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Gates Foundation Seeks Proposals for Innovative Global Health Research

First round of Grand Challenges Explorations to support bold,

unconventional ideas to fight infectious diseases

SEATTLE, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that beginning March 31, 2008, it will accept grant proposals for the first funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, a new US$100 million initiative to help scientists across the globe pursue ideas that have never before been tested for solving major health problems. The four topics for the first funding round were also announced.

Initial grants through the Explorations initiative will be $100,000 each, and projects showing success will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of $1 million or more. The initiative will use an agile, accelerated grant-making process -- applications will be two pages, and preliminary data are not required. The foundation will select and award grants within approximately three months from the proposal submission deadline of May 30, 2008.

"Breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere, and we hope this new process will encourage a broad range of scientists from around the world to bring their ideas to the table," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. "We're especially interested in reaching people who work outside the field of global health, innovators in the developing world, and young investigators."

Grand Challenges Explorations is an expansion of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which was launched in 2003 to spur the discovery of new technologies to improve global health. The Explorations initiative focuses on research areas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed.

Topics for First Funding Round

The first funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations will consider proposals in four topic areas:

-- Creating new ways to protect against infectious diseases: Untried or

unproven approaches to protect against infectious diseases, including

harnessing natural or synthetic immune responses, or eliminating the

need for an effective immune response.

-- Creating drugs or delivery systems that limit the emergence of

resistance: Innovative ideas for discovering or delivering drugs that

are less likely to lose effectiveness because of resistance developing

in the disease-causing agent.

-- Creating new ways to prevent or cure HIV infection: Innovative ideas

for HIV prevention or treatment methods that fall outside current

research on vaccines, antiretroviral drugs, and other biomedical and

behavior-change strategies.

-- Exploring the basis for latency in TB: Unconventional approaches to

understanding latent TB infection, with the goal of discovering new

ways to identify and eliminate latent infection, and break the cycle of

TB transmission.

Grant proposals for the first Explorations funding round will be accepted online at from March 31 through May 30, 2008; applicants must register intent to submit a proposal by May 15, 2008.

Once the first Explorations funding round is complete, the foundation will announce subsequent funding rounds. Topics may vary over time, to cover a range of priorities in global health research.

Full descriptions of the initial topic areas and application instructions are available at

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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