Minutes from Global Goods Calls

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September 4, 2018 Call | Notice C Q&A on Proposal Finalization Phase

  • Q: Where is the budget information submitted?
    • A: Use the template as a guideline and upload the budget narrative and complete budget as an attachment to the OPP&P site. There are specifically labeled boxes that indicate where to upload the budget and the narrative (please upload separately) and any further supporting documents.
  • Q: How do I know that the budget information is kept confidential?
    • A: When the budget is uploaded to the appropriate section on the OPP&P site, it is automatically set to private.
  • Q: How will the $100,000 and $800,000 pools of funding be split?
    • A: The Digital Square Governing Board will make the final decision on how the C1 and C0 funding will be split among the selected proposals. Digital Square recommends proposal submitters outline work packages and assign a cost to each workstream when fleshing out deliverables and the budget narrative; this is not mandatory but will allow the Board to easily tie funding to the proposal objectives.
  • Q: What is the expectation of the community feedback section?
    • A: The community feedback section gives submitters the ability to describe the community feedback received during the proposal co-creation phase and beyond. This is an opportunity to showcase how you plan to further engage the community (webinars, presentations, Q&As, etc.).
  • Q: Will the PRC and Board view the copy and paste version of the proposals or the PDF version?
    • A: The PRC typically reviews both versions of the proposal. The Governing Board will review print outs of the PDFs.
  • Q: If the name of a developing tool is unknown, should it be added to the appendix?
    • A: Yes, please add it to the appendix.
  • Q: What is the difference between the co-creation phase and the proposal finalization phase?
    • A: The co-creation phase provides a chance to collaborate with organizations and individuals within the digital community and develop consortium teams. Commenting and feedback sharing is locked once the co-creation phase is closed. Moving into the proposal finalization phase will allow submitters enough time to incorporate feedback received from the co-creation phase and avoid last-minute comments.
  • Q: Where do submitters upload the full proposal after the concept note phase ends?
    • A: After the concept note phase ends, submitters will then update the concept note with the remaining requirements. The original concept note submitted is meant to be later developed into a full proposal. Submitters can also attach the full proposal as a PDF in the "supporting documents" section.
  • Q: If a submitter is developing and building a new module, how should the self-assessment tool be used to measure maturity?
    • A: The self-assessment should be in terms of the overall software you are building upon, not the module. For example, if you are building a module expanding DHIS2, then you would determine maturity based on DHIS2.
  • Q: How should submitters determine if the tool is low, medium, or high on the self-assessment tool if it falls between the category descriptions? For example, "country utilization" states a tool is considered "low" if two or less countries utilize the tool and "medium" if at least four countries utilize the tool. How would the submitter determine the status if three countries utilize the tool? Will the level of maturity play into the Board decision on funding?
    • A: If the tool falls between two categories, round up. The intent of the maturity model is to highlight requested areas of investment. The Board will not choose funding solely on the assessment tool.
  • Q: Where are tutorials or instructions on how to register the tool with the Digital Health Atlas?
    • A: You can contact the product owner, Megan, via Slack. Digital Square will also add detailed instructions to the Wiki.
  • Q: Is it a requirement to have the tool registered with the Digital Health Atlas to be considered for Notice C funding?
    • A: Yes, it is required. Please register your tool on the Digital Health Atlas. Registering your tool on the Digital Health Atlas will allow us to see where the tool has been deployed, impact, and other opportunities.
  • Q: How detailed should the workplan and tasks be?
    • A: We suggest outlining each workstream and linking each output to a task. Developing a precise, yet detailed timeline will create a clear picture of the deliverables for the PRC and Board.
  • Q: Who is the point of contact for OPP&P site errors?
    • A: Upload screenshots of the error message to the Slack channel or email the team at digitalsquare@path.org.
  • Q: If approved for funding, how long after being notified can teams expect the contracting phase to start?
    • A: Contracting is on a case-by-case basis determined by the Digital Square Governing Board.
  • Q: If a proposal we uploaded to the OPP&P site and then the submitter decideds to make changes, will a new version of teh proposal be re-uploaded?
    • A: If a submitter needs to make changes to a proposal already uploaded to the OPP&P site, there is an edit function that allows submitters to edit proposals directly on the site. However, a new PDF version will need to be uploaded to reflect changes.


