New fund for young developing world innovators to tackle deadly global health conditions

November 13, 2011

Supporting the pursuit of bold, creative health-related innovations in developing countries is the goal of a new $18 million fund announced today by Grand Challenges Canada.

GCC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter A. Singer announced the program, "Rising Stars in Global Health," in Montreal at the 2011 Global Health Conference ( The program for young developing country innovators is designed to nurture bold, original thinking on tackling some of the most difficult global health challenges.

"Grand Challenges Canada believes that some of the most effective life-saving breakthroughs come from developing country innovators," said Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada. "Who knows the people, the health challenges, the impact and the potential for solutions better than motivated local innovators? Often promising local ideas do not have the support to be developed. We want to change that."

"I am delighted that Grand Challenges Canada has made this commitment," said Dr. Mohammed Hassan, Former Executive Director of The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World and Board Member, Grand Challenges Canada. "It's such an important opportunity for innovators in the developing world to have support for their bold ideas which have such potential to save lives".

In total, Grand Challenges Canada will award up to $18 million in seed and scale-up grants for original ideas with potential. For the first phase, some of the most promising creative ideas will receive seed grants of $100,000 to develop the concept further. Then innovations with highest potential will be eligible for further grants of $1 million.

"We are looking for those transformational ideas that can make a difference in some of the most under-served countries in the world," said Joseph L. Rotman, Chairman of the Board of Grand Challenges Canada "We know that developing world innovators have bold ideas to address their own challenges and those ideas need support."

The new Rising Stars in Global Health program complements the successful Grand Challenges Canada's Canadian Rising Stars in Global Health initiative which funds Canadian innovators. Proposals such as a tattoo that delivers drugs, a wind up fetal heart monitor and unique technology strategies to support HIV prevention were seed grant winners. Grand Challenges Canada anticipates more exciting innovations will be proposed thanks to this international fund.

"This Rising Stars in Global Health initiative builds on our history of investing in local talent and ideas." Said David Malone, President of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), "Promising younger people so often grow into tomorrow's leaders."

"There are so many amazing creative ideas grown locally here in the developing world that can save lives," said Dr. Fredros Okumu, of the Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania. "My work has benefited from the support of Grand Challenges Canada. Now I can further develop a promising device to reduce the incidence of malaria, a disease claiming close to 800,000 lives a year"

Proposals require Grand Challenges Canada's Integrated Innovation approach which is the coordinated application of scientific/technological, social and business innovation to develop solutions to complex challenges.

Grand Challenges Canada is funded through the Development Innovation Fund. In Budget 2008, the Government of Canada committed $225 million CAD over five years to the Development Innovation Fund, to support the best minds in the world in a collaborative search for solutions to global health challenges.
About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is a unique independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of people in developing countries by integrating scientific, technological, business and social innovation. Grand Challenges Canada works with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR )and other global health foundations and organizations to find sustainable long-term solutions to the most pressing health challenges. Grand Challenges Canada is hosted at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.

About Canada's International Development Research Centre

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most. As the Government of Canada's lead on the Development Innovation Fund, IDRC draw on decades of experience managing publicly funded research projects to administer the Development Innovation Fund. IDRC also ensures that developing country researchers and concerns are front and centre in this exciting new initiative.

About Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

CIHR will be responsible for the administration of international peer review, according to international standards of excellence. The results of CIHR-led peer review will guide the awarding of grants by Grand Challenges Canada from the Development Innovation Fund

About McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health

The McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health is based at University Health Network and University of Toronto. We develop innovative global health solutions and help bring them to scale where they are most urgently needed. The McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health hosts Grand Challenges Canada.

Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health

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