At an event in Seattle commemorating the tenth anniversary of Grand Challenges, a group of international partners announced three new global health initiatives aimed at creating breakthroughs in health and science. The growing network of funders that are adopting the Grand Challenges approach to accelerate research has been growing in recent years. Today there is a broad family of Grand Challenges grant programs guided by a shared agenda to reach similar goals. These funders include Saving Brains and Saving Lives at Birth, as well as accelerated, small-scale grant-making programs such as Grand Challenges Explorations and Stars in Global Health, which complement the larger grants with seed funding for projects that target a range of health indicators. Additionally, challenges like Making All Voices Count, Powering Agriculture, All Children Reading and Securing Water for Food show that the Grand Challenges model can be leveraged across all sectors of development.
The 3 new initiatives include:
- All Children Thriving – focusing on developing new tools and holistic approaches to help mothers and children thrive in the developing world by ensuring a healthy birth for both mother and child and setting children on a path to healthy physical growth and cognitive development. All Children Thriving includes new initiatives and commitments from Grand Challenges Canada (Saving Brains); the Saving Lives at Birth partnership (including the US Agency for International Development, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada and the UK Department for International Development); the Governments of Brazil, India, and South Africa; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development – focusing on a rigorous understanding of women’s and girls’ needs and preferences and gender inequalities and supporting new approaches to promote women’s and girls’ empowerment that will enhance the ability to achieve multiple health and development goals.
- Creating New Interventions for Global Health – focusing on accelerating the translation of original and innovative concepts for vaccines, drugs and diagnostics into safe, effective, affordable and widely used interventions for diseases in the developing world.
“We know how critical women and girls are to the health and economic prosperity of their families and communities, but we don’t have all the answers yet,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Over the last decade, Grand Challenges has demonstrated that when we partner together and think in bold ways about possible solutions, we get that much closer to every person realizing their full potential. I am excited by the incredible opportunities that lie ahead with these new challenges.”
“Melinda and I have always believed that advances in science can help reduce inequity in a big way. But you have to be willing to take some risks and see some projects fail,” said Bill Gates co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “That’s the idea behind Grand Challenges—to focus bright scientists on the problems of the poorest, take some risks, and deliver results. We’re delighted with what’s happened in the first decade, but we’re not satisfied, and we hope to see even more progress in the coming years.”
Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada) has been a founding member of the Grand Challenges network. This commitment is reaffirmed by rallying a growing list of organizations worldwide in the Saving Brains partnership, aimed to seek and support bold ideas for products, services, and approaches that protect and nurture early brain development in low- or middle-income countries.Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation