[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 22-Nov-2012
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Contact: Terry Collins
Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health

Lyn Whitham
Grand Challenges Canada

Inspired: Canada funds 68 bold, inventive ways to improve health, save lives in developing countries

Grand Challenges Canada awards 68 $100,000 seed grants to innovators worldwide

IMAGE: Ten packages of "Kit Yamoyo " anti-diarrhea kits fit easily into a single crate of cola, which will be distributed widely in developing countries.

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Grand Challenges Canada, which is funded by the Government of Canada, today announced $100,000 grants to 51 innovators in 18 low and middle income countries worldwide to pursue bold, creative ideas to tackle health problems in resource-poor countries.

Grants were also announced for 17 Canadian-based projects to be implemented in developing countries.

Among the Canadian-based projects: researchers will mimic rocket technology to propel coagulant nanoparticles into the bloodstream and stop maternal bleeding, a major cause of death in the developing world; test a high-tech Burn Survival Kit that includes a low-cost silver nanotubule dressing making treatment affordable; and develop an HIV infection detector that works in fewer than 5 minutes.

Out-of-the-box projects based overseas include a new trading system in Kenya: seeds and fertilizers for proof of child vaccinations; a $100 kitchen reno to reduce indoor pollution and problem pregnancies in Bangladesh; cultivating disease-fighting prawns in Senegal; creating wealth from human waste in cholera-troubled Haiti; and, in Zambia, anti-diarrhea kits hitching a ride on Coca-Cola's distribution system to get essential medicine to "the ends of the Earth."

The Stars in Global Health program seeks breakthrough, affordable ideas that can be transformative in addressing disease - innovations that can benefit the developing world. A total of more than $7 million will support 68 projects -- 38 in Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana (4), Kenya (10), Nigeria, Rwanda (2), Senegal (2), