Proposals for Round 8 of the Grand Challenge Exploration, a $100 million grant initiative to encourage innovation in global health and development research, are now being accepted, announced the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week. Proposals can be submitted until November 17, 2011 at 11:30 am Pacific Daylight Time.

The Grand Challenge Exploration offers scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs worldwide the opportunity to receive a grant of $100,000 to pursue unconventional ideas that could transform health and agricultural development in the world’s poorest countries. The topics of the 8th’s round are:

  • Protect Crop Plants from Biotic Stresses From Field to Market
  • Explore Nutrition for Healthy Growth of Infants and Children
  • Apply Synthetic Biology to Global Health Challenges
  • Design New Approaches to Optimize Immunization Systems
  • Explore New Solutions in Global Health Priority Areas

Chris Wilson, Director of Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said:

“We seek bold, innovative proposals that address persistent global health and development challenges, such as increasing production and access to nutritious foods, reducing other causes of malnutrition and assuring receipt of lifesaving vaccines. Unorthodox thinking is urgently needed in these areas if we are going to significantly improve the lives of millions of people who are living in the poorest countries.”

The initiative’s easy streamlined, straightforward, online grant-making process makes applications easy. Applications consist of two pages. No preliminary data about the proposed research are required.

Proposals are being accepted online here.

The Grand Challenges Explorations aims to attract innovators from all around the world to assist pioneering new ideas, including researchers who do not typically work in global health and development; those with innovative ideas in Africa, Asia and other parts of the developing world; people working in the private sector; and young investigators.

The Gates Foundation together with an independent group of reviewers will select the most innovative proposals. Grants will be awarded within approximately four months from the proposal submission deadline with initial grants of $100,000 USD each. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive additional funding up to $1 million USD over two years.

Written by Petra Rattue