April 6, 2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Update

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative in 2007 to engage more of the world’s innovators more quickly. To quote from their website;

“In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched Grand Challenges Explorations to engage more of the world’s innovators more quickly. Great ideas come from everywhere. Twice each year, Grand Challenges Explorations invites high-risk, high-reward proposals on a range of challenges. Two-page applications are submitted online – open to anyone from any discipline, from student to tenured professor, and from any organization, including colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded, and successful projects have the opportunity to receive follow-on funding.”

The next submission window for reporting the outcomes of Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) awards will open in the fall of 2020.

This follows a successful two year pilot pilot (2016-2018) where the following data was reported:

  • 315 collaborations, with the United States, United Kingdom, India, Australia, and Kenya rounding out the top locations for collaborations
  • 194 publications resulting at least in part from their GCE grants, although only 5.33% published within one year of award start date
  • 66 instances of impact on policy based on their work, including influencing the training of practitioners or researchers, citation in other policy documents, and participation in a national consultation
  • 14 artistic or creative products were attributed to GCE funding, including artwork, film, video, or animation, and performance art.

Also of note is why the Foundation is using Researchfish to supplement their current GCE reporting requirements:

  • Better data on the GCE program will help us better communicate the value of the program and ensure continued funding for the initiative
  • Program-level data on current and past challenges can help define and refine future challenge calls
  • Researcher and award profiles can be updated as you go, potentially limiting the need for scrambling to compile a report for reporting deadlines

More information can be found on the Bill & Melinda Gates website.