Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announce five new Grand Challenges


Alliance magazine


The world’s largest foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which spends over $4 billion a year on public health, education and development causes, have announced five new Grand Challenges initiatives aimed at solving key health and development problems globally.

Launched in 2003 as Grand Challenges in Global Health, it focused on specific challenges which could lead to key advances in preventing, treating, and curing disease.

Three of the new challenges will be funded through the latest round of the foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations program, which awards $100,000 each over eighteen months to encourage people to act on ideas that could prevent the poorest from thriving.

The first three challenges are sponsored by the Grand Challenges Explorations program. They will fund ideas enhancing availability and accessibility of nutritious foods, tools and technologies for broad-scale disease surveillance of crops and innovations in data management to improve vaccination coverage.

The fourth challenge is specifically for citizens in Brazil and will support data science to improve maternal and child health in Brazil. The grantees will have access to a unique and powerful dataset, and they will propose data analysis and modelling approaches that could lead to cost effective solutions.

That last challenge will task grantees to better understand the Campylobacter disease in low and middle income countries and help prevent its transmission. The disease interferes with children’s growth and development and is infecting children at a higher rate than previously believed.

Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery and translational sciences for the foundation’s Global Health program commented.

‘The Gates Foundation created Grand Challenges, its flagship open innovation program, in 2003. Since then, it has grown in almost every conceivable way. Organizations from other countries are sponsoring their own Grand Challenges programs. All the sponsors are issuing challenges that address an even broader range of priorities in global health and development. Together, we’ve experimented with format to seek innovations from a more diverse collection of applicants.’

For more information on the Grand Challenges visit:

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