Gates Foundation Awards $20.7 Million in GCE Grants

Gates Foundation Awards $20.7 Million in GCE Grants

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $21 million to ninety-four projects in five issue areas through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.

Now in its eleventh funding cycle, the initiative awarded Phase I grants of $100,000 to eighty-one projects in fourteen countries in support of innovative ideas designed to improve health and the quality of life for the world’s poorest people. Grant recipients include Gisli Olafsson of NetHope (U.S.), who will work to improve information management with respect to humanitarian assistance after natural disasters and in emergencies; Willem van Rensburg of Kimbranox Ltd. (South Africa), who will test a condom applicator, the Rapidom, which is designed for easy application of male condoms; Mumbi Kimathi and a team from Farm Concern International (Kenya), who will promote farming-related trade between and around villages in rural Africa through their e-Women Dial-Up Initiative; Judy Sakanari of the University of California, San Francisco and Manu Prakash from Stanford University, who will test an inexpensive electromagnetic detection device to identify and diagnose parasitic worms; and George Warimwe at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), who is working to develop a vaccine to protect humans, sheep, and cattle against Rift Valley fever.

The foundation also awarded Phase II funding totaling $12.6 million to thirteen projects. Recipients include Abi Santhosh Aprem of HLL Lifecare Ltd. (India), who received an additional $858,123 for a project to coat IUD devices with polymers to increase acceptance of the highly effective contraceptive device; and Olufunke Cofie of the International Water Management Institute (Sri Lanka), who was awarded an additional $300,000 to develop and test fortified fertilizer pellets made from treated human excreta in Ghana — an effort which, if brought to scale, could enhance agricultural productivity and reduce environmental health risks in the country.

"Grand Challenges Explorations is designed to foster the most innovative ideas to save the lives of the world’s poorest people," said Chris Wilson, director of the Discovery and Translational Sciences team at the Gates Foundation. "Although these five areas are very different, solving each one of these problems in new ways could make a huge impact."

For a complete list of the latest round of GCE grants, visit the Gates Foundation Web site.