Smart Economy Lab

Smart Economy Lab (SEL)

The Smart Economy Lab (SEL) is a flagship initiative of IRTI at Jakarta, Indonesia, anchored to the Regional Hub Indonesia of the IsDB Group. Using the development narrative of “smart economy” the SEL aims to contribute to a knowledge-driven economic transformation in the region. The location of SEL in Indonesia is expected to facilitate active participation of stakeholders who may contribute to the rise of digital and technology-enabled innovations fueled by public, private and alternative finance.

The SEL action plan aims to stimulate innovation, enhance efficiency in all sectors of the economy through sustainable and inclusive interventions backed by technology. Additionally, by strengthening linkages between financial and real components of the economy, it proposes to realize the benefits of a truly Islamic economy.

Action Plan:

The SEL action plan has three major components:

  • knowledge-based solutions in a smart economy, specifically to meet development challenges in the region;
  • capacity building of stakeholders; and
  • formulating country masterplans for the Smart Economy ecosystem, including innovation, entrepreneurship, incubators, etc.

More specifically, the SEL has the following specific aims:

  • To undertake diagnostic studies in specific sectors of the economy – agriculture, healthcare and sanitation, education and skills, financial services etc. - and identify areas with patentable efficiency-enhancing solutions
  • To develop products and solutions for the smart economy through application of block-chain and other cutting-edge technologies
  • To seek patents to ensure legal protection of innovations
  • To act as a catalyst for pilot and proof-of-concept projects around the solutions
  • To act as incubator for start-up projects by students/ entrepreneurs in areas that have seen successful proof-of-concept outcomes
  • To build capacities for scientific research related to smart economy

Key Deliverables

The key deliverables of the SEL include (but are not limited to):

  • Research grants to high-quality projects leading to patentable and copyrighted products
  • Provision of seed capital to promising start-ups
  • High-quality publications & training programs in the area of Smart Economy

Current Activities:

During the current year, programs and activities of SEL include:

  1. Developing a network of researchers and professionals in Fintech/ Smart Economy and engaging with them on a regular basis through seminars/ discussion sessions
  2. Coordinating with partner institutions for identification and evaluation of research proposals in SE area for support
  3. Participating and contributing to Working Group meetings for standard-setting in Islamic social finance and fintech
  4. Publishing an annual Smart Economy Report

Drop in for a Personal Discussion

If you are a researcher or professional with a keen interest in application of emerging technologies in the field of development economics and finance; or if you are a start-up or growing company in the area of fintech and/or blockchain applications in business and development sectors, we will be delighted to learn more about your projects and discuss the possibilities of mutually beneficial relationships.

Please watch out this section for announcements regarding Seminars, Workshops, Research Grants and related activities.

We welcome you to drop in for a personal discussion at our office at Islamic Development Bank Group, Regional Hub Indonesia, 35C, Office 8, Lot 28 SCBD, Jl.Jend.Sudirman Kav. 52/53 Senopati, Jakarta 12190, Indonesia. You may also like to contact Dr Mohammed Obaidullah, Project Leader, SEL at or call him at +6281292557478

Smart Economy Grant

The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank Group invites researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs engaged in product development/ projects involving application of emerging technologies (e.g. blockchain and AI) for business and economy (with an Islamic finance component in particular) to be part of its growing network.

Together with this network we are seeking to build a platform for technology-enabled solutions for the smart economy. In support of our mission, we are launching a Program of Smart Economy Grants. This Program aims at knowledge-driven economic transformation and involves an initial grant that is expected to act as a catalyst, signal new funding opportunities and empower innovation and development. This will support smart, sustainable and inclusive growth fueled by knowledge intensive activities.

You may like to learn more about the SEL initiative here.

Smart Economy Grants 2020: During 2020, a total of 08 (eight) SE grants of up to USD10,000 (US Dollars Ten Thousand) each will be provided.

Grant applications must be made in the prescribed format using this submission link. Applications must be accompanied by detailed information on your project(s). We are specifically looking for patentable ideas with significant entrepreneurial potential. Projects (proof-of-concept/ prototypes/ minimum viable product) are also welcome.

Last date of closing for submissions October 31, 2020 | Email:

    1. You must be an adult, at least 18 years old and legally able to enter into an agreement.
    2. You shall not apply under this Program if there are legal restrictions in your country of residence or domicile for entering into an agreement with its terms and conditions or receiving a Grant. It is your sole responsibility to ensure that your participation in the Program is not prohibited by any applicable law, regulation or rule in your country of residence or domicile.
    3. You will, subject to all AML/CFT requirements, be awarded a cash Grant, the quantum and terms of which shall be determined by IRTI. Applicants are required to provide further personal information, including bank account information of an approved bank to be eligible to receive a cash Grant. Applicants shall be responsible for bearing all costs, bank fees and taxes in connection with the receipt of any cash Grant.
    4. IRTI may require you to furnish such documents and personal information so as to prove your identity, status and/or eligibility for the Program. IRTI reserves the right to reject your application or eligibility for a Grant if you are unable to furnish such documents or information to IRTI’s satisfaction.
    5. IRTI shall have the unfettered right to disqualify any application, change the nature of any Grant and/or require the termination or refund of any Grant to IRTI if an applicant does not comply with the terms and conditions, in the event of any illegality or if mandatory compliance with any applicable law is required.
    6. Employees of the IsDB Group are not eligible to apply for the Program.

