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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Phone: 206.709.3400 or media@gatesfoundation.org

Breathalyzers To Test Tuberculosis and Stamped Leaves to Detect Disease in Plants
Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations announces new grants and continued Phase II funding to advance innovative ideas in global health and development 

SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, today announced over 100 new grants of US$100,000 each to support innovative global health and development proposals that have the potential to unlock transformative, life-saving solutions in the developing world. Additionally, the Gates Foundation announced additional funding of up to US$1 million each for six existing Grand Challenges Explorations projects to enable grantees to continue to advance their ideas towards global impact.

“Grand Challenges Explorations encourages individuals worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed,” said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re excited to provide additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their idea towards global impact.” 

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) offers scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs from around the world the opportunity to pursue unconventional ideas. 

Examples of new Grand Challenges Explorations grants awarded include:

  • Hideaki Tsutsui of the University of California Riverside is seeking to develop a stamp to print biosensors directly on maize leaves to increase early detection of disease in crops.
  • Lilian Waiboci at the CDC in Kenya is working to develop a new technology to screen 21 pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that cause respiratory illnesses that will inform more effective treatments and potentially reduce the development of drug resistance.
  • Gregor Reid of the University of Western Ontario and the Lawson Health Research Institute in Canada with colleagues in Tanzania is testing if a yogurt supplemented with the Moringa plant can benefit under-nourished pregnant women by improving their breast milk quality and the types of bacteria present in their intestines. 

Examples of Grand Challenge Explorations grants that are receiving continued funding include:

  • William Royea of Next Dimensions Technology, Inc., will further develop and test a prototype  breathalyzer device to identify active tuberculosis in patients  and to distinguish between various drug-resistant strains.
  • Yingjie Lu and Richard Malley of Children’s Hospital Boston successfully developed a bivalent pneumococcal and typhoid vaccine. With the additional funding they will perform proof-of-concept experiments that will provide support for the clinical development of the vaccine.

A full list of grant recipients can be found here

Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9, will be accepted through May 15, 2012. 

Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 Topics:


About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 600 people in 45 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.


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