By Paulin Basinga & Kedest Tesfagiorgis (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

The Grand Challenges Explorations grant program seeks bold ideas from innovative thinkers to solve the greatest challenges in health and development.  One great idea. Two pages to fill out.  That’s all it takes.

Launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008, Grand Challenges Explorations has already awarded grants to more than 700 researchers from 45 countries.  The grant program is open to innovators from any discipline; at any level of experience, including educational institutions, from student to tenured professor; and from any organization, including government laboratories, research institutions, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies.

Grand Challenges Explorations is a streamlined program. Two-page applications are submitted online, and winning grants are chosen approximately six months from the submission deadline.  No preliminary data is required – we simply reward bold ideas that show great promise.  Initial grants are for $100,000 each.  Projects showing success have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to $1 million.  Tanzanian grantee Dr. Fredros Okumu of the Ifakara Health Institute was awarded such additional funding to expand his research into using outdoor infrastructures to trap malarial mosquitoes.   A complete list of all GCE awardees is found here.

There are two applications rounds each year.  Round 10 of Grand Challenges Explorations is currently accepting proposals until November 7, 2012 on four topics:

What is your great idea?

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