Gates Foundation Announces $8.1 Million in 'Grand Challenges Explorations' Grants

Gates Foundation Announces $8.1 Million in 'Grand Challenges Explorations' Grants

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $8.1 million to fifty-eight projects through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.

Grants of $100,000 will enable researchers from eighteen countries to begin testing their bold ideas to improve health and development in the world's poorest countries. Among other things, grants awarded in this funding round will be used to develop labor-saving innovations for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, including a solar-powered grain drier that doubles the storage life of harvested crops; a multi-crop thresher that enables farmers to thresh their crops more quickly and affordably; and manually powered equipment that can be used to recycle plastic shopping bags into drip irrigation tubing. In addition, the foundation awarded phase-two funding to four previously supported projects.

In partnership with the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the foundation also awarded a second round of grants for research on the theme "Aid is Working. Tell the World." Grant recipients include Christoph Nann of Serviceplan in Germany, who, in collaboration with local retail partners, will test a simple method for raising awareness of development projects in poor countries using location-based applications such as Foursquare; Arjun Venkatraman of the Environics Trust in India, who will use an Interactive Voice Response system to collect ten thousand personal narratives having to do with the impact of aid programs in rural India and then share them through digital media channels; and Charlotte Obidairo, in partnership with a team from Coxswain Social Investment Plus in Tunisia, who will develop a crowdsourcing program aimed at teaching young people about global development challenges through first-person narratives and offer solutions to real-life challenges identified by their peers.

"The impressive concepts from around the world that are part of the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative are pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation to tackle ongoing challenges for the poor," said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Gates Foundation. "We expect this increasing diversity of novel approaches to foster interventions that will save and improve lives."

For a complete list of 2013 GCE grant recipients, visit the Gates Foundation Web site.

"Is It Possible to Identify Illness in Newborns From Their Cry?." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 05/21/2013.