Grand for Innovative Ideas, Mobile Technology in Global Health

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the topic areas addressed in Round 5 of Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE). The Foundation has put forward a program to fund innovative, out-of-the-box ideas to overcome persistent global health challenges. One of the topic areas addresses the use of mobile phone technology for health.

GCE grants require only a two-page application and a revolutionary idea. Grantees receive $100,000 to prove their idea has merit, with the possibility of applying for up to $1 million in additional funds after the first year.

Topics for Grand Challenges Explorations Round?5 are:

  • Create Low-Cost Cell Phone-Based Applications for Priority Global Health Conditions;
  • Create New Technologies to Improve the Health of Mothers and Newborns;
  • Create New Ways to Protect Against Infectious Disease;
  • Create New Technologies for Contraception.

One area which is of great interest to me is the Low-Cost Cell Phone-Based Applications for Priority Health Conditions. Looking back at Africa for example the mobile phones have changed? the way of life for many and never before has any technology been adopted by Africans more than mobile phones.? The high rate of cell phones penetration and connectivity within Africa gives a life time opportunity to access majority of the populations even those in the most remote areas or jungles.

In that developers can come up with creative and unique practical healthcare applications that will:

  • Expand access or penetrate more deeply into at risk populations;
  • Facilitate mobile health care delivery in previously inaccessible or underserved locations;
  • Improve the overall management of health care delivery at the point of delivery;
  • Improve the quality of care at an unprecedented level in these locations;
  • Decrease the cost of global health or medical services.
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Following are some tips for grant seekers wishing to submit proposals:

  • Proposals must represent an innovative approach responsive to the topic.? There are other avenues of funding for the equally important research that is within currently accepted paradigms.? Such work will not be funded under Grand Challenges Explorations.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a panel with broad expertise and a track record in identifying innovations ? these reviewers may not be deep domain experts in your field.? Ideas should be described in clear language without the use of jargon unique to a particular field.
  • Proof-of-concept for ideas need not be completed in Phase I. However, credible evidence supporting the validity of an idea, sufficient proof to warrant expanded support, and next steps for the project should be provided.

In general, topics are chosen according to three major criteria:

  • The topic fits within the goals and disease priorities of the Grand Challenges in Global Health;
  • The topic contains a roadblock where radical, new thinking is needed for the discovery of an effective health solution;
  • Potential projects within the topic are likely to

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