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Gates Foundation, National Natural Science Foundation launch Grand Challenges China

  • Published: Oct 30, 2015
  • Source: CAE
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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are to establish Grand Challenges China in a bid to support, strengthen and develop cooperation in scientific and technological research on global health and development.

Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Since its creation in Global Health in 2003, Grand Challenges has been supporting investigators around the world to translate their bold and ground-breaking ideas into tangible impacts to alleviate challenges in global health and development.

According to a memorandum of understanding and an implementation agreement signed by the two parties, the Gates Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation will jointly select and fund scientific and technological research projects focused on tackling major infectious diseases, reducing maternal and child mortality, strengthening translation capacity, advancing agriculture, food and nutrition outcomes and alleviating challenges in other key areas that will benefit people in both China and beyond.

"Grand Challenges has proven a successful model in catalyzing innovations for global health and development priorities during the past 10 years," said Dr Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation. "As we embrace a new decade of Grand Challenges, we're thrilled that our collaboration with the National Natural Science Foundation will encourage Chinese and international scientists to work together on the precise research needs of the developing world."

Academician Shen Yan, vice president of the National Natural Science Foundation, said: "With a growing and robust community of innovators, China has the capacity for greater scientific discoveries and breakthroughs to benefit other developing countries in the world. We look forward to working with the Gates Foundation to leverage the Grand Challenges model to drive new Chinese-international collaborations that can lead to major progress on global health and development."

The two foundations also announced that they will launch a first request for proposals in early 2016 which will call for innovative concepts for safe, effective, affordable and widely utilized interventions, such as vaccines and therapeutics, with the potential to protect against the acquisition, progression or transmission of infectious diseases, or to provide a cure for infectious diseases, in resource-limited settings.

Research projects involving substantive collaboration between Chinese and international teams are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $1 million and four years with joint funding from the foundations. Chinese-international collaboration will be essential to the success of the project.

Grand Challenges adopts a transparent and optimized approach to raising, distributing and managing funding. The effective and open collaboration mechanism helps establish a public-private partnership in many countries worldwide. The newly announced partnership is the latest addition to the Grand Challenges family, joining similar initiatives in Canada, Brazil, India, Thailand and Africa.

(From China Daily, 2015-10-20)