Grand Challenges programs:
Grand Challenges in Global Health (Launched in 2003):
Grand Challenges in Global Health is a grant initiative that focuses on an expanding set of major global health challenges. The program aims to engage creative minds worldwide to work toward solutions that could lead to breakthrough advances for those in the developing world.
Grand Challenges Explorations (Launched in 2007):
Grand Challenges Explorations is an agile, accelerated grant initiative with a short two-page application and no preliminary data required. Anyone with a bold idea can submit a proposal on one of several designated topics, and proposals are solicited twice a year for an expanding set of topics. Successful projects are eligible to receive a follow-on grant.
Canada (Launched in 2010):
Grand Challenges Canada is a not-for-profit organization funded by the government of Canada that supports innovators to develop and bring to scale ideas that integrate
scientific, social, and business innovation, otherwise known as Integrated Innovation. Grand Challenges Canada focuses on innovator-defined challenges through its Stars in Global Health program and through targeted challenges in women's and children's health and Global Mental Health.
Challenges Canada's Stars in Global Health
(Launched in 2010): Grand Challenges Canada's Stars in Global Health supports ideas from innovators in low-and middle-income countries and Canada. Innovators must define the challenges and address them using an Integrated Innovation approach. The program consists of both proof-ofconcept awards as well as transition-to-scale funding.
Challenges for Development (Launched in 2011):
Under the Grand Challenges for Development initiative, USAID and other partners focus on defining problems, identifying constraints, and providing evidence-based analysis for a variety of development issues. The program aims to create and support sustainable solutions.
Grand Challenges Brazil (Launched in 2012):
Grand Challenges Brazil is a partnership framework for the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch joint initiatives aimed at catalyzing innovative health research within Brazil. The first joint initiative will focus on reducing the burden of preterm birth and is co-funded by Brazil's National Council on Research (CNPq). For information in Portuguese:
Brazilian Press Release
Grand Challenges News 1
The onset of labor until at least 48 hours after birth is the most dangerous period for both mother and baby. During this short period of time, 150,000 maternal deaths, 1.6 million neonatal deaths, and 1.2 million stillbirths occur each year. Even before labor, complications occur in almost one-quarter of pregnancies. During the first 1,000 days following conception, serious health problems can have a profound impact on a child's ability to grow and dramatically shape long-term health. A number of international agencies are applying the Grand Challenges model to catalyze innovation to address these maternal, newborn, and child health problems.
One of the challenges in the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative focuses on family health. Addressing this challenge, in 2012 the Gates Foundation and Seattle Children's Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) funded scientists to discover biological mechanisms that lead to preterm birth and to develop innovative strategies for prevention. One of these grants was awarded to David Olson of the University of Alberta, Canada, who will examine the early stages of pregnancy to better understand how infections at this time can cause preterm birth.
As part of the same family health Grand Challenge, the Gates Foundation funded seven projects to discover biological mechanisms that cause growth faltering in utero and during a child's first two years of life, and to develop new strategies to prevent or reverse unhealthy growth. In one of these projects, Robin Bernstein and colleagues at George Washington University in the United States will closely follow a cohort of Gambian children to understand why some children grow while others fail to grow. In another project, Daniel Roth of the Hospital for Sick Kids in Canada and colleagues will test how vitamin D could improve fetal and infant growth.
In an effort to tackle the specific challenges faced by mothers and newborns from the start of labor to 48 hours after childbirth, a number of partners are collaborating on Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development. Under this initiative, grants have been awarded to a wide range of applicants, from researchers at PATH seeking to understand the life-saving potential of chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care, to researchers developing the Odon Device for simpler and safer assisted vaginal deliveries, which builds on an Argentinian car mechanic's original idea.
Grand Challenges Canada's Saving Brains initiative is funding innovators in the developing world with the goal of dramatically improving children's cognitive potential and their futures. In one funded project, Zulfiqar Bhutta and Aisha Yousafzai of Aga Khan University in Pakistan are following up on newborn and young infants who had been enrolled in nutrition trials to understand the longer term impacts of these interventions on growth, developmental outcomes, and school performance.
Additionally, both Stars in Global Health and Grand Challenges Explorations have awarded early-stage grants to innovators focused on exploratory research in maternal, neonatal, and child health. The Stars program alone has given nearly one quarter of its total grants from its first three rounds to research in this field. As one example of the research network being formed, the project led by Michelle McIntosh of Monash University in Australia—developing an inhalable oxytocin powder that prevents postpartum hemorrhaging—has been funded by both Grand Challenges Explorations and Saving Lives at Birth.
With Grand Challenges partners supporting research and development in the family health field, both through partnerships and individual initiatives, innovators from around the world are able to work to develop effective solutions to critical challenges both within their country's borders and globally.
