Gates Foundation, Partners Announce Grand Challenges in Global Health

Gates Foundation, Partners Announce Grand Challenges in Global Health

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced three new Grand Challenges initiatives aimed at catalyzing scientific breakthroughs in the global public health field.

Announced at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of the Grand Challenges program, the new initiatives include Creating New Interventions for Global Health, which will award pilot grants of up to $2 million and regular grants of up to $10 million aimed at accelerating the translation of innovative concepts for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics into safe, effective, affordable, and widely utilized interventions; All Children Thriving, which, with additional support from Grand Challenges Canada (Saving Brains), the Saving Lives at Birth partnership, and the governments of Brazil, India, and South Africa, will target the development of tools and holistic approaches aimed at reducing fetal growth impairment and preterm birth, stunted postnatal growth, and impaired cognitive development; and Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development, which will focus on how to most effectively and intentionally identify and address gender inequalities and women's and girls' needs, scale proven approaches, and develop better measures of the impact of new approaches in empowering women and girls. The latter two initiatives will award two-year exploratory grants of $500,000 and grants of $2.5 million over four years to investigators in middle- and low-income countries.

"We know how critical women and girls are to the health and economic prosperity of their families and communities, but we don't have all the answers yet," said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. "Over the last decade, Grand Challenges has demonstrated that when we partner together and think in bold ways about possible solutions, we get that much closer to every person realizing their full potential. I am excited by the incredible opportunities that lie ahead with these new challenges."

In a related Grand Challenges development, the United States Agency for International Development has announced a $5 million Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development call for ideas focused on improving the tools used by frontline healthcare workers in the fight against Ebola in West Africa. In partnership with White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Defense, USAID will establish an open innovation platform to crowdsource and incubate ideas to improve care delivery and stem the spread of disease, including improvements in personal protection equipment (PPE); a competition to fund and test innovations for PPE, infection treatment, and control; and partnerships for rapid testing and deployment of the best solutions.

"Together with our international partners, we will translate the expertise and ingenuity of scientists, innovators, engineers, and students from across the globe into real solutions," said USAID administrator Rajiv Shah. "With your bold thinking and engagement, we can give health workers the tools they need to win this fight."

"Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenge Partners Commit to Innovation with New Investments in Breakthrough Science." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 10/07/2014. "USAID Announces Grand Challenge to Fight Ebola." United States Agency for International Development Press Release 10/07/2014.