July 12, 2018 Call | Notice C Q&A Part II

  • Q: Is a new login needed to use the Digital Square Open Proposal Platform?
    • A: Yes. In order to participate in Notice C you are required to submit a request for a new login on the Digital Square Open Proposal Platform. If you created a login for the Notice B cycle it will not transfer over to the new platform.
  • Q: Is it possible to upload images to the new proposal site?
    • A: Yes. Images can be included as attachments and/or embedded within concept notes.
  • Q: How much funding is available in C0 and C1?
    • A: C0 has $800,000 available for investment; C1 has $100,000 available for investment. Digital Square will continue to raise additional funds and co-investments from donors throughout the notice cycle.
  • Q: For the C1 (OpenIMIS) RFA, are proposals that will further enhance OpenIMIS or field application/deployment of the OpenIMIS model desired?
    • A: The goal is to identify potential clients to support the backend of insurance systems. There is an OpenHIE UHC/ Insurance subcommittee currently looking at different workflows and standards for claim submissions, eligibility, payments etc. the goal is for C1 awardees to support the longer term needs of OpenIMIS. Please read the OpenIMIS Roadmap for more details.
  • Q: What are the definitions of the different types of awards?
    • A: Status definitions:
      • Awarded–Fully funded: The proposal has been approved for the full amount requested.
      • Awarded–Partially funded: The proposal was awarded but not at the full amount requested. However, additional investments need to be sought to fully fund the proposal. Submitters will not have to participate in next notice cycle and will be automatically considered in next round of funding.
      • Awarded–Pending funding: The proposal was approved by the governing board. However, funding is unavailable at the time of submission and Digital Square has prioritized this proposal for additional investments. Submitters will not have to participate in next notice cycle and will be automatically considered in next round of funding.
      • Postponing for future calls: The submitter has voluntarily withdrawn the proposal from consideration in the present round of funding and has the option of re-submitting the same proposal in a future round.
      • Review complete: The review of the proposal has completed and not resulted in funding.
      • Out of Scope: The proposal is not eligible for funding consideration as it does not meet all requirements for consideration.
  • Q: Will the submitters from Notice A and B that are “Awarded–Pending Funding” be a part of the Notice C $800,000 funding? Or is there a separate funding round for the previously “Awarded–Pending Funding” proposals?
    • A: Proposals from Notice A and B that are “Awarded–Pending Funding” will have a chance to receive funding from the Notice C cycle. Proposals from Notice A and B that are “Awarded–Partially Funded” will have a chance to receive additional funding from the Notice C cycle.
  • Q: If I had a proposal submitted under Notice B that received a “Awarded—Pending Funding” or “Awarded—Partially Funded” status will I need to resubmit a proposal?
    • A: You do not need to resubmit your proposal as it will be automatically considered during the Notice C round of funding. If you do wish to update your proposal, note that any substantive changes to your proposal would trigger a need for a full review by the Peer Review Committee.
  • Q: What types of donors are participating in the global good open proposal process?
    • A: Traditional donors (Gates, USAID), family foundations, and the private sector. Digital Square is exploring all options and actively pursuing new types of donors; utilizing the donor investment principles to drive engagement.
  • Q: Is the 15% cap on NICRA negotiable?
    • A: The indirect cost maximum is based on the donor(s) investing for the Notice. 15% is the maximum indirect allowed under Notice C0.
  • Q: Is a list of previously approved proposal funding amounts provided for reference?
    • A: Previously approved funding amounts have not been shared.
  • Q: Is there a requirement to collaborate with other organizations when submitting a concept note/proposal?
    • A: Collaboration with other organizations is strongly encouraged but it is not required.


