Grants Awarded
 
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 Grand Challenges Explorations Grants

Grand Challenges Explorations fosters creative projects that show great promise to improve the health of people in the developing world. Grants target an expanding set of global health topics, and there are two award rounds per year. Projects with demonstrated success in their initial phase of research have the opportunity to receive Phase II funding of up to $1 million.

On June 3, 2014, 52 researchers were awarded new Grand Challenges Explorations grants. Read more about these below. In addition, 3 Explorations projects were awarded Phase II funding. To read more about these new Phase II grants, select "Phase II" in the Grant Phase drop-down menu, while showing all topics and all rounds.

To review all Explorations projects, select “Show All Topics” in the Topic drop-down menu, "Show All Rounds" in the Date and Grant Round drop-down menu, and “Show All Phases” in the Grant Phase drop-down menu.

Topic
Technologies
Date and Grant Round
Grant Phase
Showing Grants 1 to 10 of 13
Adolescents and Youth Taking Control of their HIV Treatment
Primary Investigator:
Peter Gichangi, International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya, Mombasa, Kenya - KE
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Peter Gichangi of the International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya in Kenya will develop a website for 10 – 24 year olds with HIV to help guide them safely through adolescence and improve adherence to treatment. This age group experiences unique physical and emotional stresses, and for those with HIV, adherence to treatment is relatively low. They will develop and launch a secured website in consultation with the target age group to enable individuals to access HIV-related information; query health professionals, including the possibility for live chats; participate in forums; and retrieve their personal treatment data. They will set up a randomized study and evaluate their approach by measuring number of users and web behavior, and whether it increased adherence to treatment and appointment visits.
Can a Decision-Making Nudge Improve Birth Outcomes?
Primary Investigator:
Margaret McConnell, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Margaret McConnell and Jessica Cohen of Harvard School of Public Health in the U.S. will evaluate whether motivating pregnant women to choose a health care facility for delivering their baby prior to the onset of labor, along with offering free transportation to that facility, increases the safety of childbirth in Kenya. Currently, maternal and neonatal deaths in developing countries remain high despite the availability of high quality facilities for child delivery. Obstacles to using these facilities include lack of transportation and limited information on their quality, which means many couples avoid deciding and end up either giving birth at home or going to a suboptimal facility, sometimes after a long delay. They will conduct a pilot study by recruiting 1,200 pregnant women in Nairobi, and evaluate whether offering transportation vouchers to a pre-chosen facility positively impacts delivery outcomes and timing of arrival at health care facilities.
From Obstacles to Opportunities for Male Circumcision
Primary Investigator:
Jennifer Downs, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Jennifer Downs of Weill Cornell Medical College in the U.S. will use the influence of the church to encourage more male circumcision in order to reduce HIV incidence in Tanzania. Male circumcision can inhibit HIV infection, but it is uncommon, particularly amongst non-Muslim communities in African nations due to negative religious and social perceptions. They will train male and female church leaders to educate their congregations on the medical, historical, religious, tribal, and social aspects of male circumcision, and explore ways that they can integrate these teachings into the church. They will compare circumcision rates before and after this intervention, and use matched villages receiving no church-associated training as controls. Their approach could be expanded to neighboring countries.
Game-Based Intervention to Prevent HIV in Mexico City
Primary Investigator:
Sergio Bautista, INSP MEXICO Consorcio de Investigacion Sobre VIH SIDA TB CISIDAT A.C., Cuernavaca, Mexico - MX
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Sergio Bautista in Mexico (INSP MEXICO and Consorcio de Investigación Sobre VIH SIDA TB CISIDAT A.C.), and his partners Elena Bertozzi (Quinnipiac University) and Raluca Buzdugan (University of California, Berkeley) will develop an online game-based intervention to motivate men who have sex with men in Mexico City to get regularly tested for HIV and adhere to treatment. Along with input from the target group, they will develop a humorous game in the context of an anonymous online community that simulates real-world interactions with potential partners. The game will incorporate HIV-related topics, and reward healthy choices with coupons for free HIV testing and with points on a leader board. They will recruit players to pilot test the game, and assess participant opinion and its value for promoting healthy behavior in this high-risk group.
Health Credits Incentive to Support Facility Visits for MNCH Outcomes
Primary Investigator:
Caroline Ochieng, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden - SE
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I

