricted to those organizations who are pre-approved from the previous BAA process? No. Notice B does not have restrictions on who can apply.
  3. What is the maximum duration of an award? The longest duration is 3 years, but practically submitters should expect 1 year.
  4. 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 individual proposal.
  5. Does Digital Square have priority countries for global goods? No.
  6. Does Digital Square prefer to fund global goods that meet a certain maturity level? No. If this changes, we will share that update.
  7. 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 at something tangential and wish to seek funding from Digital Square, we recommend you focus on the intersection between that sector and health. Digital Square serves as DIAL’s health sustainability advisory group and DIAL funds projects that are not health-specific.
  8. Can we apply for backfunding? No.
  9. Where can I find information on global goods currently being funded by Digital Square? On our Wiki. These investments were made with earmarked funding. Notice B does not use earmarked funds.
  10. Should my concept note build off of global goods that Digital Square currently supports? This is not necessary.
  11. Where can I find the Global Goods Maturity Model? Here. It is also accessible through our Wiki.
  12. Must proposals focus on interoperability? No. Not focusing on interoperability will not preclude a concept note from funding. However, please note one area of the Global Goods Maturity Model is interoperability, and interoperability is in line with Digital Square’s mission.
  13. One requirement in the final phase of the process for proposals in Notice B is to complete a self-assessment on the Global Goods Maturity Model. How do I do this? You can make a copy of the Google sheet and submit with a link or as an Excel document.

General Open Proposal Process

  1. What is the Open Proposal Process? There are 6 key phases in the process.
  2. How do I provide feedback on concept notes? Visit our Open Proposal Process Platform. You can create account and provide comments and feedback on the posted proposals.
  3. At what point in the process (phases 1-6) do I provide feedback (or, expect to receive feedback)? You can give and/or receive feedback on a concept note or proposal during any of the 6 phases of the process.
  4. Will my concept note and proposal definitely get feedback? Digital Square cannot control the amount of feedback provided by other submitters. Digital Square does strive, however, to provide a minimum amount of feedback from the Peer Review Committee.

Concept note creation and submission phase

This is Step 1 of 6 in the broader Open Proposal Process.

  1. How and when do you submit concept notes for proposals? Digital Square will release Calls for Proposals which will begin the Digital Square Open Proposal Process, the first step of which is the Concept Note Phase.
  2. When Digital Square is ready to accept new concept notes, will you release guidelines or templates on how to develop them? Yes! Concept notes and proposals both have templates that you should follow.
  3. Are vendors and consortia submitting new proposals now/in the near future or is the focus solely on existing concept notes? Each open proposals process will have a call for proposals which will specify what global goods may apply (both new and existing).
  4. 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, we encourage collaboration.
  5. How often will Digital Square issue calls for proposals? As often as funding permits. We anticipate twice a year.
  6. Are global goods specifically software? Review our definition of global goods.
  7. What level of budget detail should be included in proposal budgets? The Governing Board should have an idea of how funding will be spent. The budget should be a line item budget that includes activities, travel, staffing, and LOE.
  8. What visibility do other submitters have into my concept note? All concept notes and proposals can be viewed by all other submitters. Digital Square encourages submitters to provide feedback on other concept notes and proposals and look for potential collaborators. Other submitters will not see any budget information. The Peer Review Committee will see high-level budget and LOE only.
  9. When - and how - does a concept note become a proposal? Visit the phases of the proposal process.
  10. Do all submitted concept notes progress to the proposal phase? Digital Square will not prevent the advancement of any concept notes into proposal phase unless they are clearly out of Digital Square’s scope.
  11. Can my organization submit more than one concept note or proposal? Yes.

Proposal co-creation and review phase

This is Step 2 of 6 in the broader Open Proposal Process.

  1. What does it mean if a proposal is labeled green-lit, amber-lit, or red-lit? A green-lit proposal meets all criteria for investment through the relevant Digital Square Notice. The proposal 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 proposal 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 proposal.A red-lit proposal does not meet any of the criteria for investment through the relevant Digital Square Notice, or there is high risk identified in the proposal’s ability to meet its objectives.
  2. Who determines if a proposal is green-lit, amber-lit, or red-lit? The PRC.
  3. What is the process to move green-lit concept notes forward? Green-lit and amber-lit proposals may be submitted to the Board to be vote on for investment during the Board Review Phase. Once approved by the Board, Digital Square will begin contracting/awarding, according to Board guidance.
  4. What are the next steps for green-lit proposals which do not have identified funding? The Digital Square Board can vote to mandate Digital Square to secure funding for the proposal.
  5. Will amber-lit proposals that were not approved for investment by the Board be revisited? You can submit an updated amber-lit note. Digital Square can work with submitters to improve their proposal.
  6. Can teams revised and re-submit red-lit concept notes? Red-lit notes are out of Digital Square’s scope, so we do not recommend resubmitting a red-lit note unless it has changed significantly in scope.
  7. What will the process be to ensure alignment and avoid duplicate HIS investment for concept notes that will be re-reviewed for relevance? Part of Digital Square’s mandate is to avoid this duplication. We are addressing this through the Peer Review Committee and Governing Board.
  8. What happens if my concept note or proposal receives conflicting feedback? Digital Square has no control over crowd-sourced comments. Submitters can expect consistent feedback from the PRC and a thorough review at the PRC Review Phase. In the event of conflicting comments, Digital Square can assist submitters to choose the best way to proceed.

Awards and funding

  1. View the Governing Board members.
  2. How does the Board select which proposals will receive funding? This depends on the investment made by donors for the specific call for proposals. Those parameters will be shared as part of the call for proposals.
  3. Does funding come from PATH or USAID? Digital Square funding comes from USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors in the future who co-invest into Digital Square. Awards are issued by PATH.
  4. Will awards be subcontracts or subagreements (i.e. grants)? Once the proposal is approved by the Board, the Scope of Work will help Digital Square and the recipient determine the appropriate mechanism.

Currently funded global goods

  1. Where can I find written resources explaining components? (Such as the Tech Registry). Visit the current investments page.
  2. Are you expecting buy-in from specific countries? Yes. We will share that information when it is announced on this Wiki.
  3. Will contracts be with PATH? Yes. Awards will be made by PATH.

Roles and relationships

  1. Who sits on the PRC? Visit the PRC Wiki page.
  2. What is the relationship between DIAL and Digital Square? Learn more here.
  3. Who is Digital Square? Visit the Digital Square website.