Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Launches Grand Challenge in Neglected Tropical Diseases Data Innovation Incubator

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is a charitable organisation that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of people in developing countries and works to ensure that people in developed countries have access to opportunities for success in school and life. The BMGF Grand Challenges seek to engage innovators from around the world to solve the most pressing challenges in global health and development.

A new Grand Challenge competition has been launched seeking innovative ideas for how to improve the quality, completeness, and timeliness of routine Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) data and ensure programmatic decision-making is based on the best available data. Such outcomes will help target interventions to all at-risk populations and achieve high intervention coverage and maximal impact on infection and morbidity.

NTD programs use mapping data to determine where intervention is required, routine monitoring data to make programmatic adjustments during implementation, data from impact assessments to know when to stop an intervention, and surveillance data to inform elimination dossiers and monitor recrudescence. The quality of such data ultimately depends on the systems, tools, and processes at the points-of-collection, collation, and analysis at sub-national and national levels; however, the tools and systems currently available to country programs have limitations and gaps that hinder decision-making and implementation.

This Grand Challenge therefore aims to identify and support innovative solutions aimed at solving these critical data-related challenges. The aim is to help target interventions to all at-risk populations and achieve high intervention coverage and maximal impact on infection and morbidity.

All proposed solutions should address at least one of the Priority Use Cases (PDF). The ideal solution will fully address the chosen use case(s) by addressing key challenges, supporting relevant actors, and improving the quality, access, and use of NTD data in the context of the use case.

Awards will be issued in two rounds:

Round 1: Expected funding of up to $200,000 to support proof-of-concept studies performed over a three to six-month period. Successful projects from Round 1 would be considered for Round 2 funding.

Round 2: No specific funding limits or expectations. The number of awards and quantity of each award amount will depend upon the quality of the proposals received. Proposers are expected to develop a budget commensurate with the scope and scale of the work necessary to achieve their detailed objectives; however, the objectives should be achievable within 12-18 months from onset of Round 2 funding.

The scheme is open to organisations worldwide including academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit and for-profit companies.

Interested applicants should create an account and submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) online by the 25 March 2019 deadline.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.