June 28, 2018 Call | Notice C Q&A Part I

  • A list of changes from Notice B to Notice C:
    • Notice C is hosted on Digital Square’s Open Proposal Platform instead of UCSF’s.
    • A tagging feature has been designed for a more productive collaboration effort.
    • It is now a requirement to register your global good with the Digital Health Atlas .
    • There are two announcements: C0 and C1 (general global goods and OpenIMIS).
    • Additional information has been provided on the minimum requirement for a concept note to be considered “in scope.”
  • Q: Should a concept note focus on relative tools and technology that will enhance existing global goods? A: A concept note should provide high-level information regarding your proposed idea and must have the following minimum requirements to be considered:
    • executive summary,
    • consortium team,
    • product description, and
    • tags.
  • Q: If a proposal from Notice B was approved for future funding but not awarded, should the submitters of that note participate in the Notice C concept note phase? How should the concept note be updated? A: If your proposal was approved in Notice B and is being considered for the next round of funding, you do not need to resubmit a concept note because it is automatically considered for Notice C. However, if you would like to make updates to your proposal, please contact the Digital Square team via email or the #Notice-C Slack channel.
  • Q: If additional partners are added to the consortium team on an accepted Notice B under consideration for future rounds of funding, is a new application required? A: Unless there is substantial change to the content of the proposal, there is no need to re-submit as the proposal has already been approved for funding.
  • Q: What is the page limit for a concept note? A: The concept note should not exceed three (3) pages.
  • Q: Is there a predictable funding and/or predictable procurement cycle? A: There is not a set amount of funding for each Notice. However, Digital Square is mandated to fundraise for global goods from different donors and continues to do so throughout the Notice process.
  • Q: Is there a resource that indicates gaps or needs in digital health that can be addressed by opensource products? A: Nothing presently but it is a recognized need.
  • Q: Where are previously funded proposals by Digital Square? A: The Digital Square Wiki lists previous proposals awarded in Notices A and B. Additionally, the University of California, San Francisco, platform has the award announcement for Notice B with hyperlinks to full proposals.
  • Q: Are the proposals meant to enhance existing global goods or to create new global goods? A: The overarching goal of the Notice process is to further digital health technologies. Each announcement has its own set of requirements. For Notice C, C0 requires that the global good is an existing software that has been deployed in at least three (3) countries. For C1, the proposal must be interoperable with national health information systems and further the development of OpenIMIS, among others. Complete requirements and specifications on the purpose and requirements of each proposal can be found in each announcement.
  • Q: Are the concept notes relative to technology or UX? A: The concept notes can be relative to both.
  • Q: Can you revise a concept note once it’s been uploaded to the platform? A: Yes. You can revise your concept note until July 20 when the concept note phase closes at 5:00 pm EST. Please note there are no extensions on this deadline.
  • Q: Is there an open communication channel for the community? A: Yes. There is a Notice C Slack channel, an email box (digitalsquare@path.org), and a communication button on the proposal platform home page that will give you information on the various additional ways to connect.
  • Q: Is there a list of Peer Review Committee (PRC) members? What is the process of the committee? A: The list of PRC organizations is posted on the Digital Square Wiki and website. Once the application phase has closed, the PRC will review each proposal and provide feedback based on the requirements listed in each announcement and the prioritization framework. The outline of our framework is in the RFA and covers four areas: cost, technology, probability for success, and impact. The PRC will assign the proposal a status (green-, amber-, red-lit). The Governing Board will then review the feedback from the PRC and make a final funding decision.
  • Q: Is there a minimum and maximum award for a proposal, or is it relative to each proposal scope? A: Awards are relative to each proposal scope and amount of funding available. When a proposal is accepted to move into the full application stage, a more detailed budget will be required. It is possible for the Board to approve parts of a proposal without approving the entire proposal. For reference, previous proposals ranged from $60,000 to $200,000.
  • Q: Where is the OpemIMIS roadmap located? A: The Technical Roadmap is on the openIMIS Wiki


March 14, 2018 Call | Global Goods Prioritization Q&A

The meeting began with a review of the Global Goods Prioritization Presentation, followed by a Q&A Session.