Grand Challenges News 2
Carlos Gadelha, the Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Supplies within the Ministry of Health of Brazil, discusses Grand Challenges and Brazil's commitment to health R&D:
How will Grand Challenges Brazil have lasting impact? In the case of Brazil, the model has been driven by Brazil's health needs and policy agenda, as identified by the Ministry of Health. It's also important to note that Brazil has experienced a strong increase in the production of knowledge and innovation, and the Grand Challenges model serves this growth well. We know that the work done in Brazil will have impact in other parts of the world.
Where do you think Brazilian innovators can make their biggest impact on global health? Brazil's rich history of research and innovation is very promising for Grand Challenges. In particular, areas such as family health, neglected diseases, mental health, technology to support health systems, and research to improve the management of health policies can strengthen universal access to health goods and services.
What specific health problems does Grand Challenges Brazil hope to address? Our first initiative is on preterm birth, and is specifically seeking innovative strategies for prevention and management of preterm labor. I believe that through Grand Challenges, we can also address the problem of neglected diseases, which still has a substantial burden in parts of Brazil. Vulnerable populations in Brazil and around the world need innovative solutions to relieve
the burden of health problems as soon as possible. Combating chronic non-communicable diseases, for example, is at the heart of the Brazilian health policy strategy, and innovative research is extremely important to achieve a more equitable health system.
What do you think are the biggest gaps in global health research? In recent years, I've seen a growing concern for research in global health. Much has been discussed in multilateral forums and even in bilateral relations between nations. Foundations and non-governmental organizations have played an important role in advocacy—promoting debates and leading research in strategic areas. However, much remains to be done. Because Brazil has a universal health system and a population of approximately 200 million, we have to think about innovation in a sustainable way, using the best of what is available to enable broad and universal access. The research to make universal systems feasible is critical.
I believe, for example, that we need more research to: (i) promote health throughout the entire life cycle (from pre-conception to aging), (ii) combat premature birth and fetal death, (iii) provide prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases and chronic noncommunicable diseases, and (iv) prevent disability and provide tools for individuals with disabilities so that they may achieve their full potential.
What do you see as Brazil's role in developing new solutions to health problems, both locally and globally? What are Brazil's strengths in this area? Brazil has shown strong growth in the production of knowledge, and, in just two decades, its participation in international health studies has increased tenfold. Currently, 30% of research efforts in the country are dedicated to health. This has been followed by the creation of several integrated research networks—in areas such as neglected tropical diseases, clinical research, technology assessment, epidemiology and cell therapy— that are accessible to other researchers all over the world. We are sure that our research capacity and our networks can be integrated into the global effort for innovative research, and to this end, we are thrilled about the possibility of hosting the next Grand Challenges meeting in Brazil. In addition to work in Brazil, it is important to incorporate other emerging countries in this effort in order to establish a path that combines economic growth, social inclusion, and ensuring the rights of citizenship.
Grand Challenges News 3
|Program Opened||Funding Awarded||Total Funding (Approximate)||Number|
|Biomarkers of Tuberculosis||Gates Foundation; CIHR||Feb. 2011||Feb. 2012||US $7.7 million||10|
|Saving Brains||Grand Challenges Canada||May 2011||Sep. 2012||CAD $11.8 million||11|
|Hypertension||Grand Challenges Canada; Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases||June 2011||June 2012||US $21.8 million||14|
|Global Mental Health||Grand Challenges Canada||July 2011||Oct. 2012||CAD $19.4 million||15|
|Grand Challenges Explorations (Round 8)||Gates Foundation||Aug. 2011||May 2012||US $10.4 million||107|
|Saving Brains Economics||Grand Challenges Canada||Nov. 2011||TBA|
|Preventing Preterm Birth||Gates Foundation; GAPPS||Nov. 2011||Oct. 2012||US $19.9 million||5|
|Gut Function Biomarkers||Gates Foundation||Nov. 2011||Dec. 2012||US $9.6 million||7|
|Healthy Growth||Gates Foundation||Nov. 2011||Dec. 2012||US $11.5 million||7|
|All Children Reading||USAID; World Vision; Australian AID||Nov. 2011||Sept. 2012||US $9 million||32|
|Stars in Global Health (Round 3)||Grand Challenges Canada||Jan. 2012||Nov. 2012||CAD $7.2 million||68|
|Saving Lives at Birth (Round 2)||Grand Challenges Canada; USAID; Gates Foundation; DFID; Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs||Feb. 2012||July 2012||Up to US $9 million||15|
|Grand Challenges Explorations (Round 9)||Gates Foundation||Feb. 2012||Nov. 2012||US $9.2 million||94|
|Stars in Global Health (Round 4)||Grand Challenges Canada||May 2012||TBA|
|Powering Agriculture||USAID; Sida; Duke Energy; USDA; OPIC; AfDB||June 2012||TBA|
|Grand Challenges Explorations (Round 10)||Gates Foundation||Sep. 2012||TBA|
|TB Vaccine Accelerator||Gates Foundation||Sep. 2012||TBA|
|Low- and Middle-Income Countries Stars in Global Health||Grand Challenges Canada; Gates Foundation||Jan. 2011||Rolling Schedule||$2.7 million||4|
Grand Challenges News 4
Global Mental Health (Round 2): Opened November 5, close
February 4, 2013
Grand Challenges Canada has launched its second Global Mental Health RFP to solicit innovative solutions to improve treatments and expand access to care for mental disorders in low-resource settings in eligible countries. This RFP is open to innovators from low- and middle-income countries and Canada, and will offer seed grants of up to CAD $250,000 and transition-to-scale grants of up to CAD $2 million.
