Grants Awarded
 
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 Grand Challenges Explorations Grants

On June 8, 2015, 52 researchers were awarded new Grand Challenges Explorations grants. View a blog on these here, and read more about these by selecting Round 14 and Phase I in the drop down menus below.

In addition, 5 Grand Challenges Explorations projects were awarded Phase II funding. To read more about these new Phase II grants, select “Phase II” in the Grant Phase drop-down menu, while showing all topics and all rounds.

To review all Explorations projects, select “Show All Topics” in the Topic drop-down menu, “Show All Rounds” in the Date and Grant Round drop-down menu, and “Show All Phases” in the Grant Phase drop-down menu.

Topic
Technologies
Date and Grant Round
Grant Phase
Showing Grants 1 to 10 of 52
A Low-Pressure Oxygen Storage System
Primary Investigator:
Roger Rassool, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia - AU
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Roger Rassool of the University of Melbourne in Australia will build a device that stably stores oxygen ready for treating children with pneumonia particularly in low-resource settings with unreliable electricity supplies. They will develop a safe, low-pressure oxygen storage device comprising two coupled storage chambers and utilizing water to provide pressure for delivery. The volumes and pressure required will be tested, and the device will be fillable from existing oxygen concentrators. Once built, the device will be tested by training staff and assessed for usability in the field.
A Machine Learning-Based Tool to Estimate Gestational Age
Primary Investigator:
Ana Namburete, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - GB
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Ana Namburete of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom will develop a computational tool called Autodate that identifies physical features of the fetal brain from a routine ultrasound image to automatically estimate gestational age at any stage of pregnancy. Determining accurate gestational age is important for healthy pregnancy. However, ultrasound, which is the most accurate technique, can only estimate gestational age when used during the early stages of pregnancy by a trained sonographer, who are often absent in low-income settings. To overcome these limitations, they will use existing ultrasound images of fetal brains to develop software that can automatically extract structural features. Machine learning will be used to identify links between these brain features and gestational age. The ability of Autodate to accurately estimate gestational age will be validated on newly acquired images from pregnant women in Kenya.
A Push-Pull System for Control of Outdoor Malaria Vectors
Primary Investigator:
Alexandra Hiscox, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, Netherlands - NL
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Alexandra Hiscox from Wageningen University in The Netherlands will enhance the effectiveness of outdoor baited traps to attract disease-spreading mosquitoes by combining them with a repellant applied to the outside of houses. In contrast to indoor repellants and insecticide-treated bed nets, this push-pull system targets those outdoor mosquitoes specifically looking to bite humans, and does not use potentially harmful chemicals that can lead to resistance. At a field site in South Africa, they will test whether their system can reduce the entry of mosquitoes into occupied houses.
A Thixotropic System for Oral Delivery of Amoxicillin
Primary Investigator:
Chenjie Xu, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore - SG
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Chenjie Xu of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore will develop a stable and child-friendly formulation of the antibiotic amoxicillin, which is used to treat pneumonia, for use in developing countries. Amoxicillin is unstable in water, and for oral delivery requires on-site mixing with sterile water, which is not always available. They will first encapsulate amoxicillin in microparticles, which become soluble only when exposed to an acidic environment such as in the stomach. The microparticles also help increase the concentration of amoxicillin and mask its unpleasant taste. These amoxicillin particles will next be embedded in a gel-like sodium carboxymethyl cellulose solution to protect and stabilize the formulation for long-term storage, which will be in squeezable tubes. The squeezing action from the tube into a child’s mouth will transform the gel into an easy to swallow liquid (a process known as thixotropy) that will release amoxicillin upon exposure to acid in the stomach. They will try different concentrations to build the most favorable formulation and test it for effective delivery in mice.
An Acoustic Surveillance Trap for Male Mosquitoes
Primary Investigator:
