Google has opened applications for its third annual Google.org Impact Challenge in Australia, offering not-for-profits and social enterprises a share of $5.5 million to support projects that make innovative use of new technologies.
The four winners will each receive $1 million in grant funding, as well as support from Google volunteers, with one of the winners to be selected by the public as a People’s Choice award winner. An additional six finalists will each be awarded $250,000 for their projects.
Applications are open for submission until July 6, when they will be reviewed by a team at Google and a panel of judges. The 10 finalists will be announced on October 9, with the public given until October 30 to vote on the People’s Choice prize.
The submissions will be judged against four key criteria: the impact of the project, the ability of the project to be scaled, the technical innovation involved, and the feasibility of the plan (including the ability of the team to execute on it).
Projects submitted don’t need to be brand new, and can already be a work in progress. In these cases, Google is advising applicants to explain exactly how a grant will change the trajectory of their progress toward implementation, scale, and impact.
Google also warns that it will not treat the submissions as confidential, meaning that details of the projects will be shared with advisors and possibly others to evaluate the proposal. The company advises against submitting any proprietary or confidential information in the applications.
Winners in previous years include the Fred Hollows Foundation for a low-cost mobile camera to detect and prevent blindness caused by diabetes, as well as Infoxchange’s Ask Izzy web app that connects people experiencing homelessness with social services.
The Google.org Impact Challenge has also supported the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to develop autonomous underwater vehicles to help protect the reef.
In a statement Google vice president of product Anil Sabharwal said many Australian nonprofits already use technology to tackle challenges, and that the 2018 Google.org Impact Challenge would give their big ideas an extra boost.
“Every day, Australian nonprofits and social enterprises are finding new ways to address some of our most challenging social problems – from education and economic opportunity to inclusion,” Sabharwal said.
“We know that technology can be part of the solution. Big ideas, such as using machine learning to help health professionals detect cancer, highlight the transformative potential of technology.
“Australia has a long history of innovating for impact, whether it’s the bionic ear or WiFi. Through the Google.org Impact Challenge we want to champion our emerging innovators.”
Nonprofits and social enterprises are encouraged to apply before 6 July 2018, with more information at: g.co/australiachallenge.