Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact.

A boy standing outside flexing his muscles

Launched in 2003 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as Grand Challenges in Global Health, this initiative initially focused on 14 major scientific challenges that, if solved, could lead to key advances in preventing, treating, and curing diseases of the developing world.  It was relaunched in 2014 as Grand Challenges, its new name reflecting its expanded scope encompassing challenges in global development.  Explore awarded grants, watch grantee videos, read a 10-year retrospective of 14 of the original 44 projects, and watch videos from the 2014 (10th anniversary) Grand Challenges meeting in Seattle.

Launched in 2007 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative seeks to engage more of the world’s innovators more quickly.  High-risk, high-reward ideas – via two-page applications with no preliminary data required – are invited twice each year on a range of challenges.  Country-specific initiatives have been launched in China and India.   Explore awarded grants, watch grantee videos, and see project photos.

Launched in 2010 and funded by the Government of Canada, Grand Challenges Canada supports innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada.  It seeks integrated innovation: ideas that integrate scientific, technological, social, and business innovation.  Explore awarded grants, and watch videos from the 2012 Grand Challenges meeting in Ottawa.

Launched in 2011 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and partners, Grand Challenges for Development seeks to create and support sustainable solutions for a variety of development challenges.  The first challenge to be addressed – Saving Lives at Birth – is a partnership between USAID, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and The World Bank.  Watch videos from the 2017 Grand Challenges meeting in Washington, DC.

Grand Challenges Brazil

Launched in 2012, Grand Challenges Brazil is a partnership framework for the Ministry of Health of Brazil, its National Council on Research (CNPq), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch joint challenges aimed at catalyzing innovative health research within Brazil.  The partnership includes co-funding of Grand Challenges Explorations grants in Brazil by the Brazilian state-based research foundations (FAPs).  Watch videos from the 2013 Grand Challenges meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

Launched in 2013, Grand Challenges India is a partnership framework for the Department of Biotechnology in India, its Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch joint challenges aimed at catalyzing innovative health research within India.  The partnership includes India’s IKP Knowledge Park as implementer of some of the grant programs.

Grand Challenges South Africa

Launched in 2014, Grand Challenges South Africa is a partnership framework for the South African Medical Research Council, the Department of Science and Technology of the Republic of South Africa, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch joint challenges aimed at catalyzing innovative health research within South Africa.

Grand Challenges Africa

Launched in 2015 by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency as part of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) with the support of the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).  AESA is an agenda-setting and​ funding platform established to address Africa’s health and development challenges, and Grand Challenges Africa is a partnership framework to launch joint challenges.

Grand Challenges China

Launched in 2015, Grand Challenges China is a partnership framework for the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch joint challenges aimed at catalyzing innovative health research within China.  Watch videos from the 2015 Grand Challenges meeting in Beijing.

Grand Challenges Korea

Launched in 2016, Grand Challenges Korea is a partnership framework for collaboration across the global Grand Challenges network.  This initiative builds on the Creative Technology Solution initiative launched by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and funded by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and on KOICA’s partnership in the Saving Lives at Birth challenge.