Laura Harrington, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Laura Harrington of Cornell University in the U.S. will test whether acoustic signals in traps can attract specific disease-causing species of mosquitoes, particularly males, to aid control efforts. Traps usually use chemicals to mostly attract female mosquitoes searching for a blood meal. Mosquitoes are very sensitive to sounds, and males likely use them to identify mates. They will first test different frequencies and magnitudes of sounds representing wing beats from Aedes aegypti females, which transmit dengue fever, for their ability to elicit a physiological response in males. Selected sounds will then be tested and optimized using large field cages. They will also build field-ready solar- or battery-powered traps that can be remotely controlled by a cell phone app to alter the sound depending on time of day or species of mosquito being targeted.
Artificial Diets for Aedes and Anopheles Species
Primary Investigator:
Stephen Dobson, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Stephen Dobson of the University of Kentucky in the U.S. will adapt their lyophilized mosquito feed formulation to support growth of different disease-relevant mosquito species for control efforts. They will test their lyophilized formulation, which can be stored long term, on other Anopheles species and on Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia, which are being used as a dengue fever control strategy. They will also test three different delivery methods to see if they can reduce associated costs by simplifying delivery.
Bitsoko
Primary Investigator:
Daniel Bloch, Bitsoko, Nairobi, Kenya - KE
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Daniel Bloch of Bitsoko in Kenya will develop their mobile money platform known as Bitsoko, which integrates Blockchain technology for low-cost transactions mediated by bitcoins. They have built a mobile wallet and a point-of-sale service for merchants that allows money to be easily and securely transferred around the world using only a Bitsoko username, phone number or bitcoin wallet address. Bitsoko will also offer simplified options for paying household bills and payrolls. They will raise awareness of their platform to scale up the number of users and merchants, and continue to evaluate the security and capability of the platform.
Child-Friendly Formulations of Amoxicillin
Primary Investigator:
Catherine Tuleu, University of College London, London, United Kingdom - GB
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Catherine Tuleu of University College London in the United Kingdom will develop a rectal formulation of the antibiotic amoxicillin tailored specifically for children with pneumonia particularly in developing countries that can be stored long-term in hot climates. Suppositories are easy to administer, and avoid the bad taste of the antibiotic or the need to swallow a tablet, which is often difficult for children. They have already characterized several suppository bases and will test different excipients to provide stability at high temperatures. These formulations will be evaluated for quality and stability, and speed of drug release will be compared with current tablet and capsule forms.
Color-Changing Nanoparticulate Transdermal Patches
Primary Investigator:
Rinti Banerjee, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India - IN
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Rinti Banerjee of IIT Bombay in India will develop skin patches for safer and more effective dosing of the antibiotic amoxicillin in children with pneumonia in developing countries. Amoxicillin is usually provided as a tablet or powder that requires multiple doses per day, which, along with the bitter taste, is off-putting for children. They will develop amoxicillin-enclosed lipid nanoparticles that mimic the outer surface of the skin, and optimize their size and ability to encapsulate the drug. These nanoparticles will be added to multilayered transdermal patches that allow the continued release of amoxicillin through the skin, and contain a dye that indicates when the patch needs changing. The patches will be first evaluated on pigs' skin, and in mice and rats.
Combining Visceral Leishmaniasis Risk Mapping and Deworming
Primary Investigator:
Hussein Abdullahi, Wajir Country Government, Wajir, Kenya - KE
Topic:
Round:
Round 14 - June 2015
Phase:
Phase I
Hussein Abdullahi of Wajir County Government in Kenya will combine a mass drug administration effort to treat soil-transmitted helminth (parasitic worm) infections in Wajir County with a survey of the number of cases of visceral leishmaniasis, which is transmitted by sand flies. Visceral leishmaniasis can be lethal and has recently become endemic in this poor Kenyan county, but the actual disease burden is unknown. They will compile community data on mapped settlements in two subcounties, and recruit and train local health workers to distribute questionnaires to help identify past and present cases of visceral leishmaniasis, which will help identify risk factors. In parallel, these workers will distribute deworming drugs, which has been difficult in the area due to low attendance rates at schools where mass deworming efforts normally take place.
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