Caroline Ochieng of the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden will evaluate an approach to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) outcomes by stimulating women to regularly visit health clinics during pregnancy and after birth. Regular prenatal assessments reduce health problems in pregnant women, however the majority make only one visit to a health clinic. They have developed a system whereby a health credit voucher worth a specific cash amount would be given to a woman at her first prenatal health visit. The value of the voucher would then increase upon attendance at the subsequent appointment, up to four appointments, to encourage the women to continue to seek care. They will test their approach in a county in Kenya to see if it can sustainably influence the frequency of health care visits. Future work would investigate the potential of scaling up the scheme, and include identifying avenues for funding.

HIV Self-Testing for Partner Screening and Risk Reduction
Primary Investigator:
Harsha Thirumurthy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Harsha Thirumurthy of the University of North Carolina in the U.S. along with colleagues in Kenya will encourage individuals in sub-Saharan Africa to use self-testing HIV kits to screen their current and future sexual partners for HIV status. An oral test for HIV that can be performed by an individual at home has been approved in Kenya, reducing social and economic barriers of testing in a clinic. They will provide between 5 and 10 self-testing kits, along with instructions for use and how to act on the results, to a group of men and women in Kenya who are HIV negative, and encourage them to test their current and future sexual partners. They will monitor their progress over a 3 month period, and evaluate the influence of this intervention on sexual decision making.
How Did We Do Today? A System to Capture Patient Experience to Inform Reproductive Health Service Improvement in Kenya
Primary Investigator:
Heidi Larson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom - GB
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Heidi Larson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom will establish simple touch screens in Kenyan health clinics to gather immediate feedback from young women seeking reproductive and sexual health services on their experience as they leave the clinic. A negative patient experience during a doctor’s appointment has a harmful effect on subsequent health decisions. They will design a touch screen interface comprising a simple red and green option along with a data collection tool, and implement them in two high volume provincial facilities in Kenya in consultation with health providers. Summaries of patient ratings will be publicly posted to motivate health providers to improve their services. The data will be analyzed for patient experience, and related to clinical performance.
Improving the Patient Experience in Primary Care Clinics
Primary Investigator:
Kris Ansin, Mali Health Organizing Project, Cambridge, MA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Kris Ansin of the Mali Health Organizing Project in the U.S. will work to improve the use of primary health clinics in Mali by identifying shortcomings in patients’ experiences at the clinics and working with staff to address them. They have already discovered that poor patient reception and hospitality strongly deter individuals from using these clinics. They will identify more specific patient concerns and help overcome them by training staff. They will evaluate their approach by measuring patient satisfaction, clinic usage, and health outcomes.
Integrating Cash Transfer and Nutrition Promotion With Mobile
Primary Investigator:
Tanvir Huda, ICDDRB, Dhaka, Bangladesh - BD
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Tanvir Huda of ICDDRB in Bangladesh will improve care and nutrition for pregnant women and young children by setting up a system whereby mobile phones are used to receive nutritional information and financial incentives for positive health-related behavior, such as attending clinics. They will perform a pilot study in Bangladesh by recruiting 350 pregnant women, providing them with mobile handsets, and establishing trained health workers who will send weekly nutritional advice and supply nutritional supplements. Cash will be transferred using bkash (a mobile banking system) when certain conditions are met, including intake of supplements, prenatal and antenatal care checks, and listening to mobile messages. The approach will be evaluated by discussions with relatives, and assessing birth outcomes and infant growth.
Integrating ICT-Based Tuberculosis Treatment Innovations
Primary Investigator:
Naoru Koizumi, George Mason University, Arlington, VA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Naoru Koizumi of George Mason University in the U.S. will evaluate whether offering individuals a choice between different information and communication technologies (ICTs) will increase adherence to treatment for tuberculosis, which lasts six months. Treatment compliance particularly in urban poor populations is low, leading to the emergence of dangerous multi-drug resistant strains of the tuberculosis bacterium. Current methods used to increase compliance, such as sending SMS reminders and financial incentives, do not suit every patient. They will conduct a pilot test in India to determine whether offering tuberculosis patients a choice between different ICT-based options for receiving treatment reminders, recording compliance, and rewarding compliant behavior, rather than selecting the options for them, improves adherence to treatment.
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