Gates Foundation funds 78 new ideas

Gates Foundation funds 78 new ideas

New Delhi: The US-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding 78 health projects with the potential of benefiting developing countries. The projects range from work on a reversible long-lasting male contraceptive pill to a gel that destroys malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.

The grants were awarded last week under the Gates Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) programme, according to the foundation’s website.

Launched in 2008, the GCE programme has benefited 340 researchers from 31 countries until now. Initial grants of $100,000 (Rs45.7 lakh) are awarded twice a year, and successful projects have the opportunity of receiving a follow-on grant of $1 million or more.

“We are convinced that some of these ideas will lead to new innovations and eventually solutions that will save lives," said Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program.

Most winners in the latest round are projects exploring low-cost, rapid and easy ways of detecting and preventing disease. They include three US-based Indian researchers.

Gautam Pangu of Pennsylvania-based Vindico NanoBioTechnology is developing a dual-action topical gel with spermicidal and therapeutic properties. Vineet Gupta of the University of Miami has been funded for research into developing a novel means of detecting tuberculosis.

Vyas Sharma of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as his colleague David Lawrence, are seeking to create a sensitive, fast, affordable and widely applicable version of seed germination.

The foundation is receiving applications for the next round of funding until Wednesday for projects dealing with new technologies for contraception and protection against infectious disease and cellphone-based health applications.