Minutes from Global Goods Calls

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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.

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.

Future Calls