Submit an Idea

At the start of each annual cycle, the Lab holds an open call for ideas for financial instruments and early stage businesses that can unlock investment to tackle some of the most difficult sustainable development challenges.

The deadline for submissions for the 2018 cycle has now passed. Thank you for your interest.

Key dates

➤ September 20th, 2017: Call for ideas opens

➤ November 2nd: Webinar. View the recording here

➤November 21st: Portuguese-language webinar for the Brasil Lab. Recording here.

➤ November 28th, 23:59 PST: Deadline for idea submissions to the Global Lab and the Fire Awards

➤ December 7th, 23:59 PST: Deadline for idea submissions to the Brasil Lab and the India Lab

➤ Early February, 2018: Idea proponents are notified of selection

This call for ideas encompasses four programs, each with distinct priorities. If you apply by November 28th for Global Lab and Fire Awards or December 7th for Brasil Lab and India Lab, and you are not selected for the program to which you applied, you will be considered for the others if eligible.

The Global Lab seeks ideas to scale up finance in mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. The Global Lab focuses on ideas that leverage public or “blended” finance to drive large-scale private sector investment.

In this call, the Global Lab will have a special emphasis on climate resilience, sustainable urbanization, and ideas from Southern Africa, although ideas outside those sectors are also solicited.

The India Lab seeks ideas to accelerate investment in infrastructure for green growth in India. Like the Global Lab, the India Lab emphasizes ideas that leverage public or “blended” finance to drive large-scale private sector investment.

In this call for ideas, the India Lab will have a priority focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transport, although ideas outside those sectors are also solicited.

The Brasil Lab identifies, develops, and supports implementation of transformative climate finance instruments that can drive funds for Brazil’s national climate priorities. The Brasil Lab also emphasizes ideas that leverage public or “blended” finance to drive large-scale private sector investment.

In this call for ideas, the Brasil Lab is seeking ideas that can address the priority sectors identified in Brazil’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement.

The Fire Awards for Sustainable Finance accelerate powerful, early-stage pilots and businesses that can unlock finance for clean energy and green growth.

*CPI, the Fire Awards Secretariat, is still in the process of confirming funding for a full 2017-2018 cycle of the Fire Awards. Therefore, prospective applicants should note there is a small chance the  Fire Awards will not be able to move forward with selection of finalists to present at the 2018 BNEF Future of Energy Summit. We still encourage prospective applicants to make a submission to ensure consideration of their idea should we be able to confirm funding for a full cycle of the Fire Awards in early 2018. 

Why enter?

Selected ideas will receive guidance and support from high-level leaders from both the public and private sectors, who contribute expertise, political capital, and financial capital to the instruments. See the full list of Lab Members here.

Selected ideas will also benefit from robust analysis, stress-testing, and development by Climate Policy Initiative’s team of experts.

Investors and business leaders who will hear your pitch at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit (for Fire Awards finalists)


value of analytical and communications support received by Global Lab, India Lab, and Brasil Lab winners


mobilized by Lab instruments endorsed in previous cycles

What are we looking for?

Successful ideas are selected by Lab Members and other experts based on the following criteria:


Identifies (1) the type of entity(ies) that could implement it, (2) the pathway towards implementation, including the timeframe, activities, and key milestones, and (3) possible challenges to implementation and related management strategies.


Demonstrates the ability to address, directly or indirectly, barriers to private climate finance that (1) have not yet been addressed or (2) that will be addressed more effectively compared to other instruments in the market.



Demonstrates potential to (1) mobilize private climate capital within a sizeable market, (2) be scaled up or replicated in other contexts and, (3) achieve socioeconomic, development, and environmental impacts.

Financially Sustainable

Identifies (1) a strategy to phase out public financial support, thereby achieving market viability and (2) possible challenges to achieving its intended objectives and related management strategies.

What happens if my idea is selected?

Brasil, India, and Global Lab:

If your idea is selected by Lab Members, you will work with a team of analysts, key stakeholders, and experts to:

✓  Develop or refine the mechanics of your idea

✓  Survey comparable instruments, ensuring the final instrument is innovative and impactful

✓  Develop robust financial modeling

✓  Assess and document potential social and environmental impacts

✓  Map risks and risk mitigation strategies

✓  Develop a detailed implementation plan

✓  Produce promotional content

✓  Present your idea to donors and investors

✓  Potentially receive endorsement from the Lab

Fire Awards:

If your initiative is selected by Advisors, you will work with a team of analysts, communications specialists, and industry experts to:

✓  Develop a 3-minute pitch for the BNEF Future of Energy Summit

✓  Deliver your pitch to 1000 investors and leaders who attend the BNEF Summit

✓  Outline a 6-month work plan defining outputs required for success

If your initiative is voted a winner at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit, you will implement your work plan with support from a working group of experts that will provide input or feedback on one or more of the following:

✓  Market research

✓  Investor landscaping

✓  An elevator pitch workshop

✓  Pitch deck creation or refinement

✓  Stakeholder outreach and strategy


Learn more about all previous winners here.