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'Grand Challenges' Set for Science

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced the first 14 scientific challenges that will be the focus of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. The foundation now seeks grant proposals for research on these critical scientific and technological problems that, if solved, could lead to important advances against diseases of the developing world.

The Gates Foundation announced a $200 million grant to FNIH in January to establish and administer the Grand Challenges initiative in partnership with NIH. NIH will identify activities that are appropriate for government funding. Possibilities include the parallel release of announcements to fund joint or associated projects, funding shared resources and training, and announcing funding opportunities for follow-up grants that complement the challenges initiative.

"Health problems of this magnitude demand that we bring our collective knowledge and experience together to effect real advances that will make a positive difference in people's lives throughout the world," said NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. "It is clear that this initiative is moving forward with alacrity and focus."

The challenges announced Oct. 16 are associated with seven broad goals: improve childhood vaccines, create new vaccines, control insects that transmit disease agents, improve nutrition to promote health, improve drug treatment of infectious diseases, cure latent and chronic infections, and measure disease and health status accurately and economically in developing countries.

The FNIH now seeks grant proposals from the international scientific community for research on the 14 Grand Challenges. Grants will be awarded for up to a total of $20 million for a maximum 5-year period. Applications are invited from every part of the world, from single or multiple institutions, both nonprofit and for profit. To apply for a research grant, investigators must first submit a letter of intent; those that show the most promising and innovative approaches will be invited to submit a formal grant proposal.

For more detailed information, visit www.grandchallengesgh.org.


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