Office of Research

Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) supports hundreds of early-stage research projects – including many ideas that have never before been tested – and scientists from a wide range of disciplines and regions. The Explorations initiative funds innovative ideas that could lead to new vaccines, diagnostics, drugs, and other technologies targeting diseases that claim millions of lives every year.


GCE is an extension of the Bill & Melinda  Gates Foundation’s commitment to the Grand Challenges in Global  Health, which was launched in 2003 to accelerate the discovery of new technologies to improve global health. To date, the foundation has committed over $450 million to support hundreds of projects on topics such as making childhood vaccines easier to use in poor countries, and creating new ways to control insects that spread disease.


Key features of the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative are:

  • A short application. Instructions are available online at:

  • Rapid turnaround time. We will select grants in approximately five months from the proposal submission deadline.
  • We review for novel ideas that show great promise. Our review process is based on reviewers with a track record in identifying innovative ideas selecting the proposals they find most pioneering - no consensus or peer review is needed.
  • Phase I grants of $100,000 USD are awarded initially; projects have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on Phase II grant of up to $1,000,000 USD

Eligibility Requirements

Your proposal must represent an innovative approach that is responsive to the topic. The foundation has a number of other avenues of funding for the equally important research that is within currently accepted paradigms. Such work will not be funded under Grand Challenges Explorations.


Applications are sent to reviewers without personal or organizational information. Do not include this information in the body of your proposal. Proposals that include personal or organizational information in the body of the proposal are at risk of being automatically removed from the review


Your proposal will be reviewed by a panel with broad expertise and a track record in identifying innovations – these reviewers may not be deep domain experts in your field. You must describe your idea in clear language without the use of jargon unique to your field.


The work proposed in your application must include a clear set of key experiments or activities that test your idea in a way that could provide sufficient evidence to motivate Phase II funding. Proposals with vague descriptions or vague testing methodologies will not be funded.

Application Instructions

Note: Per the RFP, "You may submit multiple ideas in partnership with collaborators, but an individual PI may lead the submission of only one proposal each round”. Thus, this is not a limited submission opportunity, and we're announcing it only for informational purposes.

Opportunity Details

Program web page

04/30/2013 UW Internal Deadline Closed
04/30/2013 OSP Deadline
05/07/2013 Sponsor Deadline

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Eligible groups
  • All campus

Inquiries and Contact Information

Investigators who identify a grant, award or fellowship program that restricts the number of applications that can be submitted from an Institution should immediately contact their Chairperson, Associate Dean for Research (or Dean, if no ADR) and the Office of Research (see below) if they intend to prepare a response. Failure to do so, or to meet the deadlines for submission of pre-proposal, will preclude submission of the application through the Office of Sponsored Programs.

For general inquiries, or to request a listing of a limited submission opportunity that should be but is not already listed, please email us at