The goal of the Mexico Innovation Fund is to deepen ties between Harvard and Mexican academia in order to address some of the most important issues facing Mexico. The Fund was established through the generous contributions of Harvard alumni and friends in Mexico and is designed to address three focus areas, to be chosen and changed each year. A project supported by the Mexico Innovation Fund should propose policy improvements or provide ideas for action that might help Mexico address the specific issues related to the project. The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) manages the Mexico Innovation Fund.
Projects submitted for consideration to the Mexico Innovation Fund should meet the following conditions:
- The projects must be innovative—innovation is to be understood in its broadest sense. Projects may include technological as well as social innovations. (For example, a new methodology to train teachers could be considered a new technology as well as innovative, as much as a scientifically technical solution within a STEM discipline.)
- The projects must involve evidence-based research leading to measurable outcomes.
- The projects should leverage technology, where appropriate, to “leapfrog” older processes and concepts, especially in areas relating to public policy and urban studies.
- The projects should ideally be transversal, integrated vertically (delving deeply into one subject area) and horizontally (combining multi-sector and multi-disciplinary approaches).
The Mexico Innovation Fund’s priority fields of study are:
1. Sustainable Urban and Regional Development
The future of cities and regions to empower and engage citizens and stimulate their wellbeing and economic capacity, including innovative transfer of knowledge, application of technological solutions to infrastructure challenges, and inclusion and social equity issues involving public health and education. Among the desired impacts of research in this area is new job creation.
2. Science, Technology, and Education
Application of scientific and technological solutions to the Mexican context to address issues like water, energy, and climate change. Research on how successful innovation clusters are created would also be welcome. The impact of technology on employment in Mexico would also be of interest.
3. Empowered Citizenship, State Capacity, and the Rule of Law
Use of technology to improve citizen participation, institutional capacity, and accountability, and to discourage corruption. Research leading to innovative solutions to increase state capacity to address impunity without empowering non-state criminal actors would be welcome.
AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING: The Mexico Innovation Fund will fund projects of up to $100,000. Proposals will be evaluated on how well they meet the priorities outlined above and their potential to generate actionable ideas to improve Mexico’s current condition. The faculty review committee will recommend full funding for final decisions to the DRCLAS executive committee for as many proposals as possible. Regardless of the requested budget, leveraging funding from other sources is considered favorably.
APPLICATION: The application package must include (1) the application form; (2) a proposal of not more than 1,000 words; (3) a letter(s) from collaborating Mexican institution(s); (4) a detailed budget with a list of other funding sources; and (5) a c.v. of the faculty applicant (up to five pages long). In preparing a proposal, the applicant should remember that reviewers may need background information to fully appreciate what might be of obvious importance to someone in another discipline. The proposal must clearly express the hypothesis to be explored, the methods used to collect evidence supporting or refuting the hypothesis, and how outcomes will be measured.
APPLICATION PROCESS: DRCLAS will accept proposals from Harvard faculty members on an annual basis. The deadline for 2019 cycle is May 1. While projects may have multi-year implementation schedules, most projects should be completed within two years. The program will accept only one proposal per applicant per year. Faculty may seek additional funding for the same project or for a new project in subsequent years.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: The applicant must be a Senior Lecturer, Assistant, Associate or full Professor employed full-time by Harvard University in any Harvard Department or School. Applicants from the Harvard Medical School must be an Assistant, Associate or full Professor actively teaching Harvard students at the time of application (undergraduates, GSAS-enrolled Ph.D. students or students enrolled in the two HMS MD programs), and employed by Harvard University. Final decisions about eligibility will be determined during the review process. Mexican counterparts from academia, research institutions, NGO’s, government agencies, and/or corporations must be identified as part of the application process.
REAPPLICATION: In cases where additional clarity or details about a proposal would help the review committee decide on funding, the committee may invite resubmission of a proposal for the next application deadline. Proposals resubmitted in the absence of an invitation will not be evaluated.
RESTRICTIONS: Faculty Grants may not generally be used to cover or supplement faculty salary, research staff salary, student stipends, administrative salaries, indirect costs, or to purchase computer hardware or other office-related equipment. Exceptions will be considered, at the committee’s discretion.
QUESTIONS: For questions regarding the application process or the eligibility criteria, please contact Edwin Ortiz, Manager of Academic Services at DRCLAS, at (617) 496-1588. For help or support in establishing partnerships with Mexican institutions and/or academics, feel free to contact Mauricio Benítez, Program Director, DRCLAS Mexico Office via e-mail or telephone 52 (55) 6821-0251.