Gates Foundation Announces $7.5 Million in GCE Grants

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling $7.5 million to fifty-five projects from twelve countries through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.

Launched in 2008, the initiative awards initial grants of $100,000 twice a year to advance bold ideas that address key global health and development challenges; successful projects have an opportunity to receive follow-on grants of up to $1 million. In the latest funding round, Phase I grants were awarded in support of eleven novel condom designs that could help increase condom use. Other recipients of Phase I grants include Heidi Larson, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who proposed a touch-screen patient feedback system to provide timely feedback to healthcare providers and help improve reproductive health services in Kenya; and Agenor Mafra-Neto of ISCA Technologies, who will test the efficacy of a human-scented "cologne" designed to divert disease-carrying insects from humans to livestock that are pre-treated to resist infection.

In addition, Phase II grants totaling $2.3 million were awarded to three projects. Recipients include Nancy Muller, a program officer at PATH, who will work to bring a freeze-safe vaccine carrier that meets World Health Organization requirements to market; Nexleaf Analytics' Nithya Ramanathan, who will install the company's new remote temperature monitoring sensor in clinics in Kenya, India, and Mozambique; and Xin Wang and other researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who will study why melatonin and compounds with related activity have protective effects on neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and evaluate biomarkers that could be used to optimize prevention and treatment strategies.

"The Gates Foundation is always looking for new ways to foster and accelerate innovative ideas that can improve, and even save, people's lives," said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the foundation. "We are continually impressed by the talented people who are drawn to the Grand Challenges Explorations program with exciting ideas that can help address issues of great importance to women and children."

For a complete list of grants awarded in this funding round, visit the Gates Foundation website.