Gates Foundation Awards $8.8 Million for Innovative Global Health Projects

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants of $100,000 to eighty-eight researchers from twenty-five countries for innovative projects that address persistent health and development challenges.

Awarded through the sixth round of the foundation's Grand Challenges Exploration initiative, the grants are designed to encourage scientists to pursue bold ideas with the potential to lead to breakthroughs in global public health. Winners in this round were asked to create ways to accelerate, sustain, and monitor polio eradication; develop the next generation of sanitation technologies; design new approaches to preventing HIV infection; produce low-cost cell phone-based applications for urgent global health problems; and generate new technologies to improve the health of mothers and newborns.

The winners include James Flanegan of the University of Florida, who will use his grant to explore development of a poliovirus vaccine composed of virus capsids — the protein shell of the virus; Marc-Andre Langlois of the University of Ottawa, who will attempt to develop small molecules that combine to form a compound that specifically eliminates only HIV-infected cells; Olufunke Cofie of the International Water Management Institute in Ghana, who will develop fertilizer pellets made from treated human waste to help increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa as well as reduce health risks from untreated waste; and Simon Carding of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, who will test whether live gut bacteria could generate immunity by delivering poliovirus antigens to the intestinal mucosa.

"One bold idea is all it takes to catalyze new approaches to global health and development," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the global health program at the Gates Foundation. "Despite the progress in global health and development, we vitally need creative ideas to discover and deliver life-saving vaccines, eradicate the next disease, or slow the spread of preventable diseases."

For a complete list of the latest Grand Challenges grantees, visit the Grand Challenges Web site.