The following are the steps you must follow in order to submit your application. You are required to remain updated and conform with all additional steps and details as published on IRTI Website or as may be amended from time to time.

Step 1: 

    1. You are required to familiarize yourself with the documentation and information in the Website, including the application process, the application form, and the terms and conditions, made available on IRTI Website.

Step 2: 

    1. You must fill out the full application form and attach a detailed proposal document that describes the project team, any relevant experience and the proposal on delivering the final product or solution. You are also required to estimate the time and expenses required to complete the project and describe in detail what the application does and how it enhances or contributes to the FINTECH ecosystem.
    2. You may choose to submit the required information as an attachment, preferably in PDF form.
    3. You must also include CVs, linkedin profiles, email addresses and other personal details of all team members.
    4. You consent and agree that all personal data shall be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with IRTI’s privacy policies.
    5. If you are applying on behalf of your organization, you shall obtain all required corporate authorization to bind your organization to the required terms and conditions and provide evidence of such corporate authorization upon request.

Step 3 

    1. IRTI will acknowledge receipt of your submission within a week. IRTI will review your application and may reach out to you by email to get more details or schedule a conference call to discuss your project further.

Step 4

    1. IRTI will evaluate your submission and make a determination if any Grants will be made within a maximum of twelve weeks from the date of acknowledgement. Further communication may also be required to determine specific details around timelines, deliverables, milestones and Grant dates.  During the evaluation process, the Evaluation Committee may reach out to you for additional clarification or discussion of the application under review.
    2. You will receive an Award Letter from IRTI if your application for a Grant is approved. All decisions regarding Grants, distribution dates and eligibility / qualification for Grants at are IRTIs sole discretion.

Step 5

    1. As a condition for receiving the Grant you may be required to complete identify KYC checks and deliver such further legal agreements, documents containing representations and warranties on confidentiality and intellectual property.
    2. All Grants shall be subject to the conditions as stated in the section on Ownership & Intellectual Property. In order to judge the application and the completion of any relevant milestones, IRTI needs to be able to examine and audit the source code. This can be done by sharing a public repository or by submitting a request with IRTI to have the code looked at in a private repository with full access given to IRTI.
    3. Submissions will be accepted in English language (translated versions are also accepted) and in the format detailed to you by IRTI. Any incomplete/inaccurate entries shall be invalid. Incomplete, illegible, corrupted, unrecognizable formats, and untimely entries or submissions will be void and disqualified.
    4. Adequate documentation is required as a condition for all Grants. IRTI may after reviewing your application come back with the suggestion to improve your documentation before awarding a Grant or milestone payment. IRTI may impose repository guidelines to ensure accessibility of open source projects to the community of developers and end users, and to simplify assessment of deliverables.
    5. IRTI will inform applicants on the outcome of their applications after the evaluation process is fully concluded. Applicants are not limited to just submitting one application to the Program. Every new submission will be reviewed in isolation and will not affect any other submission.


