Many of the great development challenges – water, infectious diseases, food insecurity, energy, climate change, connectivity, and biodiversity loss – have at their origins or find their solutions through science, technology and innovation. Many of the biggest leaps forward in development over the last decades were possible because of major breakthroughs in science and technology (S&T). Today, through investments in S&T, USAID is harnessing the same forces that yielded the great breakthroughs of the past to transform more lives than ever before. S&T is now a core component of USAID Forward, the Agency’s ambitious reform agenda launched in 2010.

USAID-related science and technology programs create accessible solutions to global development challenges.  Photo credit: Zahur Ramji (AKDN)

In USAID’s Office of Science and Technology, our goal is to use the transformative power of science and technology to deliver innovative, results driven, efficient, cost effective, and accessible solutions to global development challenges. To recognize and celebrate USAID-supported projects and activities that successfully apply S&T to the development challenges of our age, the USAID Office of Science and Technology (OST) is excited to announce the Agency’s first-ever Science and Technology Pioneers Prize contest.

We know that throughout the world, many projects and activities funded by USAID are demonstrating a commitment to achieving results through the successful application of science and technology. This prize will champion the excellent S&T work already being done in the field by USAID and our partners.

We recognize that some of the best and most innovative ideas come from our development partners – from host country governments to local NGOs, to innovators on the ground. If your organization is working on a USAID-supported project that uses S&T to advance development, we want to hear about it! We are particularly looking for new and technologically sophisticated ways of delivering services and achieving development outcomes – and then celebrating and recognizing them.

Winning projects will receive special recognition from USAID and public visibility through USAID platforms. Both the project or activity and the team of people responsible for the design and implementation of the S&T innovation (including USAID personnel, staff from implementing partners, government counterparts, and private sector organizations, both local and international) will be recognized for the achievement.

Submissions will be judged using the following criteria:

Effective application of Science and Technology: What specific development problem was the intervention designed to address, and how?

Evaluation and learning:  What evidence, reports, or assessments was the project design based on? Was there a systematic effort to understand the extent to which the project/activity was effective?

Alignment with USAID and Mission Strategy: How did science and technology play a direct role in achieving the development objectives?

Replicability: Could this approach (or elements of it) be implemented in other regions or countries?

Leveraging funding:  How has the project leveraged funding from other donors, governments, and/or the private sector?

If you have an eligible project, work with your counterparts at USAID to submit an application by March 22.

For contest details and eligibility, please email: