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2018 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting Call-to-Action


**NOTE: This opportunity was open only to invited participants at the 2018 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting held in Berlin, Germany.

The Opportunity

We believe the Grand Challenges Annual Meetings (GCAM) present a great opportunity to engage some of the brightest scientific minds, learn about challenges in global health and development, and explore new approaches and collaborations to tackle the toughest problems. In Berlin, the Grand Challenges meeting convened a diverse set of organizations and participants across the 12 content-area tracks listed below. In addition to the scientific track sessions, the meeting included inspiring plenary talks, poster sessions, and plenty of opportunities for connection, discussion, and learning. But we also seek tangible outcomes and hope the meeting inspires members of the Grand Challenges community to drive forward high-risk, high-reward ideas to address the biggest health and development challenges.

To keep the meeting’s spirit of accelerating innovation to impact going after the meeting ends, we are providing a grant opportunity to build on your participation in the Grand Challenges meeting.

The Challenge – a Call to Action

While at the Berlin Grand Challenges meeting, did you…

  • learn about a new problem you think you can solve?
  • learn something new that you can apply to the problem you are currently working on?
  • meet a new collaborator and develop a plan of action?

If so, we want to see your best idea! We invite you to submit a two-page application that proposes new work on a topic relevant to any of the meeting tracks and describes how it is grounded in the inspiration, information, and perspective you gained through your participation in the meeting. We also strongly encourage you to review the foundation’s strategies and priorities since funding is available only for projects that fit within these strategies.

Each eligible meeting participant will have one (1) opportunity to apply as the primary investigator (PI) for one of two funding levels:

  • $100,000 USD pilot award
  • $200,000 USD collaborative pilot award

Both funding levels will have an 18 month grant term. Collaborative awards must be between at least two GCAM participants from different institutions. While restricted to one application as the PI, eligible meeting participants may participate in multiple collaborative pilot applications. Priority will be given to new or newly expanded collaborations, rather than to existing partners seeking new funding. See the GCAM Rules and Guidelines for more information.


We seek to harness the energy and excitement of the meeting to test creative new ideas or new collaborations fostered by the meeting. To that end, proposals will be due on November 19, 2018 (one month from the meeting close), and we anticipate funding decisions to be made in early 2019.

2018 GCAM tracks

  • Crop Research
  • Developments in Research & Development Against Antimicrobial Resistance
  • From Innovation to Impact
  • Growth and Resilience
  • Health Systems Strengthening and Health Crisis Prevention
  • National Surveillance Systems to Support Decision Agriculture Under Climate Change
  • Optimizing Drug Discovery and Translation
  • Pest and Disease Surveillance for Human, Livestock, and Crop Health
  • Strengthening African Research and Development Ecosystems
  • Unlocking the Power of Adolescents Through Innovation
  • Vaccines and Global Health Technology
  • What’s Next for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) – A Role in Precision Public Health

Great ideas come from everywhere.

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View the Grand Challenges partnership network

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.
Map of grant distribution