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 (see the Grand Challenges fact sheet).
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 the diseases and health conditions contributing most to global health inequity. 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 annual 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 on a range of challenges. Explore awarded grants, watch grantee videos, read project histories from the initiative's first ten years, 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. Explore awarded grants and watch videos from the 2017 Grand Challenges meeting in Washington, DC.
Launched in 2012, Grand Challenges Brazil is a partnership framework for the Ministry of Health of Brazil, its National Council on Research (CNPq), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other funders 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). Explore awarded grants and watch videos from the 2013 Grand Challenges meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
Launched in 2013, Grand Challenges India is a partnership framework for the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology, India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and other funders to launch joint challenges aimed at catalyzing innovative health research within India. Explore awarded grants.
Launched in 2015, 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.
Launched in 2015, Grand Challenges Africa is a partnership framework to launch joint challenges. It works in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and is implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D). Explore awarded grants and watch videos from the 2019 Grand Challenges meeting in Addis Ababa.
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.
Launched in 2015, Grand Challenges Ethiopia is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and is hosted at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI). It seeks to fund Ethiopian investigators with innovative projects in the health sector to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Watch videos from the 2019 Grand Challenges meeting in Addis Ababa.
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.
Launched in 2018 as a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO); and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with support from Grand Challenges Canada, Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge seeks life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict.
Launched in 2021 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative seeks to build on lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to fund cutting-edge science projects that together advance high-priority global health objectives while supporting and expanding a locally-led research and development ecosystem with a balance of women investigators. Explore the challenges launched and the grants awarded.