The Fund for Innovation in Development (FID) is up and running! Its first call for projects has just been launched, and the Fund is now putting into action the commitment by the French President to modernize France’s official development assistance, in line with the recommendations made in a report by the French parliamentarian Hervé Berville.
The FID is chaired by Esther Duflo, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics. Launched last December at the first meeting of the Presidential Council for Development, this unprecedented and far-reaching funding mechanism will stimulate, accelerate, and implement innovative approaches to development. In responding to the great global challenges in development, it will base its choices on rigorous scientific evaluation and experimentation.
FID is open to initiatives implemented in low- and middle-income countries and that target the poorest. The innovations it will fund can come from any sector, and their scope is not strictly defined: they may be technical, social, environmental, or involve governance, processes, or other issues. But FID prioritizes the sectors of education (with emphasis on girls’ schooling), health, the environment, and gender equality.
FID is hosted by AFD under a management agreement with France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery. It has its own governance and operating system.
Funding in the form of grants will be made available to proposed projects from all types of organizations, including research institutions, NGOs, governments, businesses and others. The budget for FID’s first year is €15 million.
Read more: our “Shared innovation” section.
FID will test new ideas and experiment and demonstrate innovations that work, on the basis of proven scientific evaluation approaches. It will then engage in large-scale implementation of the most efficient solutions that show potential positive impact.
Support from FID will help France’s partners improve their public policies. It will also promote knowledge sharing among stakeholders in the research and development community.
Esther Duflo, on “developing solutions ready for widespread use”:
“There are many promising ideas, policies and programs that can reduce poverty, but it’s only by rigorously testing them that can we identify which ones actually work,” says Esther Duflo. “Developing scientific evidence on how these ideas can work at different scales and in different contexts can help us learn from experience and develop sustainable solutions ready to be put to widespread use. Innovation can be a vehicle for change, but it’s a process that requires multiple steps and a flexible funding structure to realize its potential.”