The second half of 2018 was a busy season for the Grand Challenges Explorations team, working with many wonderful and diverse partner organizations to develop a roster of seven GCE calls for proposals that launched in September. Seeking Innovation for WASH in Urban Settings, GCE joined forces with UNICEF, Arm, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), and Swedish SIDA to run a challenge, building on the core strengths of each organization to develop the topic language, review proposals, and ultimately select a portfolio with funding from both AAS and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Partnering with the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we launched a call for the Application of Metagenomic Next Generation Sequencing to Detect and Identify Pathogens, with the ultimate goal of enabling patients in low- and middle-resource settings to benefit from cutting-edge pathogen detection and discovery.
With co-funding from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), we were able to fund more Tools and Technologies for Broad-Scale Pest and Disease Surveillance of Crop Plants in Low-Income Countries than we could have alone.
And we worked with program teams within the Gates Foundation to develop four additional topics, including two focused on innovations in vaccine delivery: Innovations Driving Programmatic Performance in Immunization and Increasing Demand for Vaccination Services, another call focused on New Approaches for Strategic Prioritization of Agricultural Development Policies and one on New Approaches for Manufacturing Gut Microbial Biotherapeutics.
With these seven topics, we received over 1900 proposals, and are thrilled to announce funding for 59 new Grand Challenges Explorations awards from investigators based in 26 different countries on 6 continents. The Gates Foundation building here in Seattle greets us daily with the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And we strive to carry that message into our work – working with the partners who co-developed, designed, reviewed, and funded these challenges, and with the grantees who will test new hypotheses against these grand challenges.
Congratulations to these awardees and to our partner organizations in these challenges. We look forward to seeing how far we can all go together!
Originally published on Impatient Optimists