Launched in 2008 and now in its eighteenth round of grantmaking, the initiative awarded Phase I grants of $100,000 to twenty-eight researchers in eleven countries working in four areas: Develop Novel Platforms to Accelerate Contraceptive Drug Discovery; Assess Family Planning Needs, Preferences and Behaviors to Inform Innovations in Contraceptive Technologies; Design New Solutions to Data Integration for Malaria Elimination; and Accelerate Development of New Therapies for Childhood Cryptosporidium Infection.
Selected from more than a thousand applicants, recipients include Maria Gallo (Ohio State University), who will adapt a computer-based psychological test to measure Vietnamese women's opinions of hormonal contraceptives with the aim of encouraging their use; Hayley Dickinson (Monash University, Australia), who plans to evaluate the spiny mouse as a new animal model for developing and testing contraceptives; Helder Nakaya of the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), who will identify malaria transmission hotspots using GPS data from the mobile phones of infected individuals; and Pradip Maiti (Immunimed Inc., Canada), who plans to provide passive, orally administered immunotherapy using chicken egg-derived polyclonal antibodies to prevent chronic diarrhea and potentially lethal infection.
"Most of these ideas won't pan out. That's designed into the program," Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery and translational sciences in the Global Health Program at the Gates Foundation, wrote in a blog post. "But some of them will — and when they do, they will save and improve millions of lives. We are continually amazed by the creativity and quality of the proposals we receive, and we are proud to help brilliant people around the world turn their great ideas into proven solutions."
For a complete list of recipients, see the Grand Challenges website.