iLEAD is an African laboratory initiative promoting innovation, novel solutions and social entrepreneurship within the laboratory value chain, with a focus on low-and-middle income countries (LMICs) and priority diseases in these settings. There are five critical areas within the laboratory value chain: patient, specimen, transport, central laboratory testing and system wide connectivity. Innovations can target one or more of these areas. iLEAD works with the ‘end in mind’ and our success is moving innovations through the pipeline towards implementation for impact on patient care. Innovations can enter the pipeline at any phase, depending on the maturity of the concept. Milestones and phase gates will be set, and innovations meeting these targets can pass through the phases of the pipeline to the point of implementation. iLEAD works with a number of implementation partners to whom successful innovations can be presented.

iLEAD subscribes to an open access policy.
IP and patents must allow for affordable access to the technology in LMICs.

What is a LMIC?


WHO Member States are grouped into low and middle-income countries (LMIC) by WHO region, based on the World Bank Group’s classification based on gross national income per capita.

For further information, visit: World Health Organization Website 

What are the priority diseases?


iLEAD focuses on:

  • HIV
  • Tuberculosis
  • Fevers (Malaria, Haemorrhagic Diseases)
  • STIs
  • Non-communicable diseases

However, we will consider other diseases relevant to the African continent.

iLEAD Pipeline Application Process

Website Intake

We invite innovators from across the globe, whose innovation applies to one or more of the 5 innovation themes within the laboratory value chain, to send us your concept note for an initial evaluation for quality and relevance to the iLEAD pipeline.

Send us your Concept

Quality Triage

Your online concept note will be received by the iLEAD core management and reviewed. Upon passing the quality triage, it is referred onto executive steering committee (ESC) for further consideration.

If the ESC are interested in further exploring your innovation, iLEAD will contact you by email and request that your submit a full application; Request for Information (RFI). The quality triage process takes approximately 6 weeks, from time of online submission.

Request for Information Submission

You will be invited by iLEAD to submit your RFI.

Please do not submit an RFI unless your have been requested to do so.

The RFI allows for you to further describe their innovation, including topics such as it’s potential impact in low and middle-income countries, its feasibility and it’s phase of development.

Your RFI will be reviewed and scored by the ESC and expert peer reviewers. iLEAD is fully conversant with intellectual property and privacy around new innovations and thus no RFI will be reviewed without a signed non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between our reviewers and the innovation applicant.

Request for Information Application

Request for Information Scoring

The RFI appliation is scored by the ESC and expert peer reviewers. Using iLEAD’s global collaboration network, the expert peer reviewers are carefully selected according to your innovation.

The time from RFI submission to scoring outcome is approximately 3 months.

Request for Information Selection

The iLEAD ESC and representatives from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) meet on a quarterly basis to review the scores for each RFI, afterwhich an innovation may be invited to enter our pipeline.

You will be informed of the decision, whether your application is successful or not. Successful incumbents will then work with iLEAD’s team of project management experts to ensure their innovation ‘nutured’ througout the pipeline.

What is a Request for Information?


A request for information (RFI) is a means by which your innovation can be evaluated and scored for inclusion in the iLEAD pipeline. Your RFI will be reviewed by the executive steering committee and select peer reviewers. The RFI is a detailed submission of your innovation and seeks its relevance within the laboratory value chain, as well as it’s phase of development. As your RFI application may contain intellectual property (IP), the reviewers of the your RFI will do so under a signed non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

The innovations are scored based on: 

  1. Innovation and relevance to iLEAD
  2. Impact across the laboratory value chain
  3. Technical feasibility
  4. Implementation feasibility
  5. Execution feasibility

The executive steering committee and BMGF (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) meet on a quarterly basis to discuss the scoring of innovations, after which the outcomes of the scoring are conveyed back to the applicant. If an innovation is scored and considered to of be high priority, the executive steering committee will hold an ad-hoc teleconference to review and expedite.