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  • Research Projects: Proposals to support novel or ongoing research that directly contributes to system-level policy changes or groundbreaking innovations that advance Africa’s development. Applicants will have to demonstrate the need for and potential impact of the seed funds on their projects. All proposals will require an endorsement letter from an appropriate supervisor detailing their support for the intended use of the prize money. Potential projects could include travel grants to foster collaboration on the continent, small-scale research projects, or a specific component of a larger research project.


  • Entrepreneurship Projects: Geared towards promoting entrepreneurial initiatives contributing to economic growth and sustainability in Africa. Submissions should include some verifiable evidence of impact and a clear potential for rapid growth.


  • Development Projects: Aimed at supporting impactful initiatives by social enterprises (including for-profit and non-profit non-governmental organisations) that address developmental challenges in Africa. Submissions should include some verifiable evidence of impact and a clear potential for rapid growth.

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  • General

  • Submissions must be focused on making meaningful contributions to Africa’s prosperity.

  • Individuals may apply to the ISF, either as part of a team or on their own.

  • Teams must consist of no more than three members.

  • For Oxford students


  • Applicants must be current students (either undergraduate or postgraduate) at the University of Oxford. If submitting as a team, at least one team member must be a student of the University of Oxford.


  • For students at African universities

  • Applicants must be African nationals.

  • Applicants must be current (either undergraduate or postgraduate) or recently graduated students (within 1 year of graduation) of universities primarily based on the African continent. If submitting as a team, all team members must also meet this criterion.


  • Innovation: This refers to the uniqueness or originality of the submission.

  • Impact: The potential to have a significant positive influence on African communities. This should be heralded by demonstrated impact at a smaller scale in the case of the development and entrepreneurship categories or by a sound, evidence-based rationale in the case of a research submission

  • Scalability: The likelihood of the submission’s impact growing to a larger population, especially with funding from the ISF.

  • Sustainability: the long-term viability of the solution.

  • Relevance: The alignment of the submission to the selected conference themes.

  • Time-bound: The objectives of the ISF must be achieved within one year of receiving the funding.

Selection Panel

  • Finalist selections will be made by a panel consisting of members of the organising committee, experts within the AfriSoc community, and Oxford University Innovation.

  • The final judging panel will consist of workshop and panel speakers and identified world leaders in research, entrepreneurship, and development.

Prizes & Recognition

  • Each category winner will receive a total of £5,000. Funds will be released in installments based on the achievement of pre-specified milestones.

  • There will be a special category for the best African finalist that isn’t a category winner, which will be a total of £5,000.

  • Consolation prizes will be awarded to all the finalists. These may include AfriSoc merchandise and small gadgets.


  • For individual applicants, the finalists will be flown to Oxford to pitch at the conference. In the case of group applications, one member, preferably the designated pitcher, from the finalist group will be brought to Oxford for the pitch. AfriSoc will cover all travel and living expenses incurred during this period.

  • Winners will be offered technical support and mentorship through the Oxford University Innovation Incubator for 6 months post-award reception.

  • Winners and finalists will also be introduced to the wider innovation and entrepreneurship community at the University of Oxford.

Submission Timeline

  • Applications Open: 14th February 

  • Africa Applications Closes: 28th February

  • Oxford Applications Closes: 13th March

  • Review of Applications: 28th February – 13th March

  • Announcement of Finalists:

  •        1st Stream: 15th March

  •        2nd Stream: 28th March

  • Pre-Pitch Preparation: April 16th–May 23rd, including arrangements for travel, visa, and accommodation logistics for African submissions. 

  • Final Pitch: May 24th. On Conference Day 1, finalists will present their submissions to a diverse panel of judges.

  • Awards Ceremony: May 25th. On Conference Day 2, winners will be announced, and prizes will be awarded.

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