Apply now!

The application is open from October 2, 2019 - March 1, 2020 (11:59 PM EST - New York)


Scroll down to read important information about the Grand Challenge, including: link to the online application; download the Grand Challenge Innovator’s Handbook; read the evaluation criteria; read the challenge scope, rules, and guidelines. The following information is available for download in the Grand Challenge Innovator’s Handbook.

Applications must be created and submitted online by the deadline, March 1, 2020.


Applications will be created and submitted through the Survey Monkey Apply online platform. Applicants will need to register and create an account with Survey Monkey. The “Apply Here” button below will take you to the Survey Monkey Apply site.


Download the Grand Challenge Innovator’s Handbook

Review the Grand Challenge rules, guidelines, and application questions in the Innovator’s Handbook.

Application Evaluation Criteria

The total prize pool is worth $750,000 with $100,000 earmarked for the Microsoft Artisanal Mining AI for Earth Award. All eligible applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria.

1. Impact
Biodiversity Conservation | Water Quality, Quantity, and Hydrology | Human Security | No Inadvertent Impacts
This Grand Challenge seeks innovations that will have tangible, net-positive impacts on biodiversity conservation, water resources (including quality, quantity, and hydrology), and/or  improve human health and/or human security. Applicants must also acknowledge and propose mitigation efforts for any significant inadvertent effects that the innovation may have on biodiversity conservation, water resources, environmental security, human health, and human security.
2. Design of the Innovation
Transformative | Novel | Creative | Technical Feasibility
This Grand Challenge seeks innovations that are technically feasible, demonstrate a thorough understanding of the specific need (e.g. problem), and are thoughtfully designed to address the specific need. In addition, it seeks transformative innovations that are different from those currently being deployed and have the potential to transform ASM for the better.
3. Adoption and Scalability
Adoption | Adaptability
This Grand Challenge seeks innovations that are designed with the users/customers in-mind throughout the design and the deployment of the innovation in order to increase the likelihood of mass adoption of the innovation.
4. Business and Financial Viability
Financial Sustainability
This Grand Challenge seeks innovators that demonstrate an understanding of how they will finance their innovation over time, if and how it will generate revenue, and what risks need to be mitigated in order for it to be viable.

Header Image (above): Ocean Alliance (, Runoff from ASGM in Gabon
The Grand Challenge image (below): James McQuilken/Pact


The Grand Challenge


Artisanal and small scale-mining has many environmental and social costs such as water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and adverse impacts on human health.

The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge is built to tackle these growing problems by incentivizing and rewarding the creation and/or adoption of new hardware and software products, platforms, and digital solutions that will make artisanal, small-scale, and informal mining operations more environmentally responsible and socially equitable.

The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge is a $750,000 competition to inspire and identify solutions that:

  • Demonstrate potential to be financially viable and improve the negative environmental and social impacts within the ASM sector.

  • At a minimum, are ready to be piloted in a relevant environment and have proof of potential for adoption by users.

  • Are creative & novel. This includes the new application of innovations from other fields.


  • Solutions that are in the concept and research phase.

  • Pure policy solutions.

Instructions for submitting an application

Applications will be created and submitted through the Survey Monkey Apply online platform. You will need to register and create an account to start your application. You can access the Survey Monkey Apply online platform at:

If you already have a Survey Monkey account associated with your email address, you may need to reset your password. You might also need to verify your email address. Pay attention to the instructions while creating your Survey Monkey Apply account and read emails sent from “

After you create your account in Survey Monkey Apply:

  • Select the “Apply” button in the Survey Monkey Apply portal. A text box will pop-up asking you to “Name your application.”  Write an appropriate title for your innovation in this text box.

  • Complete the three “tasks” in the application: Demographic Information Form, First Round Technical Submission, and a short video/image upload.

  • Note that you may add collaborators to the application. Collaborators can view and edit the application.

  • You must complete all of the required “tasks'“ in the application and select “Review and Submit” by the deadline.

All applicants will be asked to “agree” to the following Participation Terms and Conditions before submitting their applications in the Survey Monkey Apply online platform

Participation Terms and Conditions

The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge, hereafter referred to as the “Challenge”, the Challenge administrators at Conservation X Labs (the "Administrators") and the coalition of the partners and collaborators (the “Coalition”) request the Participant, hereafter referred to as “You” to carefully read the below Terms and Conditions for participating in the Challenge.

By registering for the Challenge, it is understood that You have read the below Terms and Conditions in full. You agree that your registration automatically grants your approval and acceptance of all of the Participation Terms and Conditions for the entire duration of the Challenge. 

Application documents

All application documents submitted for the purpose of the Challenge must be in the English language only. Only complete applications received by the deadline will be considered. However, the Administrators reserve the right to consider any application after the deadline on a case-by-case basis. Application documents once submitted will not be returned. By submitting an application, you accept these conditions for participation.

