#Data4COVID19 Challenge Announces Awardees, Begins Search for Experts for Challenge Situation Room

Andrew J. Zahuranec
Apr 6 · 2 min read
PHOTO: Unsplash/Fusion Medical Animation is licensed under CC0

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis the likes of which the world has not seen in generations — harming communities around the globe. As countries such as the United States and France sought to harness new and innovative data sources to better understand and respond to the crisis, the data assets in many low- and middle-income countries remained under-developed. Many of these countries were on the African continent, where data stores can be lacking and vaccine access remains limited.

Understanding that policymakers need detailed analysis and practical ideas to guide their decisions, The GovLab joined forces with the French Development Agency and Expertise France launched the #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge. From December 2020 until February 2021, the challenge called upon researchers to submit innovative proposals (re)using data in a collaborative and responsible way to provide actionable intelligence for decision-makers and people to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemic challenges across Africa. Applicants had the opportunity to receive up to EUR 100,000 in funding to support their work.

After a rigorous review process that involved input from a team of international data experts, The GovLab and its partners are excited to announce the challenge awardees. From a pool of 83 proposals covering 22 countries, seven will receive funding. Details on these projects — which center on issues such as the pandemic’s impact on schooling, public attitudes toward the virus, and the risks to HIV-positive individuals — can be found at the challenge website here.

Screenshot of the #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge website

Over the forthcoming weeks, the challenge’s sponsors will be working with the funded projects to ensure they have the support they need to complete their work. Toward that end, we are assembling an online Situation Room to allow project participants to communicate with one another and other data experts who can provide input on methodology and research questions.

If you are a data practitioner and would be willing to be a resource to the projects, please email us at datastewards@thegovlab.org. Your support is essential to guarantee our success.

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