Lacuna Fund Call for Proposals: Apply by 23 August 2024

Overview and Purpose of Lacuna Fund

The Lacuna Fund supports the creation, expansion, and maintenance of datasets that enable robust and equitable application of machine learning (ML) tools of high social value in low- and middle-income contexts globally. The fund aims to disburse funds to institutions to create, expand, and/or maintain datasets that fill gaps and reduce bias in labeled data used for the training and/or evaluation of machine learning models. It also seeks to make it possible for underserved populations to take advantage of advances offered by AI. Additionally, the fund aims to deepen understanding by the machine learning and philanthropy communities of how to fund development and maintenance of equitably labeled datasets most effectively and efficiently.

Philosophy of Grantmaking

The Lacuna Fund values a collaborative and locally-driven approach to data creation, expansion, and maintenance. The continued usefulness and maintenance of open data derive from a community invested in that data. Furthermore, collaboration enhances the quality and impact of datasets and promotes a culture of cooperation in the field. The Lacuna Fund hopes to support datasets that contribute to multiple applications of high social value, whether through research, commercial innovation, or improved public sector services. While the technical advisory panel sets out specific needs, the Lacuna Fund welcomes novel ideas within the domain that offer clear benefits aligned with the selection criteria.

Organizational Eligibility

The Lacuna Fund aims to make its funding accessible to as many organizations as possible in the AI for social good space and cultivate capacity and emerging organizations in the field. Eligible organizations can be non-profit entities, research institutions, for-profit social enterprises, or teams of such organizations. Individuals must apply through an institutional sponsor. Partnerships are strongly encouraged to strengthen collaboration and maximize the benefits derived from the datasets. The lead applicant will receive the funds. Organizations must have a mission supporting societal good, be headquartered in the country or region where data will be collected, and have all necessary approvals to conduct the proposed research. The geographic focus of this call is Africa and Latin America, but institutions based in other regions can apply as partners of the lead institution.

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