| Apply! [Fall 2018]
Empowering social innovators with minimal tech
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The Coding for Social Impact Projects (CSI Projects) are an opportunity for social innovators, anywhere on earth, to co-create a minimal software solution addressing a concrete local or global societal needs.

The software project is developed by a team of junior developers from the Software Development Laboratory course unit of the Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering (MIEIC-LDSO), Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP, U.Porto).

CSI Projects are organised by the Coding for Social Impact Labs, a non-profit initiative from FEUP, in collaboration with IES-Social Business School, with the goal of delivering social impact  by offering expertise on agile software development, benefiting tech-based social impact ventures, society, and FEUP students’s practical experience.


Who should apply?

CSI Projects are targeted to social innovators, either individuals or organisations, anywhere on earth, that need custom software systems to support their own social impact causes.

We are calling for ideas that need the development of web-based platforms and mobile apps, from moderate to high level of complexity, than can result in fully functional prototypes or products within a timeframe of 12 weeks, from 17th September to 14th December of 2018. The results will be presented and handover to proponents in a Grand Finale, as part of Talkabit 2019, to take place in January of 2019.

We will select up to 15 projects for this Fall 2018’s edition.


How it works?

Each project will be developed using agile methods, following four important phases:

  1. Kick-off. One long afternoon, to gather all involved, with project presentations, workshops on the agile methods to be used, and social activities.
  2. Development. The development phase consists of five iterations of two-weeks, i.e., a period of 10 weeks, delivering concrete results every iteration. A development team (5-6 students) will work ~16h/iteration, together with a social innovator (proponent), to build a prototype/product with the highest possible value for the goal at hands. Each project will have also the external supervision of a senior software engineer (a teacher) and possibly an external mentor, to help on the technicalities and social impact of the project. Social innovators should have availability to meet regularly with the team at least 2 hours every iteration (face-to-face or remotely), to provide feedback regarding the work done so far, and to plan the next iteration(s). At the end of the development phase, the teams are expected to have delivered concrete systems with the maturity of a fully functional prototype, at least, or product, depending on the specific scope and technical complexity of the project.
  3. Handover. A handover phase will ensure that all results are delivered to the social innovator, culminating the continuous delivery done during the development phase.
  4. Grand Finale. The project culminates with a public presentation, during the Talkabit 2019 conference, in January 2019.

Based on the past three editions (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017) and our overall experience on software development and project management, we expect success for all projects, in terms of quality and optimal scope management for the effective effort assigned (12 weeks x 16h/week).


How to apply?

Applying is very simple: just fill out the form bellow (in English or Portuguese), by September 10, 2018.

Please be concise and informative, trying to address as much as possible all the tips and hints suggested.



First of all, social innovators win by taking advantage of all the effort and expertise of software development students and faculty.

Second, students win by being challenged with very real and short-term projects, lead by passionate social innovators, with a clear vision of the social impact expected.

Third, FEUP wins for being able to channel all accumulated experience on agile software development of innovative products, by partnering with social innovators to help them on achieving their social impact goals.

At last, individual and organizational mentors win by offering their specific expertise to innovative social ventures.


Donate What You Want

All involved (students and supervisors) will work hard during the project to make you feel happy at the end with your new product/prototype. We hope that you may learn/practice more about your own product idea and how to evolve it. We would appreciate that you can mention CSI Labs and our students as developers of your new product/prototype.

We estimate that each CSI Project will benefit from an effort of approximately 14 man-months from non-graduate software developers, 14 hours of consultancy from senior software engineers, and the equivalent to 8 hours of training on agile methods, from product management to software development. With your approval, we will include your project in our portfolio and help on its promotion by including it in the final public event.

After the handover, CSI Labs can provide additional services to your project, such as design, hosting on public servers, further development, etc. Just ask us and we give you a quote.

We may transfer the intellectual property of the results to you, with the constraint of not being used for commercial purposes, but only for social benefit.

At the end, based on the perceived value of what you received from us, in combination with your willingness and ability, we trust that you will be able to find your own fair value to donate to CSI Labs (aka FairPay). Donations will help the CSI Projects initiative to be sustainable and grow, to support more and more social innovators and social impact ventures.

As a reference, we estimate that a donation higher than 2000 Euros will enable us to grow and to offer a professional handover of the product/prototype, including the deployment to a public server, and respective hosting for one year after the Grand Finale. On the other hand, a donation lower than 500 Euros may not be enough to cover our costs with additional services after the Grand Finale. In any case, we will try to find sponsors for all projects selected to cover the costs involved and fund additional services.


Important dates

  1. You should apply by September 10, 2018.
  2. We review your proposal as soon as it arrives and will give you feedback to adapt it, if needed.
  3. We will rank the projects based on:
    • suitability: how well the scope of the project technology development is expected to fit in the 12-weeks timeframe?
    • innovative: how novel is your project for those that you target?
    • impact: how high is the potential of the social impact of your project?
  4. We will announce the projects selected by September 14, 2018.
  5. Each project will be assigned to one team, one senior expert, and mentors during the kick-off day, to take place at FEUP, gathering all teams, social innovators, mentors, and special guests, on the afternoon of September 17, 2018. Save the date!
  6. You work with the development teams until the Grand Finale, at Talkabit 2019, end of January, 2019.



More details about the process and examples of projects developed in previous editions are available in the Process and Labs pages.

If you need more information, or have any doubts, do not hesitate and send us an email to team@codingforsocialimpact.org.


Looking forward for your projects! Thank you!


The CSI Team
FEUP, U.Porto