  • Q: Will submitters have access to the proposal scoring tools? A: No, Digital Square will consider making these available for future rounds.
  • Q: Explain what is meant by LOE (level of effort) breakdown. A: LOE is a high-level estimate of the amount of time an individual will be spending on the project. For example, if someone will be spending all of their time on this project, their LOE would be 100%.
  • Q: How is “indirects” defined? A: Digital Square’s multi-donor platform utilizes the indirect rates of each donor organization as subject to the rules and regulations of our individual donors. Submitters will be provided information on indirect rates during the contracting process. Further guidance will be given when the full proposal and budget is requested with the specifics of that donors indirect policy.
  • Q: How should submitters present the budget? A: On the open proposal website, there is an example of the budget template that should be used.
  • Note: Digital Square is actively identifying new financial resources for this and future rounds of proposals
  • Q: How much detail should be in the budget description? A: Please see the budget template on the platform for an example of the level of detail. Please be clear about who is doing what and how that aligns with the workplan and the scope presented.
  • Q: Does the budget require real names or representative names? A: Representative names and/or titles are acceptable, however, we do ask that key personnel be named.
  • Q: How should submitters frame the budget when it is unclear how much may be awarded? A: Digital Square will reference the submitted proposal to see the organization's budget for the full scope of services presented. Digital Square may fund the full, or a slightly reduced, scope. Please note that this is not the only opportunity to apply for funding. Digital Square continues to identify additional investments that would enable future funding opportunities.
  • Q: Will submitters receive direct feedback on proposals after the proposal finalization stage? A: No—submitters will not receive direct feedback from the PRC on the final proposal that is submitted.
  • Q: What is the timeline for the proposal to be awarded? A: Digital Square’s Peer Review Committee (PRC) will review proposals March 26 through April 12, 2018. Digital Square will then consolidate the PRC feedback, use the prioritization tools, and present the feedback to our Governing Board for final decision during the next Governing Board meeting in May 2018. Funding will be disbursed to awarded proposals after the Governing Board has voted.
  • Q: Can major edits be made to the proposal at this stage? A: Yes—as long as the proposal is finalized and submitted by March 23. No edits can be made after March 23.
  • Q: If there is a section in the proposal outline that is not applicable to our proposal (ex. use cases) what should be done?A: If a proposal section does not apply to you please write “not applicable.” In the specific instance of use cases, feel free to add in details on how you are targeting members of your community.
  • Q: The concept note outline does not seem to align with the proposal outline. Do I need to be changing the content from my concept note to match? A: Try to follow the proposal outline as closely as possible. It is expected that concept notes will be expanded to add the additional sections required in the proposal outline, e.g.,all of the information in the concept note should be in the proposal. If content is already included in the “project description” that is requested elsewhere in the outline, please note in those sections that the response is captured in the project description so that reviewers will know you have not skipped over this section. Feel free to add additional headings to the outline if they are needed for your proposal.
  • Q: Where are the WHO classification/assessments on digital health interventions? We were asked to refer to this in the proposal. A:You can find the WHO classification/assessments here.
  • Q: Does the 15 page page limit include the budget and annexes? A: The 15 page limit does not include the budget or annexes, but it does include the budget narrative. Please treat the annexes as secondary sources of information, not primary sources of information, for the benefit of the PRC so they do not have to search for information.
  • Q: Will there be an assessment around continuity/elevation of content from concept note to final proposal? A: No, the concept note phase is designed to be a light lift; it is an open and transparent process to generate dialogue around potential collaboration opportunities. The concept note phase was also an opportunity to identify any potential proposals that would be out of scope, so that teams would not spend a lot of time working on a proposal that would not qualify for funding.
  • Q: What is the best channel for receiving updated information on Notice B—Slack or the wiki? A: Both! We aim to keep both platforms updated.
  • Q: Summarize steps for the open proposal process. A: You can find the steps listed here. Note: There will be no extensions given on submission deadlines--no exceptions.
  • Q: How many proposals will be green-lit? A: Digital Square does not have a target number of green-lit proposals as the color-status is assigned by the PRC based on the review criteria. The PRC will vote based on the proposal content. The Governing Board will then cast votes on green-lit and amber-lit proposals.
  • Q: Does green-lit mean that a proposal will be funded? A: Green-lit means the proposal meets all of the criteria for funding. Note that the Governing Board does make a distinction of “green-lit--funded” and “green-lit--unfunded.” If the project is funded, it means Digital Square already has the money to support it. If the project is unfunded, it means Digital Square will prioritize these proposals in our fundraising efforts. Once the funding comes through that proposal will proceed.
  • Q: Is there an expectation that submitters print the scorecard for self-assessment? A: No, the scorecard is for Digital Square to prepare information for the PRC and Governing Board meetings. The scorecard is one of three analytical tools within the prioritization framework. Submitters are expected to use the maturity model for self-assessment.
  • Q: Will the review be split up among individual PRC members or do all PRC members review everything? A: Every organization on the PRC can submit ONE vote per organization per proposal (even if there are several representatives per organization). The PRC has already been heavily involved reviewing concept notes and have gone through the voting process once before. We do not anticipate any challenges in this regard.


