Dear Friends of HESN,
The Higher Education Solutions Network has had a busy first few months of 2016. Our development labs have been building partnerships, working closely with USAID Missions, piloting new innovations and research projects, releasing key findings, and extending our network reach. This issue is jam-packed with funding and job opportunities, updates, and exciting developments from HESN, the Global Development Lab, USAID, and our partners. Of particular note, the Zika Grand Challenge was recently announced. If you have an opportunity or story that you'd like featured in the next newsletter, please let us know by emailing dsomers@usaid.gov .
Sincerely,

The HESN Team
TechCon is Coming, We're Looking for Partners!
HESN's TechCon 2016, co-hosted by MIT and USAID in the Boston area November 10-12 will be a unique convening of researchers, students, entrepreneurs and innovators, development experts, field practitioners, and private sector representatives around community and partnership-centered global development work focused on innovation and research. If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact Ashley Heiber ( aheiber@usaid.gov ) to explore partnership opportunities. A call for a limited number of session proposals will be issued soon, keep an eye out!
Updates from HESN Development Labs
AidData and students with their award-winning Astute team at the Dominion Enterprises Hack-U hackathon

AidData , based at the College of William & Mary, has had a busy spring so far. They released their latest data set on Afghanistan, as well as a report that evaluates the use of governance data among policymakers and practitioners in 126 low- and middle- income countries . In you're interested in sustainable development, be sure to read their latest blog post that analyzes how donors can more effectively promote sustainable reform efforts. Finally, get inspired by a profile of two AidData alumni who won a $20K Hackathon grand prize .


MIT's Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation  (CITE) has introduced a g reat new series on Lean Research, an initiative at MIT co-led by IDIN and CITE researchers, as well as colleagues at the Tufts Fletcher School and Root Capital. Check out the first and second blog posts on how they are re-imagining the research process. Next, they ask: How does food aid get from a farmer's field to the communities who need it most? Additionally, MIT just wrapped up the Scaling Development Ventures conference -- see what you missed!
Cassava grater customer trying out her new device.

The International Development Innovation Network (IDIN), also at MIT, is gearing up for four more International Development Design Summits (IDDS) this year. We're excited to see the innovations that emerge from these summits, such as mini cassava graters for women in Ghana, which grew from a summit held in Kumasi and is continuing to give women control over the process and increases their productivity. Watch the lead organizer for the IDDS on cookstoves , Ranyee Chiang, make the case for why improved cookstove designs are still needed at TEDx. Congratulations to Living Goods on their award from the Skoll Foundation. Finally, an interview with Eric Verploegen: Off-Grid Energy Specialist at MIT's D-Lab .

The Center on Conflict and Development  (ConDev), based at Texas A&M University, currently has a team of graduate students working on a capstone project that focuses on the impact of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Check out their blog to see the results of their study so far. Another student, Immanuel Afrolabi, submitted stunning photographs of his work with Boko Haram victims in Nigeria as part of the Student Media Grants program. Lastly, ConDev partner, Sharing the Land, was featured in USAID's Impact Blog on their use of mapping technology to resolve land disputes in the DRC. 

Big Ideas@Berkeley celebrates 10 years
The Development Impact Lab (DIL) at the University of California ­- Berkeley is celebrating Big Ideas@Berkeley's 10th anniversary . Big Ideas@Berkeley students have gone on to do big things, such as winner Emily Woods, who was recognized in the Forbes 30 under 30 for her work on a solar treatment of human waste through her organization Sanivation . DIL researcher and Energy & Resources Group professor Isha Ray speaks about the DIL-supported TriSan project at TEDxBerkeley : "Gender Equality: A view from the loo".

The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) at Michigan State University has been keeping busy! Researchers and farmers in Malawi are studying how to grow several crops in the same space. Before traveling to Malawi, as part of GCFSI's Frugal Innovation Practicum, students spent time in Detroit's Eastern Market to better understand how logistics, supply chain, and local issues impact how a market operates. Finally, a researcher studies insect brain models to make better repellants.

2nd Business Modeling Workshop
The ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) based in Makerere University, Uganda, held its second Business Modeling Workshop and Documentation M-Kits Training for Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab grantees. Congratulations  to Matibabu , RAN's winning innovation team at the Merck Accelerator Program. Matibabu will have the chance to receive three months of mentorship and 25,000 Euros in funding. Finally, RAN's latest Bulletin highlights a bunch of the latest happenings on and off campus.

Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) and IDIN innovator, ayzh, was featured in USAID's Impact Blog . Congratulations to ZanaAfrica , a member of SEAD's 2015 cohort of entrepreneurs, who recently won a 4-year, $2.6 million research grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. SEAD cohort member Noora Health was just named the 45th most innovative company in the world by Fast Company . SEAD just w rapped up their Zika Challenge , which brought  together students to create proposals to combat the spread of the virus. L ast but not least, lessons learned on the road to scaling a global health social venture.

What We're Reading
Here is a roundup of articles and resources that have been circulating through our Network:
How to Turbo-charge Development
Funding and Fellowship

Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for Development 

On April 13th, USAID launched Combating Zika and Future Threats: A Grand Challenge for Development. The Challenge invites global problem solvers to answer the call for groundbreaking ideas to enhance our ability to respond to the current Zika outbreak and generate cutting-edge technologies and approaches that better prepare the world to address disease threats of tomorrow. The Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge will invest up to $30 million in solutions that can help mitigate the spread and impact of the Zika virus by filling critical gaps in the pipeline, and improve our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks. The Challenge seeks innovative ideas that address key challenges and opportunities in vector control, personal and household protection, healthcare worker safety, surveillance, clinic and laboratory systems, diagnostics, sample transport, community engagement, and healthcare worker tools. Applications will be accepted starting April 29th. Learn more .

Agricultural Innovation Challenge
Interested in applying human-centered design to agricultural innovation? Do you have an idea or innovation that seeks to address problems facing agricultural development? Consider applying for OpenIDEO 's  Agricultural Innovation Challenge, which offers grants from $5,000 to $150,000 for innovations that reduce agricultural waste and improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers. Categories include innovations that improve access to markets, ensure farmers' access to relevant information, utilize new technological methods, and provide financial services. Learn more and apply by May 2 here .

Blue Economy Challenge
The Challenge, funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid), aims to crowdsource the world for transformational aquaculture technologies and systems that will grow economies, improve the lives of the poor, and achieve positive environmental and social impacts. Ninety percent of aquaculture occurs in the developing world where lack of access to current technologies and capital, coupled with weak regulation, are barriers to change. The goal of the challenge is to encourage innovations that will revolutionize aquaculture in the developing world with a focus on the Indian Ocean region, where transformations in aquaculture can help eradicate poverty, end hunger, and preserve ecosystems. Deadline for applications is June 30.

Global Innovation Exchange: Science, Technology and Innovation Call to Action

The Global Innovation Exchange and the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs is launching a Call to Action for innovators, scientists, and entrepreneurs worldwide to submit their innovations as workable solutions for sustainable development. By participating in the Call to Action, your innovation could be showcased at the United Nations STI Forum June 6-7. Learn more here .


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