SWFF Seeks Undergraduate Seniors or Graduate Students for Grand Challenge Round 4 Call for Entries Evaluation

Undergraduate seniors or graduate students with a background in water, ag, tech innovation or business, would you like to be part of solving some of the world’s greatest challenges for development?

USAID is now recruiting Application Evaluators for the Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge for Development.

Securing Water for Food is seeking volunteer application evaluators to review incoming concept notes from water innovators from across the globe. Evaluators will be responsible for concept note analysis and scoring of applications for SWFF Round 4, using SWFF’s established criteria. Key metrics include technical viability, sustainability, applicability to developing countries, and business viability.

Evaluators will be expected to participate in online training during October 17 – October 24 (~4 hours total) and work 20 hours/week for 3 weeks on reviewing applicant eligibility and concept notes. Concept note review will take place October 24-November 14.

If evaluators are interested in continuing to help the program with application support and/or research on Round 4 winners, they may do so as long as there is a mutual agreement.

This opportunity will allow you to conduct in-depth reviews with an estimated about 40 innovations; collaborate with a team of interdisciplinary reviewers from other universities and mentors at USAID; be part of one of the leading new mechanisms in international development for discovering breakthrough solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

To apply, send a cover letter and resume to swffinterns@gmail.com by September 21, 2016.

Launched at the 2013 World Water Week in Stockholm, Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (MFA-NL), and the Department of Science and Technology South Africa, collectively. Through Securing Water for Food, our goal is to source and accelerate innovations in to enable the production of more food with less water and/or make more water available for food production, processing, and distribution.

Learn more about our innovators here.

Scope of Work

Preparatory Work: All evaluators will be selected by October 3, 2016. Evaluators will then be taken through the following training schedule, which will occur October 17 – October 24, 2016:

  1. Introductory Webinar to explain the Water GCD and the evaluation criteria. (1 hour including Q&A)
  2. Guided Practice 1 Webinar. How to evaluate concept notes. (1.5 hours including Q&A)
  3. Guided Practice 2 Webinar. How to evaluate concept notes. (1.5 hours including Q&A)
  4. Independent Practice. Evaluate Sample concept notes. (done offline and then sessions set up to discuss results)

Review of Applications: The review process of concept notes is expected to take 3 weeks between October 24 – November 14, 2016.


All work is completed remotely. Training sessions and concept review discussions are coordinated by USAID, but Concept Note review is self-paced. All positions are volunteer.


  1. Attendance at all training sessions.
  2. Independent Practice Concept Note reviews.
  3. About 40 concept note reviews, as well as related discussions with Securing Water representative.


  1. Current university undergraduate senior or graduate student with a background in water, agriculture, technology innovation, or business (particularly those in an MBA program)
  2. Strong communicator, both written and verbal
  3. Detail oriented
  4. Background/experience in international development issues, science and technology, entrepreneurship, or business and financing strategies desirable, but not mandatory
  5. Ability to communicate technical and non-technical information clearly to scientists and engineers and to non-technical people
  6. Ability to work with minimal supervision
  7. Interest in social impact businesses and enterprises

Application Timeline

  1. Application deadline: September 21, 2016
  2. Selections made by: October 3, 2016
  3. Training conducted: October 17 – October 24, 2016
  4. Applicant eligibility/concept notes review takes place: October 24 – November 14, 2016. Evaluators should expect to spend 20 hours/week reviewing applicants’ eligibility and concept notes.

Reporting and Working Relationships

Evaluators will be assigned to a 5-7 person team to work with a representative of Securing Water for Food. E-mail swffinterns@gmail.com with questions.