January 3, 2018 Call | Update on Peer Review Process

  • Welcome – Lauren Wall
  • Why Digital Square updated the open proposals process – Carl Leitner
    • We took feedback from the previous round of global goods submissions, Notice A. Thanks to that feedback we have designed a round that will provide more time for proposal development, provide feedback earlier, and identify potential duplicative work earlier.
  • Digital Square prioritization
    • Digital Square’s Governing Board is currently developing a prioritization framework for global goods investments. We will share this if it is finalized for Notice B.
  • Open Proposals Process:

Notice B Schedule

We will use the following schedule.

Step Action Deadline
Step 1: Concept note phase Digital Square issues a call for proposals and submitters upload concept notes to Digital Square’s public-facing platform. The Peer Review Committee (PRC) and other submitters can provide feedback, comments, suggestions, and identify potential areas for collaboration. January 19, 2018
Step 2: Proposal co-creation phase Moving forward with identified collaborators and using feedback from the concept note phase, submitters begin proposal development. Proposal submitters can post iterations of their proposal based on community feedback. The PRC and other submitters can provide feedback, comments, and suggestions on the posted proposals. February 16, 2018
Step 3:Proposal finalization phase Taking into account feedback, submitters finalize their proposal and budget and submit to the Digital Square platform. The budget is not shared publicly on the platform and the PRC sees only the high-level budget and LOE percentages. Submitters should also fill out a self-assessment of their tool using the Global Good Maturity Model. March 2, 2018
Step 4: PRC review phase The Peer Review Committee reviews proposals according to PRC criteria and votes on green-, amber-, or red-lit status. March 23, 2018
Step 5: Board review phase Digital Squares presents the proposals, budget, and PRC votes to the Governing Board, which votes for investment. Mid-Apri
Step 6: Award phase The result of the Governing Board vote and PRC feedback are communicated to the submitters. End of April

We are currently in the concept notes phase. The concept note phase is detailed on the site when you click “Add your proposal”. It requests three pieces of information:

  1. Executive summary–Describe in two to three paragraphs, for a non-technical audience, the context under which this proposal or work plan is being submitted to the Digital Square and the expected outcomes.
  2. Consortium team–Describe in brief, the composition of the consortium, the skill sets each organization will bring to bear on the proposal or work plan. Identify the organizational management lead who will serve as the point of contact for the proposal or work plan. You can also indicate that you are looking for collaborators during the Concept Note phase.
  3. Project description–Provide a few paragraphs describing the project/proposal/idea.

Open Proposal Process Q&A

  • How can we complete self-assessments on the Global Goods Maturity Model? You can make a copy of the Google sheet and submit with a link or as an Excel document.
  • Where can I find the Global Goods Maturity Model? Here. It is also accessible through our Wiki.
  • How do I provide feedback on concept notes? Digital Square uses an open proposal process. You can create an account and provide comments and feedback on the posted proposals.
  • Will my concept note and proposal 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.
  • What happens if my concept note or proposal receives conflicting feedback? Digital Square has no control over crowdsourced comments. In the event of conflicting comments, Digital Square can assist submitters choose the best way to proceed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Can my organization submit more than one concept note or proposal? Yes.
  • 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 PRC will see high-level budget and LOE only.

Notice B:

  • What’s maximum duration of award? The longest duration is three years but practically submitters should expect one year.
  • Is this an entry point into a larger funding stream? Digital Square expects that this is an entry point into longer-term funding and support, though this depends on type of proposal. There will be other rounds of funding available, and not applying in this round does not preclude you from applying for longer-term funding and support later.
  • Does Digital Square have priority countries for global goods? No, except that tools should be appropriate for use in LMICs.
  • Does Digital Square prefer to fund global goods that meet a certain maturity level? No. If this changes, we will share that update.
  • Does Digital Square only invest in health? What about projects that cross 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 crossover. Digital Square serves as DIAL’s health sustainability advisory group and DIAL focuses on projects that are not health-specific.
  • Is Notice B restricted to those organizations pre-approved from the previous BAA process? Notice B utilizes Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding and does not have restrictions on who can apply.
  • Can we apply for back-funding? No.
  • 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.
  • Where can I find information on global goods currently being funded by Digital Square? On our Wiki. Most of these investments were made with earmarked funding. Notice B does not use earmarked funds with the exception that they should be existing global goods.
  • Should my concept note build off of global goods that Digital Square currently supports? This is not necessary, however we expect that proposals that leverage existing investments would be viewed favorably.