Major Programs under

Grand Challenges India (GCI) - the flagship program

Grand Challenges India (GCI) program is the flagship program managed by the PMU at BIRAC for the Department of Biotechnology and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnership.

GCI is the Indian arm of the Global Grand Challenges program launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Foundation launched Grand Challenges, as Grand Challenges in Global health in 2003, to focus on 14 major scientific challenges that if solved, could lead to improving the health of people in the developing world. Today, Grand Challenges has awarded 44 grants with a total funding of over $450 million across 33 countries for research projects during the course of its existence. The scope of the program has also expanded over the last decade to include challenges to global development along with global health.

Grand Challenges India was launched with the aim of fostering Indian innovation and research to develop affordable and sustainable solutions to improve health, in India and across the globe.

The ambit of Grand Challenges India is varied and includes health and development priorities. These include; maternal and child health, infectious diseases, vaccines, point-of-care diagnostics, agricultural development, food and nutrition, among others.

GCI is committed to seeking and rewarding both established researchers and young entrepreneurs, and other innovators, with the overall goal of expanding the pipeline of ideas for developing new preventive and curative therapies, piloting new technologies, and researching new ideas.

GCI supports projects under specific calls or programs by providing financial support in the form of grants, cooperative agreements and contracts, which are co-funded by the partner organizations or funded individually. PMU-BIRAC is responsible for managing these projects and providing technical and financial oversight.

The following are the three Grand Challenges India calls managed by the PMU at BIRAC. Please click on the individual links for more details on each. 

AGN- Achieving Healthy Growth through Agriculture and Nutrition
RTTC- Reinvent the Toilet Challenge
ACT- All Children Thriving
Immunization Data: Innovating for Action (IDIA)
Grand Challenges India call on Antimicrobial Resistance
Grand Challenges India call on ki (knowledge integration) Data Challenge

Healthy Birth, Growth and Development knowledge Integration- India

HBGDki India is the Indian arm of the global Healthy Birth, Growth and Development knowledge integration (HBGDki) platform funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative will focus on collecting and collating data on Indian children and cohorts to allow Indian and global researchers and policymakers to access this data analysis.

HBGDki is an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that was created with the aim of promoting knowledge sharing among researchers to better inform local health research goals. This initiative will essentially create a knowledge compendium that will allow researchers and others to access a variety of data from different parts of the world, to allow them to obtain a much clearer picture of global trends and analyses on factors that affect child birth and subsequent development. The three major areas of focus for this initiative are: Preterm birth, physical growth faltering and impaired neurocognitive development.

Substantive amounts of research have already been done on this front, all over the world but in a fragmented manner; some as published data, some in manuscripts form and some as unpublished datasets. HBGDki will support the rapid aggregation and comparison of data from these fragmented sources by providing a single platform for this data to be stored. The platform will allow contributing academics, statisticians and ultimately policymakers to access this data which would enable them to obtain a much clear picture on trends and patterns. These insights will help design packages of interventions to address these issues as well as identify gaps in research to direct future efforts. These insights are crucial in deciding what intervention should be delivered to whom, at what point in their life, and in what form, to ensure that we reduce the burden of these three conditions to improve children’s lives and their future.

The overall goal of creating this platform is to facilitate rapid progress in our understanding of the multiple interrelated issues that result in poor growth outcomes for the world’s children and to use this evidence to design interventions and policies to address these often fatal complications.

HBGDki India is the Indian arm of this global platform and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative will focus on collecting and collating data on Indian children and cohorts to allow Indian and global researchers and policymakers to access this data analysis.