Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Foundation Accepting Proposals

The Gates Foundation is now accepting proposals for the latest round of Grand Challenges Exploration, a $100 million grant initiative to encourage bold and unconventional global health solutions.

The Grand Challenges Exploration enables researchers to possibly win grants of $100,000 to foster innovative projects with the potential to transform health in developing countries. Projects however showing success will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to $1 million.

Applicants need to focus their proposals on several technology areas. One goal is to create low cost cell phones to help with priority global health conditions. The UN predicts that cell phone ownership will reach 5 billion in 2010 with most of the growth in the developing world. Cell phones provide previously unavailable capabilities in the developing world, such as computational power, text and images displays, imaging, incentive structures, and standardized interfaces that can be leveraged to create powerful systems.

The need for new technologies to improve the health of mothers and newborns in the poorest countries is needed. The goal for this topic is to solicit novel and innovative technological approaches to reduce maternal, fetal or neonatal mortality and morbidity in communities in primary clinics.

Other areas that the Gates Foundation wants to address in the healthcare field include developing ways to eradicate polioviruses permanently. Although much progress has been made, polio is still evident in the developing world and new ways need to be found to provide total eradication and monitoring.

Health problems in the world are also due to the need for improved sanitation technologies in order to reduce waterborne illnesses and produce next generation sanitation technologies. The goal is to make sanitation services truly safe and sustainable in order to save the lives of millions of children in the poorest countries.

Another topic will be to explore and design new approaches to curing HIV infections for patients currently on antiretroviral therapy. Elimination of all reservoirs of HIV from a patient is a complex challenge that may require a combination of approaches. Consideration will be given to proposals that address any of the several different lines of study that could ultimately contribute to an effective cure.

The Gates Foundation is seeking proposals that are “off the beaten track,” daring in premise, and clearly different from the approaches currently being developed or employed. The proposals must have a testable hypothesis, include an associated plan on how the idea would be tested or validated, and yield interpretable and unambiguous data in Phase I in order to be considered for Phase II funding.

The request for proposal open to anyone from any discipline was posted August 30th and is due by November 2, 2010.

For more information, go to