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Innovation Competition

Innovation Competition

Public eHealth Innovation and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean (eSAC)


Call for Concept Notes:
Equity-Oriented, ICT-based Public Health Solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean

The deadline for submission has been extended until January 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM EST


UPDATE: The call for concept notes for the Innovation Competition is now closed. We thank all participants!

Public eHealth Innovation and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean (eSAC) ( is a project that aims at improving the health of disadvantaged groups and contributing to the advancement of equity in health in the Region, by nurturing and promoting innovation in public health that is based on information and communication technologies (ICTs). eSAC uses the term ‘Public eHealth’ to identify any ICT-based application related to the different aspects of public health and related disciplines. The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and jointly implemented by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the People, Health Equity and Innovation Research Group (Phi Group) at the University of Toronto.

Through this call, eSAC hopes to stimulate creativity and intellectual cooperation in the Region by promoting the development and sharing of highly innovative, effective, pleasantly ingenious and simple Public eHealth solutions with the potential to promote equity in health.

eSAC invites researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean to submit innovative ICT-based solutions to problems and challenges in public health. The application process includes two stages: submission of concept notes; and, after a first round of reviews, invited submission of full proposals.

Submission Categories
Concept notes can be submitted in two separate categories.
Field-Tested Solutions (Cat. A): open to concept notes describing fully-developed solutions/prototypes that have already been successfully field tested and whose application could be either scaled up or expanded to different population groups or settings.
Proof of Concept (Cat. B): open to concept notes describing solutions/prototypes at an early stage of development, whose theoretical feasibility has been demonstrated but that have not been field-tested, yet.

Innovation Awards
The three best solutions in Cat. A will be awarded cash prizes of Can$15,000, Can$10,000, and Can$5,000, respectively. The three best solutions in Cat. B will be awarded Can$5,000, Can$3,000 and Can$2,000, respectively.

The call is open to:
- researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, working either individually or in teams;
- academic institutions, research centres, and not-for-profit organizations.
- startup companies (i.e.: newly created companies still experimenting with their business model, products and services).

Principal applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of one of the countries in the Latin American and Caribbean Region. Companies, academic institutions, and other organizations must be headquartered in the Region. Each principal applicant is allowed to submit no more than one proposal.

Selection Process and Criteria
Concept notes will be reviewed by an international panel of experts including representatives of PAHO, the University of Toronto, and IDRC. Each submission will be independently assessed, under double blind conditions, by two reviewers. Concept notes will be evaluated according to the following list of criteria.

Relevance: does the proposed solution address a clearly identified and properly described/quantified public health priority in the region?
Equity focus: does the proposed solution address a public health problem that disproportionally affects marginalized population groups?
Innovative value: does the proposed solution adopt a novel approach to the solution of a problem or challenge?
Elegance: does the proposed solution employ a simple, pleasantly ingenious technical approach?
Appropriateness: is the proposed solution designed taking into consideration the environmental, ethical, cultural, social, and political circumstances in which the target population lives?
Openness: does the proposed solution promote the use of open source, non-proprietary, free or quasi-free tools?
Affordability: is the proposed solution accompanied by a discussion of how it can be brought to market so that it can be afforded by the intended user population(s)?
Sustainability: does the proposal include a well-thought strategy aimed at harnessing extra resources and securing long-term sustainability?

Concept notes must be submitted online in English, Portuguese, or Spanish, by 5pm EST on January 11, 2013..

Applicants whose concept notes have been shortlisted will be invited to prepare a full proposal. Details about this phase will be posted by the end of December 2012

Disclosure of Information and Treatment of Intellectual Property
Applicants retain the intellectual property of their contributions but grant eSAC and its partners a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, copy for use, and publicly display or distribute the submitted materials, and any parts of them, for the exclusive purpose of administering and operating the competition, promoting submissions to others, promoting eSAC, and advocating and better understanding the field of Public eHealth and health equity.

Contact Information
For further information, please:
go to to share your questions or comments with the eSAC community; or
contact Dr. Andrea Cortinois at, including "Innovation Competition" in the subject line; or
call us at +1-202-905-0510