Participation Fee

No fees will be charged to participate in or apply to the Challenge.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is March 1st, 2020, 11:59PM New York, Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5hr). 


The Coalition is responsible for recommending external reviewers and judges, and making recommendations on the prize-winning teams. However, as the disbursers of the prize funds, CXL (the Administrator) is responsible for certifying and implementing all final decisions in the Challenge.  

Personal Information

You give your consent to the Administrators to collect and use your personal information (name and email contact) for the purpose of administering the Challenge, within and outside your country. The Administrators shall not disclose or convey your personal information to third parties, except to entrusted members of the Coalition for purposes related to this competition. The Administrators will ask permission to share your personal information for marketing of the competition and other opportunities that may arise from participation in the Competition. 

The name of the lead author on each application will be shared during the Peer Feedback stage if you are participating in that process. 

International data transfer

The Challenge website is operated in the United States. By using it, You consent to have your personal information transferred, processed and stored in the United States.

Use of Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge resources

You can view, copy, print, display, transmit and distribute publications, documents and other content found on the Challenge website, including the data, information, reports, that other participants share with You, for your personal, non-commercial use, but not for any other purpose.

Information regarding application submission

By submitting your application, You are ensuring that You hold full legal rights, You are providing it gratuitously and without restriction, or possess all permissions and waivers to submit this for the purpose of the Challenge. In the case that a group of organizations, teams, or individuals are participating as one team, the team leader (submitting the application) will make this representation on behalf of all the associated members. You agree to defend and hold the Challenge and its Administrators, along with the Coalition and its representatives, agents, donors, attorneys, and affiliates (“parties”) harmless if You or anyone else claims otherwise that they have rights in your design or content or if your design or content otherwise violates the law. You agree to indemnify and hold the Challenge, Administrators, Coalition, and parties harmless from any damage, cost or expense incurred in connection with any third-party claim asserted against the Challenge, Administrators, Coalition, and its parties: arising from, related to, or connected with your comments, your designs, your submission, your use of our Challenge website, or your violation of any law, rights or privacy policies. Any expenses that are incurred by the Administrators as a result of claims from third parties shall be fully recoverable from You and will result in disqualification from the Challenge. 

Intellectual Property

You are responsible for applying for legal protection for any intellectual property that you believe forms part of your application. You will enter the competition at your own risk if You have not provisionally filed for intellectual property (IP) protection prior to entering the Challenge. You can be assured that any IP, whether granted or contained within a provisional application, will be protected throughout the application and review process of the Challenge. Protecting the IP of participants is a core priority of the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge coalition. 

Interaction with other participants

If You use Conservation X Labs’ Digital MakerSpace, we may offer opportunities for interactive activities, which may enable You and other participants to communicate with each other directly or to post information and other material that will be visible to others outside of the Administrators. If You wish to take advantage of these opportunities and post, publish, or communicate anything outside of the confidentiality provision of the formal application process (from raw data to software to photographs and beyond), this content will be seen by other users, so please choose carefully the information that you post. Do not submit any of your content or information that You consider being confidential or proprietary through these interactive activities. The Administrators cannot be held liable, accountable or responsible for what you post on the Digital MakerSpace.

Peer Feedback Stage

Your application score will incorporate the feedback you provide to your fellow competitors as described in the “Peer Feedback and Review Stage” section of the Challenge Innovator’s Handbook. You will be given access to one or more of your peers’ applications in order to provide your feedback. You are expected to treat fellow competitors’ applications as Confidential Information. By submitting your application, you agree not to share any peer application information without consent from the Administrators. 

You will have the chance to opt-out of allowing peers to review your application. However, all applicants (You) must participate in providing feedback to peers who agree to share their applications.

Third-party sites

If You are using the Challenge website, where we provide hypertext links to other locations on the internet, we do so for information purposes only. We are not responsible for the content of any other third-party sites or other pages linked from or linking to this site. We have not verified the content of any such sites. Following links to any other sites or pages shall be at your own risk and we shall not be responsible or liable for any damages or in another way in connection with linking.  We are not responsible for webcasting or any other form of transmission received from any linked site. No endorsement or approval of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, product or services is expressed or implied by any information on our site. You cannot set up a link from your site to our site without a prior written confirmation from us.

Governing Law

These Participation Terms and Conditions and our relationship with You will be governed exclusively by laws in force in Washington, D.C., USA. Any litigation arising out of or relating to the Artisanal Mining Challenge must be filed and pursued exclusively in the Courts of Washington, D.C., USA and you consent to the jurisdiction of and venue in such courts. If either of us resorts to legal action relating to the participation, the prevailing party will be entitled to an award of all its costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.  Prior to filing any litigation claim, we both agree to seek mediation with a third party, not directly associated with the claim and selected by mutual agreement from the standing members of the review committee of the Challenge, in an effort to resolve any dispute.