Grand Challenges Explorations Round 13

Grand Challenges Explorations fosters innovation in global health research. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $100 million to encourage scientists worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas to fight our greatest health challenges. 

Launched in 2008, more than 900 Grand Challenge Explorations grants have been awarded to innovative, early-stage projects in more than 50 countries.

An initial screening removes proposals that have not addressed the requirements specified in the call for proposals, either by lacking a required element or by focusing on an area outside of the specified topic. Responsive applications then undergo a blinded, champion-based review by the Innovation Panel, and in parallel, they are reviewed by a set of topic-specific experts.

To increase the chances of funding transformational ideas, the application review process incorporates an “Innovation Panel” composed of proven innovators. We empower panel members to champion—to single-handedly mark—individual proposals for funding (“Gold Awards”), thereby avoiding the risk averse tendency of conventional consensus-based peer review. They also identify several second choices (“Silver Awards”). The name and affiliation of the applicant is omitted during the review process to maximize the chance that proposals will be selected based on their key idea, rather than on the stature of the applicant or research organization.

In addition to the Innovation Panel review, applications are commonly reviewed by a separate panel with expertise specific to the topics. Using guidance from both review panels, foundation staff assemble a portfolio of complementary projects that address the challenge outlined in the topic statement. Throughout the review process, experts from across the foundation ensure that strategic priorities are being addressed.

The final step in the review is a rapid due diligence evaluation to ensure that the investigator and institution have the basic institutional capacity to receive the grant and perform the work described.

Explorations Round 13 Topics

  • New Ways of Working Together: Integrating Community-Based Interventions - new!
  • Explore New Ways to Measure Fetal and Infant Brain Development - new!
  • Inciting Healthy Behaviors: nudge, disrupt, leapfrog, reach
  • Novel Enabling Tools and Models Supporting Development of Interventions for Enteric Dysfunction
  • Innovations in Feedback & Accountability Systems for Agricultural Development

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