    1. IRTI shall appoint an Evaluation Committee to evaluate and approve Grants including to whom to award the Grants and the level of support to be given. The Evaluation Committee will also determine the timeline of distribution of the Grant and any required milestones, conditions or deliverables.
    2. The Evaluation Committee has the right to substantiate/audit/verify all applicant’s details/information provided. IRTI may seek any further document or information, as may be reasonably required for verification purposes. If such a request is made and the applicant either fails or does not agree to provide the same, IRTI shall have the right to disqualify the applicant. If at any time, any information provided by an applicant is found to be false or misleading in any manner, the applicant will be disqualified from the Program and may not receive and shall be liable, on written demand, to return any Grants awarded under the Program.
    3. Applicants are required to respond to requests for information and enquiries within one week during the evaluation period, failing which it may be deemed that the applicant has withdrawn the application.
    4. Applications will be evaluated based on the evaluation criteria determined by the Evaluation Committee. Shortlisted applicants may be required to make a video presentation of their team and project which must include the Grant purpose and projected milestones/deliverables. The pitch will be conducted via video or telephone conference.
    5. If an applicant decides to change the use of Grant or nature of application after the final evaluation is completed, the Evaluation Committee reserves the right not to proceed with the award and disbursement of the Grant.
    6. During the term of a Grant, the grantee shall provide progress updates every three months (or at midpoint for shorter than 6-month projects) and discuss with the Evaluation Committee the progress of any developments. S/he shall provide full access to all materials, documents and information to allow IRTI to monitor development, the use of the Grant and/or verify the Progress Update.
    7. All decisions made by the Evaluation Committee are final and no disputes will be entertained. All decisions of IRTI on all matters relating to the administration of the Program and formation of the Evaluation Committee is final and binding on all applicants and awardees. In the event that an applicant or awardee disagrees with any of these terms or any decision made by IRTI, such person will have the right to withdraw its submission and application.
    1. IRTI does not seek to own the content or copyright what you submit to us. But we do need certain assurances from you in order for you to be qualified to receive a Grant from us.
    2. You represent and warrant that that your application, submissions and entries to us under the Program: (a) is your own original work with no other person or entity having any right or interest in it; (b) does not infringe the intellectual property right or any other rights, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, contracts and/or privacy rights of any third party (c) all third party intellectual property rights are clearly identified (d) you possess and control all rights necessary to submit the application irrevocably and without restriction to IRTI, and (e) that publication of press releases and relevant information by IRTI via various media including web posting and social media, will not infringe on the rights of any third party. In accepting a Grant, you agree to hold harmless and indemnify IRTI against any such third party claims. If you are accepting these terms on behalf of an organization, you represent and warrant that you have full authority to bind such organization to these Terms.
    3. Applicants may use open source software provided such usage complies to the respective open source software license terms.
    4. It may be a condition for Grants that you agree to make all materials, data, processes, documents, deliverables, results, information, discoveries, inventions, improvements, know-how and the like conceived, created, developed or generated by, during the course of, and as a result of, completing the deliverables under an Award Letter, whether or not patentable, and all related patent, copyright and other intellectual property rights in any of the foregoing available to the public and published under an open source license approved by the Open Source Initiative.
    5. You hereby grant to IRTI the right and permission to publish, broadcast, and/or otherwise use or reuse all information and materials relating to your submission and arising out of your application to this Program in any media (including social media) throughout the world for promotional or ecosystem building purposes without additional review, compensation, or approval from you. You also grant us the right to modify or translate any content for promotional or ecosystem building purposes.
    6. You shall ensure that your content will not contain third-party copyrighted material, or material that is subject to other third-party proprietary rights, unless you have permission from the rightful owner of the material, or you are otherwise legally entitled to post the material (and to grant to IRTI all the license rights outlined here). By submitting the content, you represent that you are legally allowed to share the content with IRTI. You will pay all royalties and other amounts owed to any person or entity based on your content, or on IRTI’s hosting of that content.
    7. You agree and acknowledge that many applications shall be developed during this Program and that such applications may be similar or identical in theme, idea, format or other respects to others developed in this Program. You acknowledge and agree that IRTI does not have now, nor shall they have in the future, any duty or liability, direct or indirect, vicarious, contributory, or otherwise, with respect to the infringement or protection of any copyright or other intellectual property right belonging to an applicant.
    8. IRTI isn't liable for any damages or losses related to your participation in the Program. We don't become involved in disputes between applicants, or between an applicant and any third party relating to the Program. If you participate in the Program, you release IRTI from claims, damages, losses and demands of every kind, known or unknown, special or consequential, directly or indirectly incurred by you. All content you access through this Program is at your own risk. You're solely responsible for any resulting damage or loss to any party.
    9. An award of a Grant shall not entitle you to any intellectual property rights, including the rights in relation to the use, for any purpose, of any information, image, user interface, logos, trademarks, trade names such as the use of the word “IRTI”, Internet domain names or copyright in connection with the Program. There are no implied licenses under these terms, and any rights not expressly granted to you hereunder are reserved by IRTI. If you want to use, reproduce, modify, distribute, or store any such information, images, user interface, logos, copyrights and trademarks of IRTI for any purpose, you need prior written permission from IRTI.

Submit your project

    Website to help explain the project

    What additional value your project brings in?

    What are the pain points/ frictions/ challenges it addresses?

    Specify the innovation factor in your project

    Specify the key beneficiaries of your project

    Briefly state your plans for successful launching of your project.

    Should the SEL decide to provide further support to your project, do you see any constraints (e.g.intellectual property rights held by third party)? Please specify

    Current Status of the Project

    Proof of conceptPrototypeMinimum viable product

    I am a member of the Smart Economy Lab Virtual Network on LinkedIn


    Has this project been submitted to any other funding agency for support?

    If yes, please provide details.

    I have gone through the document containing objectives, actional plan and deliverables of the Smart Economy Lab initiative of the Islamic Research and Training Institute of the Islamic Development Bank Group. I am keen to participate in various programs and activities of SEL.

    If yes, please provide details.

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