Design Governance Solutions for Responsible AI: 
CIFAR Solution Networks

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Notice: The call for expressions of interest (EOIs) is now closed. CIFAR thanks all applicants. Applicants that have been invited to submit full proposals will be notified by Wednesday, November 18, 2020,11:59 pm EST. Evaluation and review criteria of full proposals will be provided at this time. 

A Solution Network is a global team of cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary experts who design and develop responsible and beneficial AI solutions. 

For this Solution Network Call, CIFAR’s AI & Society Program, in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is seeking EOIs for a team to develop AI governance solutions to support responsible AI in low-middle income countries. 

CIFAR and IDRC are offering flexible funding support for eligible research and development (R&D) activities for one successful network over three years to design, develop and implement a novel AI governance solution. The successful Solution Network receives:

  • $60,000 Cdn. per year for each co-director (up to two);  

  • $25,000 Cdn. per year for each core team member (up to four) to support R&D related to the Network;

  • Up to $60,000 Cdn. for each year to support collaborative efforts directly associated with advancing the network’s activities;

  • Financial and logistical support for meetings (either in-person or virtually) twice per year.

The Opportunity
AI-enabled technologies have the potential to address challenges and provide positive benefits in low-middle income countries. However, these technologies need to be bolstered by tools and governance solutions to ensure their responsible, ethical, transparent, and sustainable use.

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The Solution Network will support the deployment of beneficial AI through defined prototypes, practices, inventions and tools for governing machine learning systems. The governance solution could apply to any sector, including government, industry, health care, agriculture, education and civil society.

The call for EOIs closes November 2, 2020.
Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by January 17, 2021.  The successful Network will be announced March 31, 2021. 


The Solution Network should be made up of an international, cross-sectoral (public, private and/or non-profit) team and should:  

  • be led by two co-directors and composed of up to four additional members.

  • have at least one member based in Canada, and at least one member based in the setting where the solution will be applied (low-middle income country).

  • include at least one faculty member of a post-secondary institution (specializing in data science, AI ethics, law, or relevant social science)

  • include at least one member from one of the following:

    • Non-profit;

    • Government organization; or

    • Public sector

  • consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the team composition. 

CIFAR is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. We recognize that bringing together individuals from multiple backgrounds, perspectives and experiences is integral to advancing excellence and increasing the impact of our organization. Ensuring that every person feels valued and welcome is vital to achieving our mission, and embodies our values of diversity, excellence, respect and collaboration.

The solution funded through this call should be focused on a LMIC as defined by The World Bank. Solutions focused in these regions/countries will not be accepted:  Eastern Europe, Cairo, Iran, Iraq, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), and Yemen. 

Note: IDRC has scientific and technical cooperation agreements with a number of governments of recipient countries, establishing cooperation frameworks and defining the rights and obligations of both IDRC and those governments. Any Solution Network member (and/or their institution) selected to receive funding may be required to obtain country approval to undertake the project in accordance with these agreements prior to receiving funding from IDRC. In particular, all applicants from India require clearance through the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Please note that applicants submitting proposals for the solution in India will need to provide a copy of the FCRA approval. The FCRA approval must also be attached for any other organization receiving IDRC funds based in India.

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Solution Networks is supported by the CIFAR’s AI & Society Program, a key pillar of the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy