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Grand Challenges Explorations #18 Targets Contraceptive Research



The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its Round 18 call for Grand Challenges Explorations. Launched in 2008, the Grand Challenges Explorations vehicle funds early stage discovery research to expand the pipeline of potential solutions to address global health and development challenges.  Two of the four topics targeted for this cycle are of particular interest to contraceptive technology researchers.


Assess Family Planning (FP) Needs, Preferences and Behaviors to Inform Innovations in Contraceptive Technologies


The foundation seeks to build the evidence base to improve understanding of the needs, preferences and behaviors of specific groups of contraceptive users and non-users, including service providers.  While large population-based surveys (e.g. DHS) provide some evidence regarding reasons for unmet need, a more precise understanding of users (or potential users, providers, program managers, policy makers), is needed to inform development of innovative, more sensitive, and more thoughtful FP interventions. Proposals should include a description of how results could be applied to designing or developing new contraceptive technologies that enhance FP access, demand or acceptance and provide for sustained use. More information about this opportunity can be found here.


 Develop Novel Platforms to Accelerate Contraceptive Drug Discovery


The foundation is also soliciting concepts for contraceptive discovery platforms that can contribute to the development of new long-term methods suitable for women or men living in limited resource settings. Proposed research plans should not focus on a particular experimental agent, but rather on development and validation of a set of tools and technologies to address technical limitations in this field.  Development of such tools could then be applied to a broader drug discovery and product development program.  New injectable formulations, new implants using existing agents, and methods targeting intermittent “on-demand” or pericoital use (e.g., vaginal gels) are not within the scope of this call. More information about this opportunity can be found here.


Grants made under the foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations mechanism are extremely competitive.  Researchers must submit their novel, compelling applications for consideration no later than 11:30 A.M., PST, on November 9, 2016.