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Grand Challenges Grant Opportunities From The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Keystone Symposia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered together towards common global health goals for many years.  In this blog, we would like to highlight this partnership, and announce new grant opportunities for the scientific community through the Grand Challenges Initiatives.

First, we would like to extend a special thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been a strong supporter since 2002. Teaming together to advance global health initiatives and diversity within the life science community, we have been able to:

        • Bring local researchers from developing nations to share their insights at meetings on endemic diseases through Global Health Travel Awards.
        • Host conferences in low-and middle-income country locations for increased participation by local researchers and enhanced interaction between scientists from global communities.
        • Host Virtual Keystone Symposia (VKS) events featuring global health leaders, to discuss the greatest challenges and innovative solutions to public health problems around the world.
        • Engage broader global audiences in conversations at the forefront of biomedicine by providing free and open access to the latest scientific advances and research directions via the VKS platform.

As part of this partnership, we would like to highlight the following opportunity to the Keystone Symposia scientific community

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is accepting applications for the following 3 requests for proposals addressing women’s health under the Grand Challenges Explorations and Grand Challenges initiatives. The Grand Challenges family of initiatives fosters innovation to solve key global health and development problems.

Grant Opportunity 1:
Innovations in Materials Science for a Transformative Menstrual Health and Hygiene Product

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation picture: Innovations in Materials Science for a Transformative Menstrual Health and Hygiene ProductGrand Challenges Explorations seeks transformative and innovative ideas to support the design and development of a new menstrual health and hygiene product that meets key criteria of being responsive to user needs, focusing on discreetness, affordability, and sustainability.

Truly disruptive technologies harnessing materials science will be prioritized. Solutions must be designed in response to the needs and preferences of women and girls living in low- and middle-income countries and designed particularly with the future in mind.

Learn more about this grant

Grant Opportunity 2:
Accelerating Discovery for Non-Hormonal Contraceptives

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant Opportunity: https://gcgh.grandchallenges.org/challenge/accelerating-discovery-non-hormonal-contraceptives

Grand Challenges seeks new approaches and concepts for the characterization of contraceptive drug targets, the identification of active contraceptive compounds, and the development of novel and impactful research tools with the potential to revolutionize the field of contraceptive R&D.

We seek to leverage advances in reproductive biology, both basic and applied, and emerging technologies in drug discovery to establish a suite of capabilities that can support drug discovery in this challenging area.

Learn more about this grant

Grant Opportunity 3:
Improving Access to and Use of Safe and Appropriate Cesarean Section

Grand Challenges seeks ideas for interventions to address the following challenges related to cesarean section. Proposed activities should be implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh).

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant Opportunity: https://gcgh.grandchallenges.org/challenge/improving-access-and-use-safe-and-appropriate-cesarean-section

1) increasing access to cesarean section where it is currently inadequate.

2) increasing quality and safety of cesarean section to reduce iatrogenic harm to both mothers and newborns.

3) reducing rates of non-medically indicated cesarean section.

Learn more about this grant


Application deadline: April 22, 2020

Visit gcgh.grandchallenges.org for more information

See these Global Health ePanels, made possible through generous support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation!

Women in Vector Control

Women hold unique positions as primary caretakers and social mobilizers, both within their households and broader communities, which may be leveraged to improve the uptake and sustainability of vector control strategies. This Virtual Keystone Symposia event recording discusses various aspects of women as valuable agents in vector-control initiatives, in the context of the global malaria epidemic.

Find out more here


Register for our upcoming Live Event on April 9, 2020:

The Arthropod-Vertebrate Interface in Vector-Borne Diseases

Arthropod-borne diseases account for 17% of all infectious illnesses, causing extensive morbidity and mortality worldwide. This Keystone Virtual Symposium will bring together panelists with complementary expertise in entomology, microbiology and immunology to have an inspiring debate about some of the most pressing and interdisciplinary issues related to vector-borne diseases.

Find out more here

See more VKS content on Global Health HERE



Shannon Weiman
Shannon Weiman earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, specializing in microbiology and immunology. Prior to joining the Keystone Symposia team, she worked as a freelance writer for leaders in academic, industry and government research, including Stanford University’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative, the University of Colorado’s Biofrontiers Program, UCSF, the FDA and the American Society for Microbiology.

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a 47-year history of convening open, peer-reviewed conferences that connect the scientific community and accelerate life science discovery.