Volunteer Application Evaluator - Securing Water for Food (SWFF)


Organization Information

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), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (MFA-NL) collectively. Through Securing Water for Food, our goal is to source and accelerate innovations in the following areas that will enable the production of more food with less water and/or make more water available for food production, processing, and distribution:

  • Water Efficiency and Reusing Wastewater. Especially when targeted at the food value chain, this is an area that will become a greater necessity as water availability is threatened by competition between industrial, agricultural, and energy uses. Improving water efficiency and reuse has tremendous potential water-saving benefits that may have multiplier effects at various levels of a country’s economy.
  • Water Capture and Storage. These systems are in high demand in many regions where rain occurs at limited times. With projected increases in rainfall variability due to climate change and increased demands for food production, capture and storage systems at various scales are needed to secure water supplies throughout the year and build resiliency to drought and floods. 
  • Salinity and Salt Water Intrusion. In coastal areas, over pumping and rising sea levels are leading to saltwater intrusion, forcing farmers to use marginal quality water for irrigation. With more than 30% of the world’s population living in coastal areas and drawing food supply from fertile deltas, urgent solutions are required to reduce the impacts of salinity on the quality of aquifers and food production.

Location - 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.

Job Description

The Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge for Development (http://securingwaterforfood.org/) 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 3, using SWFF’s established criteria. Key metrics include technical viability, applicability to developing countries, and business viability.

Grand Challenge application evaluators should be undergraduate seniors or graduate students with a background in water, agriculture, technology innovation, or business (particularly those in an MBA program). Evaluators will be expected to participate in training during May (~5 hours total) and work 20 hours/week for 2 weeks on reviewing applicant eligibility and concept notes in June. Concept note review will end on June 19, 2015. If evaluators are interested in continuing to help the program with research, application support, and/or research on Round 3 winners, they may do so as long as there is mutual agreement to continue with SWFF research coordinators.

This opportunity will allow you to:

  • Conduct in-depth reviews of 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

Evaluators will be assigned to a 5-7 person team to work with a representative of SWFF.

Job Responsibilities:

Preparatory Work: All evaluators will be selected by April 30, 2015. Evaluators will then be taken through the following training schedule, which will occur in May 2015:

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

Review of Applications: Evaluators are expected to be available from April 30, 2014-June19, 2014. The review process of concept notes is expected to take 2 weeks between June 1 and June 12. Evaluators should expect to spend 20 hours/week reviewing applicants’ eligibility and concept notes.

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

Job Qualifications:

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

How to Apply:

Send a cover letter and resume to swffinterns@gmail.com by April 10, 2015


April 10, 2015