The Grand Challenges initiative, launched in 2003 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to encourage research and development to develop innovative solutions to tackle the myriad health and development challenges afflicting the lives of millions of poor across the globe.
Recently the Annual Grand Challenges meeting was held from October 18-21 in Beijing, China. The meeting witnessed the convening of over 800 researchers, scientists, as well as high-level representatives from governments and organizations from across the globe to share proven practices, encourage partnerships and seek solutions to address the health challenges in the world.
Grand Challenges India was jointly launched by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013 to promote scientific and technological advances in health through research and innovation, exclusively for Indian researchers.
Under the initiative, the DBT and the Gates Foundation have pledged an investment up to $25 million each, over the period of 5 years. Grand Challenges India seeks to promote and nurture innovations in vaccines, drugs, agricultural products, and interventions related to improving maternal and child health.
"We must recognize the need of innovation in developing societies. Encouraging innovation is of principal importance to tackle the problems of open defecation, child morbidity and mortality and malnutrition among mothers and children. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, have come together to tap the vast potential available in India and drive health innovation in the country." said Mr Trevor Mundel, President of the Global Health Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.