UNIDO Global Call “Innovative Ideas and Technologies vs. COVID-19 and beyond”

Global call narrative – 2020

“Innovative Ideas and Technologies vs. COVID-19 and beyond”

A Global Call for Developing Countries 

A UNIDO ITPO Network initiative


The COVID-19 pandemic will have far reaching and long-term effects on populations and economies worldwide. Besides its immediate impact on health, the socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic are likely to be felt by economic actors over the world, and the populations of developing countries and economies in transition are expected to be among those most vulnerable to suffer from COVID-19-related challenges.

The Global call is aimed at identifying “Innovative Ideas and Technologies vs. COVID-19 and beyond”, namely scalable solutions to cope with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 in developing countries (DCs) and economies in transition, and their respective needs in the transition to post-crisis socioeconomic realities in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The Global call offers an opportunity at international level to identify and promote innovative solutions contributing to tackle COVID-19 effects in developing countries and make their economies more resilient, in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The initiative, inspired by ITPO Italy, is promoted by UNIDO – United Nations Industrial Development Organization – through its network of ITPOs, Investment and Technology Promotion Offices around the world.

Applications must be received by 30 June 2020, at the following link:


The Award Ceremony will be held in live streaming on 14 July 2020 in compliance with the ongoing measures taken worldwide to prevent the spread of the virus.

Art. 1 – Objective of the Contest

The Global call has the objective to identify and promote the best innovative ideas and technologies to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and its aftermath that could be successfully applied in Developing Countries (DCs).

Specifically, priority will be given to the following 4 strategic categories:

  1. Health Emergency
    • Telemedicine
    • Biotechnologies and digital health
    • Prevention and control
  2. Energy and Environment
    • Medical waste management and recycling
    • Renewable energy for healthcare
    • Water management
  3. Food and Agriculture
    • Smart food logistics and distribution
    • Urban farming
    • Inclusive local market ecosystems
  4. Resilient Industries and Infrastructure
    • Manufacturing of protective and medical equipment
    • Distributed networks and fabrication laboratories (“fablabs”)
    • New organizational models

The Global call seeks to create a virtuous cycle of connections between the private, academic, financial, and institutional world to fight COVID-19 and lay the foundations for the recovery.

Furthermore, it offers the opportunity to the winners to present their own innovative ideas and technologies to potential partners in the UNIDO network and to benefit from ad hoc promotional and networking support provided by the organization.

Art. 2 – Admissible Candidates

The proposal can be submitted by:

  • Micro, small, medium, and large companies;
  • Startups;
  • Research centers, incubators, technology transfer offices, university spin-offs, and academia;
  • Public-Private Partnerships;
  • Associations, business consortia and company networks, NGOs, private foundations

The organizers encourage the participation of proposal at any level of development, from early stage ideas to scaled up projects, but also innovative technologies under testing and evidence collection.

Participation in the initiative is free of charge.

Art. 3 – Submission of Applications

Applications must be submitted by 30 June 2020 GMT filling in the following form: https://form.jotform.com/201414204366040

Each participant can submit a maximum of 2 applications. A larger submission of proposals would lead to the exclusion of extra applications based on the order in which they are received.

During the submission phase, applicants are asked to provide personal and non-personal information. This information is collected only with the user’s knowledge and permission, and it is kept in the JotForm Inc. websites, outside UNIDO systems. Personal data will only be used by UNIDO for the following purposes: internal audit, sending communications by email about this Global Call initiative, sending promotional e-newsletter about UNIDO and ITPO Network future initiatives (only if the user accepted through the specific field in the form). Personal and non-personal data will not be made available to third parties without previous applicant’s authorization.

Art. 4 – Admission Criteria

The applications sent by admissible candidates will be submitted to an initial screening phase and will be considered only if complete in all their mandatory parts and consistent with the objectives and themes of the Global call. Only the admissible proposals will enter the evaluation process.

The description of the intervention should not be written in a promotional tone, but use neutral, factual language.

Art. 5 – Evaluation Criteria

The proposals considered as admissible will be evaluated by an ad hoc jury.

The jury in charge of the evaluation and selection of the best innovative technologies and ideas will be composed by highly recognized representatives coming from different backgrounds.

All candidates will be informed about the decisions of the jury. The designation of the winning proposals will be expressed in a collegial way, and the judgment will be considered final.

The composition of the jury, selected on an inclusive basis, will be available soon at the dedicated relevant website.

The evaluation of the proposals will be based on the following criteria, associated with the maximum percentages indicated below:

Innovative content of the proposal 40%
Environmental, social and economic long-term sustainability 30%
Scalability and possibility of extension in different geographical contexts 20%
Expected occupational return 5%
Applicants’ financial involvement 5%

The evaluation process, carried out by the jury on the basis of the above-mentioned percentages, will be cumulative and in line with the highest ethical standards.

The absence of the participants’ conflict of interest, the process’ transparency and tracking, certifications obtained from recognized bodies, and motivations of merit identified by the jury will be considered as key elements in the evaluation process.

The organizers reserve the right to request additional documents and/or clarifications to complement the candidature, if deemed necessary.

Art. 6 – Reward and Award Ceremony

At the end of the selection process the jury will select 4 winners for the following categories:

  • #1 Health Emergency
  • #1 Energy & Environment
  • #1 Food & Agriculture
  • #1 Resilient Industries & Infrastructures

Winners will be contacted in the days following the date of closure of the call for proposals and invited to take part to the Award Ceremony in live streaming scheduled on 14 July 2020 in compliance with the ongoing measures taken worldwide to prevent the spread of the virus.

The winners will also be offered the following services:

  • Opportunity to participate as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at the final Award Ceremony to be virtually organized by UNIDO on 14 July 2020;
  • Realization of an ad hoc web page on the winner innovative idea and / or technology within the UNIDO’s institutional website (unido.org) and assistance in defining a promotional strategy;
  • Opportunity to make use of an exhibition pass and booth space at EuroScience Open Forum 2020 (ESOF2020) to be held in September 2020 in Trieste (Italy);
  • Showcase of winning proposals at Expo Dubai to be held in 2021;
  • Honest brokering services to access, through ad hoc promotional activities, to the worldwide UNIDO and ITPOs network with the aim to guarantee the maximum visibility to the winner proposal and foster the conclusion of international technical, financial and academic partnerships;
  • Advisory and mentorship services concerning the awarded project;