Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Grand Challenges Explorations - Innovations for Improving the Impact of Health Campaigns


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Grand Challenges Explorations: Innovations for Improving the Impact of Health Campaigns

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Round 24 Rules & Guidelines

FAQ for Applicants

Tips for Applicants


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is inviting proposals for the latest round of the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) supports hundreds of early-stage projects – including many ideas that have never before been tested – and innovators from a wide range of disciplines and regions. The GCE initiative funds innovative ideas that could lead to new vaccines, diagnostics, drugs, and other technologies targeting diseases that claim millions of lives every year, as well as improvements and innovations in agriculture development and other priority areas of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GCE is an extension of the foundation’s commitment to the Grand Challenges in Global Health, which was launched in 2003 to accelerate the discovery of new technologies to improve global health. Since then, GCE has expanded to include global development and communications challenges, and the Grand Challenges family of programs launched additional funding opportunities in 2014. To date, the foundation has committed over half a billion dollars to support hundreds of projects on topics such as making childhood vaccines easier to use in poor countries and creating new ways to control insects that spread disease.

Round 24: Innovations for Improving the Impact of Health Campaigns is seeking innovative solutions that accelerate the improvement of coverage, reach, efficiency, and effectiveness of health campaigns. Specifically, the Foundation is looking for innovations in approaches, practices, or tools that dramatically improve the planning and microplanning, implementation / operations, and monitoring and evaluation that will lead to improved effectiveness of campaigns.

In order to contribute to the development and spread of campaign "best practices", a solution should be applicable to campaigns beyond the context in which it is originally tested (e.g. applicable in multiple lower- to middle-incomes countries and/or applicable across multiple types of health campaigns such as immunization, NTDs, malaria, or nutrition).

The Foundation is especially interested in novel approaches that draw on innovation from large-scale delivery models outside of the health sector, which may include interventions used in the private sector.


This call is open to both foreign and domestic organizations, including non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, international organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions. Upon registration, applicants must provide information about the tax status of their organization as different terms and conditions may apply. Please confirm the University of Guelph's tax status with the Office of Research Services. 

Please note that applicants planning to conduct project activities in India may be required to register with the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act of 2010 (FCRA). 
An applicant must submit under only one topic each round and may submit only one proposal. Submit your best idea. You may submit multiple ideas in partnership with collaborators, but an individual Principal Investigator may lead the submission of only one proposal each round. View the detailed topic descriptions and determine which topic best suits your idea. You must select a topic prior to submitting a proposal. You may change your topic and edit your proposal any time before the application deadline.

Maximum Project Value

Awards of $100,000 USD are made in Phase I. Phase I awardees may have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on Phase II award of up to $1,000,000 USD.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Phase I projects have a term of 18 months beginning on the project start date, which has been set for May 1, 2020. This 18-month time period should include project work time, ramp up and required reporting.

Special Notes

Changes to the Rules and Guidelines will be posted on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Grand Challenges website (, including any changes to the dates listed above. Please read the current FAQ before submitting any questions or concerns.

If successful, please note that the Grand Challenges Explorations program requires the award recipient to accept the provisions of the relevant agreement since these terms are non-negotiable. As such, the Office of Research Services requires you to consult directly to ensure you understand and accept the conditions of the program. 


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Please submit your application/proposal, along with an OR-5 form to

External Deadline

PI to submit full application directly to the sponsor by 2:30pm EST (11:30am PST) using the GCE online portal

How to Apply

Please find the Application Form in the Attachments section below.

You are required to submit either a Microsoft Word® or PDF document; no more than two pages in length. Please do not include a cover sheet with your proposal. A cover sheet will be automatically generated from your registration data.

The review and evaluation of your application are not based on your past history or institutional capabilities. Describe your project without identifying personal or organizational information and do not refer to potential project partners by names or other identifying information. Proposals that do not adhere to these restrictions may be removed from consideration. 


For Questions, please contact

Please direct all questions about this initiative, selection criteria, or application instructions by e-mail to

Office of Research

Carolyn Dowling-Osborn, Senior Manager, Grants & Contracts
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x52935

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