Gates Foundation Awards $4.3 Million in GCE Grants

Gates Foundation Awards $4.3 Million in GCE Grants

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling $4.3 million through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.

Through the sixteenth round of the initiative, Phase I grants of $100,000 were awarded to forty-three researchers in twelve countries working in one of four topic areas — Exploring New Solutions in Global Health Priority Areas, Novel Approaches to Characterizing and Tracking the Global Burden of Antimicrobial Resistance, Addressing Newborn and Infant Gut Health Through Bacteriophage-Mediated Microbiome Engineering; and Exploring New Ways to Measure Delivery and Use of Digital Financial Services Data. Selected from nearly fourteen hundred applicants, recipients of the grants include Francisco Diéguez (Disal, Chile), who will use the funds to determine whether samples collected from portable toilets can be used to monitor pathogenic diseases and antibiotic resistance; Kirill Alexandrov (University of Queensland, Australia), who aims to develop a low-cost diagnostic that uses well-established glucose biosensors to detect DNA of infectious pathogens; Diane Joseph-McCarthy (EnBiotix Inc., U.S.), whose team will use a systems biology approach to model the interplay between the host and microbes and thus highlight the potential effects of phage therapy; and Iris Braun of (IFMR LEAD, India), who will pilot a simple credit-scoring test to expand access to microloans for the poor in Bangladesh.

Phase I recipients who achieve proof of concept during the eighteen-month grant period will be eligible to receive Phase II grants of up to $1 million. Recent recipients of follow-on funding include Dyann Wirth (Harvard School of Public Health), who is pursuing an in vivo platform based on the P. falciparum humanized mouse system to identify combinations of anti-malarial compounds that inhibit the development of drug resistance, and Kumanan Wilson (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada), who is developing an algorithm to estimate gestational age using specific metabolic analytes found in blood spots collected routinely from newborns.

For a complete list of Phase I and Phase II  recipients, see the Grand Challenges website.