Stars in Global Health (Round 5): Opened November 12,
close February 6, 2013
Grand Challenges Canada's Stars in Global Health has launched its fifth RFP, which seeks ideas that reflect the full spectrum of global health R&D. Anyone from low- and middle-income countries and Canada can apply. Awards are initially valued at CAD $100,000. Follow-on scale-up grants of up to CAD $1 million may also be awarded.
Saving Brains—Scaling Impact: Opened November 19, close
February 11, 2013
Grand Challenges Canada has launched its third Saving Brains RFP on "Scaling Impact" for innovators in low- and middle-income countries to test and scale up bold ideas for products, services and implementation models that protect and nurture early brain development. Proposals will be funded through two funding streams: seed grants of up to CAD $250,000 and transition-to-scale grants of up to CAD $2 million.
Grand Challenges Brazil—Reducing the Burden of Preterm
Birth RFP: Open TBD, close TBD
The first RFP under Grand Challenges Brazil will address the problem of preterm birth end-to-end, ranging from research to discover the causes of preterm birth, to research to develop new solutions to treat preterm infants. Both seed grants and full grants will be awarded to Brazilian researchers. Additional information will be available soon.
Making All Voices
Count: Open December 2012, close TBD
Making All Voices Count seeks innovations that support people-centered, open government and aims to financially and technically support the efforts of citizens and governments in emerging democracies to work together. Additional information will be available soon.
Saving Lives at
Birth (Round 3): Open January 2013, close March 2013
Saving Lives at Birth is opening its third RFP to fund groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches around the time of delivery for pregnant women and newborns in poor, hard-to-reach communities. Additional information will be available soon.
Grand Challenges Explorations (Round 11): Open March
2013, close May 2013
Grand Challenges Explorations will open its 11th Round of RFPs. The grant program is open to applicants from all disciplines, professional levels and organizations. Initial grants of US $100,000 will be awarded, and successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US $1 million. Topics will be available soon.
Grand Challenges News 5
"The Power of Catalytic Philanthropy." The Gates
Notes. September 19, 2012.
In The Gates Notes blog, Bill Gates emphasizes the importance of catalytic philanthropy in areas where the private market and government cannot intervene due to market restrictions or short election cycles, including providing funds for scientific innovation.
"Government seed grants encourage innovation on global health
problems." The Washington Post. November 23, 2012.
The Washington Post highlights the 68 latest innovations funded by Grand Challenges Canada's Stars in Global Health program.
"Investing in child and maternal health has long-term
dividends." The Globe and Mail. September 13, 2012.
The Globe and Mail editorial page applauds Grand Challenges Canada's investment in the cognitive development of babies as an innovative way to fight poverty and create lasting change.
"Mental health programs in developing countries get boost from
Canada." The Toronto Star. October 10, 2012.
The Toronto Star highlights Grand Challenges Canada's contributions to global mental health, an area of global health that has traditionally been neglected.
"Are Israelis up to the 'Grand Challenge?'" The Times of
Israel. July 5, 2012.
The Times of Israel underscores the potential for Israelis to become "global change agents" by developing a Grand Challenges program.
Grand Challenges Canada presents a white paper on integrating scientific, social, and business innovation.
VIDEO: Dengue vector
The Eliminate Dengue research program is an international collaboration working to control the spread of dengue by introducing Wolbachia into mosquito populations. The Wolbachia bacterium reduces the mosquito's ability to pass the dengue virus to people. The video describes this innovative approach, which originated as a Grand Challenges in Global Health grant, and its potential to significantly decrease the number of people infected each year.
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Grand Challenges News 6