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Grand Challenges Africa: Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use to Improve Global Health

Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use to Improve Global Health


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has significant potential to transform healthcare around the world. But as AI technology continues to advance, there is an urgent need to position low- and middle-income countries[i] (LMICs) to lead on the design and co-creation of AI-enabled technologies – thereby helping to improve the health and well-being of their women, children, and vulnerable communities. Through this call for proposal, we are emphasizing AI solutions that are locally driven and owned hence more relevant to address the needs of people they intend to serve and more likely to be accepted and used by local communities.

Responsible global use of AI entails a safe, equitable, transparent, reliable, and beneficial process that is adhered to with a high level of accountability. As the world rapidly moves to seize AI's opportunities, it is imperative to monitor and mitigate the safety, ethical, equity, and reliability dimensions of AI deployment. This will allow the enormous resilience, creativity, and commitment of researchers, scientists, and policymakers to capture the full capability of AI for lasting good.

Grand Challenges (GC) partners including GC Brazil, GC Ethiopia, GC India, GC Senegal, GC South Africa, and GC Africa (pan-African), along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and the Pasteur Network, have jointly discussed the need for an equitable and responsible approach to the use of AI and specifically Large Language Models (LLMs) in LMICs. This call by the various GC partners is a follow-up to the initial call by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation representing collaborative steps towards identifying, nurturing, and catalyzing the creativity, energy, and skills that researchers, implementers, governments, and technical partners have demonstrated in solving specific challenges in their countries and regions through LLMs. We are optimistic that this family of related AI RFPs will provide a platform for potentially transformative solutions to improve the lives and conditions for numerous vulnerable communities.

Note that this request for proposals is being launched by six Grand Challenges partners: African researchers located in Ethiopia, Senegal, and South Africa, should apply through the corresponding country specific Grand Challenges portal; African researchers located in all other African countries should apply through the Grand Challenges Africa portal; Brazilian researchers located in Brazilian organizations should apply through the Grand Challenges Brazil portal; and Indian researchers located in Indian organizations should apply through the Grand Challenges India portal. Eligible Pasteur Network sites located in Africa should apply through Grand Challenges Africa and Pasteur Network sites located in Brazil should apply through Grand Challenges Brazil. All other eligible Pasteur Network sites (not located in Africa or Brazil) should apply through Grand Challenges Senegal. Please consult the information provided in the subsection referencing geography of interest on the linked partner site to ensure that your application fits the requirements of the RFP you are applying to.


[i] See World Bank – Low Income Countries for definitions.

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