USAID Applications for Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) Program

USAID Applications for Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) Program

  • Funding
  • innovation

Deadline: 31 March 2021

Location: Worldwide

Budget: $200,000 - $1,500,000

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Global Development Lab, invites applications for the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program.

DIV recognizes that innovation can take multiple forms. Some examples of development innovations that DIV may support include the following:

  • New technologies;
  • New ways of delivering or financing goods or services;
  • More cost-effective adaptations to existing solutions;
  • New ways of increasing uptake of existing proven solutions and scaling to new geographies;
  • Policy changes or shifts based on insights from behavioral economics;
  • Social or behavioral innovations; and
  • Data collection and rigorous evaluation to measure the social impacts of promising innovations.

Stages of Financing

  • STAGE 1: Pilot ≤ $200,000
    • Purpose: DIV funds Stage 1 awards to support the piloting of innovations in a developing country context. DIV supports only those innovations that are at the post-prototype-stage and are ready to be field-tested. Examples of activities that Stage 1 awards may support include assessment of the demand from the public or private sector for the innovation, exploration of different delivery models, conducting further user testing on an existing prototype, and documenting social outcomes and real world costs to implement the solution. While not required, applications for innovations with some existing piloting or that have a theory of change that is backed by rigorous evidence of causal impact (e.g., randomized controlled trials (RCTs), etc.) are stronger.
  • STAGE 2: Testing & Positioning for Scale ≤ $1,500,000
    • Purpose: DIV funds Stage 2 awards to support the further testing and expansion of innovations beyond the piloting stage. Applicants for Stage 2 awards will have already conducted successful pilot testing and are now ready to rigorously test an innovation’s impact or market viability.
    • For innovations that are designed to scale publicly, successful applicants must either already have rigorous evidence of causal impact or conduct a rigorous evaluation of causal impact during the award. Applicants may also use award funds to simultaneously expand operations in ways that would position the innovation to transition to scale, e.g., by testing alternative approaches to implementation or by finding ways to satisfy requirements for scaling that are likely to be imposed by long-run funders.
  • STAGE 3: Transitioning to Scale ≤ $5,000,000
    • Purpose: DIV funds Stage 3 awards to transition proven approaches from piloting and testing to widespread scaling in new contexts or new geographies. Applicants should have completed the activities for Stage 2 innovations, with or without prior DIV support. Specifically, applicants should have already demonstrated either rigorous evidence of causal impact and a convincing case based on this impact measurement that the intervention would be cost-effective at scale (for public scaling) or market viability (for commercial scaling) at the time of their Stage 3 application. Successful Stage 3 applicants must collect data on costs and social outcomes during the award and may use award funds to adapt the innovation to new contexts, to prepare the innovation for scaling, to conduct further testing of the extent to which the evidence of an innovation’s impact is applicable in new geographies or settings, and to kickstart the scaling process.
  • EVIDENCE GENERATION ≤ $1,500,000
    • DIV is committed to generating evidence on the causal impact of widely implemented development approaches that still lack sufficient rigorous evidence of impact and cost effectiveness. DIV accepts applications for Evidence Generation grants for evaluations of development approaches that are widely used but do not already have sufficient evidence from rigorous evaluations of causal impact, even if those development approaches are not innovative. Evidence Generation grants fit within the larger DIV mission because if an approach that is evaluated under an Evidence Generation grant is found to be ineffective, then development implementers could innovate by not using the approach or by trying a modified version of the approach. Applicants for Evidence Generation grants are invited to apply on their own or in partnership with an implementer (e.g., a host country government, social enterprise, nonprofit, etc.), and applicants should note such partnerships in response to the application question on key partner organizations.


DIV awards are typically grants with a maximum of three (3) years in length.

Eligibility Criteria

  • DIV welcomes applications from individuals; public, private, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations; institutions of higher education; faith-based organizations; public international organizations; non-governmental organizations; U.S. and non-U.S. governmental organizations; multilateral and international donor organizations. To be eligible under this APS, applicants must be responsive to this APS and must be sufficiently responsible to perform or participate in the final award.
  • Awards are also contingent on DIV’s ability to obtain concurrence from the responsible USAID Mission.
  • Applicants that are organizational entities must be legally recognized under applicable law. Local organizations are eligible and encouraged to apply, as well as consortia of local organizations.
  • Participation of foreign government entities is possible only through an approved subaward agreement with a prime recipient.
  • USAID encourages applications from new partners. Awards to new partners may require USAID to undertake necessary pre-award reviews of these organizations to determine “responsibility” with respect to fiduciary and other oversight responsibilities of the award.

For more information