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Accelerating innovations mitigating climate change impact on health, agriculture, & gender

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The funding represents a pivotal step towards addressing climate change contributing to a healthier, more resilient future.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Climate change threatens to reverse decades of global development progress and puts the health and livelihoods of future generations in jeopardy. Data indicates a rapid increase in temperature, humidity and rainfall which negatively impacts health, agriculture and vulnerable populations including women. For example, increasing temperatures and rainfall from El Nino support growth of mosquitoes in new locations which previously did not support mosquito populations resulting in spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. There is an urgent need to invest in creative solutions that adapt and build resilience to these existing and future climate related challenges.

The Global Grand Challenges network of partners are pleased to announce a joint funding call of approximately USD 12M. This funding is aimed to support innovators addressing the critical intersection of climate change, health, agriculture, and gender. The partners include Grand Challenges Africa; Grand Challenges Rwanda; Grand Challenges Brazil; Grand Challenges Ethiopia; and Grand Challenges India in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, Foundation S-The Sanofi Collective S, Rockefeller Foundation and Pasteur Network. This funding follows a 2022 climate and health call for applications by Grand Challenges Canada and the South African Medical Research Council / Grand Challenges South Africa.

“Climate change is one of the greatest global health challenges of our time. To help solve it, we need science to understand and address the climate and health crisis, especially to support actions that benefit and protect the most affected people and communities. By bringing different funders together under the common umbrella of the Grand Challenges partnership, we can ensure that promising scientific solutions to climate change are supported and delivered to achieve impact at scale,” said Alan Dangour, Director Climate and Health, Wellcome.

We seek innovative projects utilizing transdisciplinary approaches to better adapt to, mitigate, or reverse the combined, deleterious effects of climate change on health, women’s lives, and agriculture. Preference will be given to innovations that are formulated locally or adapted from other contexts. We are especially interested in locally led, system-level innovations that are scalable and sustainable and cross-cutting solutions at the intersection of multiple scientific and engineering disciplines. This request for proposals by Grand Challenges partners will provide innovators with seed grants of up to USD 200,000 each for a period of 24 months to execute their visionary projects.

Announcing the request for proposals today on behalf of all Grand Challenges partners at COP28 session on Climate-Health Solutions Showcase’ in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Science for Africa Foundation, home of Grand Challenges Africa, CEO, Tom Kariuki said: "the people whose health and wellbeing are being harmed first and worst by the climate crisis are also the ones who contribute least to its causes, and who are least able to protect themselves and their families against it—namely people in low-income and disadvantaged countries and communities. In low-income settings, rising heat, extreme weather events, changes in precipitation patterns, shifts in duration and prevalence of climate-sensitive diseases (malaria, dengue, many foodborne and water-borne diseases), and increased potential for the emergence of novel diseases damage already weak primary health care systems and community health structures. Together with our partners, we are committed to fostering collaborative efforts to catalyse innovations that will safeguard the well-being of our communities and pave the way for a more sustainable, resilient future."

"Grand Challenges India is keen to attract proposals that build resilient systems to mitigate climate change impact on human health and agriculture. Solutions may include responsive adaptation mechanisms, accurate surveillance and monitoring systems, predictive models, early detection of vector-borne, waterborne diseases, and infectious pathogens of concern. Strengthening research capacities, developing smart healthcare, integrating crop-livestock system to enhance agroecosystem resilience, soil health and biodiversity are some of the focus areas. The call would encourage research and innovation utilizing transdisciplinary approaches to better adapt and mitigate or reverse the combined, deleterious effects of climate change impact on agriculture and health in India." said Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director, Grand Challenges India.

“Foundation S is pleased to support this public-private effort to strengthen community resilience to the impacts of climate change on health. Outputs of this work will help facilitate the much-needed evidence and data required to support innovative approaches for climate adaptation at the local level,” said Vanina Laurent-Ledru Director General, Foundation S.

“Continuing to make progress against diseases like malaria means addressing climate, health, and development in a complementary way,” said Kedest Tesfagiorgis, Deputy Director of Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “I’m excited to see the global network of Grand Challenges partners, including the seven partners from five continents supporting this call, contributing the diversity of expertise and perspective needed to foster cutting-edge, locally relevant innovation in communities around the world.”

Ethiopia Ministry of Health (Grand Challenges Ethiopia), Minister H.E. Dr Lia Tadesse added: ’The climate crisis presents an urgent and escalating threat to public health in Ethiopia. We are experiencing a range of health risks attributed to climate change, including the proliferation of vector-borne diseases, rising incidence of diarrheal diseases because of floods, and increased vulnerability to malnutrition due to droughts. Furthermore, climate stresses such as water scarcity and the resulting population displacement have a profound impact on mental health, particularly among pastoralist communities. Therefore, the collaborative efforts of the Grand Challenges (GC) partners including GC Ethiopia represent a commendable endeavor aimed at collectively mitigating the impact of climate change, globally and in Ethiopia".

The funding represents a pivotal step towards addressing climate change contributing to a healthier, more resilient future. Proposals should address the following critical areas:

  • Climate & health outcomes; including gender related impact
  • Climate and nutrition
  • Adaptation strategies for agriculture and income development, with a focus on women’s agriculture livelihoods.
  • Knowledge management and data integration of climate and health databases
  • Effective response and resilient supply chains for crisis management

To read more and apply for this request for proposals click here

For the French version of this press release, click here

About the Global Grand Challenges Network of Partners

The global grand challenges network of partners support innovative solutions to "Grand Challenges" in health and development with a vision for a world where local, regional, and global innovation ecosystems are thriving and fostering solutions in the places where they will have the most impact. Together, Grand Challenges (GC) partners have invested US$1.6 billion, awarding 3,800 grants to a diverse pool of scientists and researchers in 118 countries. These include various GCs and their host institutions below:

  • Grand Challenges Africa, Science for Africa Foundation
  • Grand Challenges Canada, Government of Canada
  • Grand Challenges South Africa, South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
  • Grand Challenges Rwanda, Rwanda’s National Council of Science and Technology (NCST)
  • Grand Challenges Brazil, Brazil’s Ministry of Health
  • Grand Challenges Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and hosted at Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI)
  • Grand Challenges India, India’s government, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistant Council (BIRAC)
  • Grand Challenges, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In addition to national government funding, these GCs are also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, Foundation S -Sanofi Collective, Rockefeller Foundation and Pasteur Network.

Media Enquiries: Juliette Mutheu, Corporate & Science Communications
[email protected]