The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that 12 grantees have advanced to the next level of Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE), an initiative that enables researchers worldwide to test unorthodox ideas that address persistent health and development challenges. The grantees will receive additional funding to continue Phase II of their research over a two-year period.

"Finding solutions to persistent global health problems is a difficult, lengthy and expensive process. GCE was designed to tap the innovators of the world by providing resources needed to explore bold ideas that are typically too risky to attract funding through other mechanisms," says Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We're excited to enable further development of novel approaches that can prevent or lessen the burden of diseases that kill or disable millions of the world's most vulnerable."
GCE is a tiered granting mechanism that enables the feasibility of innovative ideas to be tested and provides additional resources for those projects that demonstrate promise in tackling priority global health issues where adequate solutions do not yet exist. Grantees hail from around the globe and projects in this round seek bold new prevention and treatment technologies to fight malaria, HIV and pneumonia.
Examples of projects receiving Phase II funding include:
* Teun Bousema of Radboud University in the Netherlands seeks to interrupt malaria transmission by deploying interventions at targeted transmission hotspots;
* Carmenza Spadafora of Panama's IASI and Jose Stoute of Pennsylvania State University investigate whether malaria can be treated by microwave irradiation;
* Fredros Okumu of Ifakara Health Institute seeks to use outdoor vector control devices to control malaria (funded jointly by Grand Challenges Canada and the Gates Foundation).
Grantees who receive Phase II funding will receive up to one million dollars of additional funding over a two-year period.
Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100-million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, grants have already been awarded to nearly 500 researchers from over 40 countries.
The grant programme is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organisation.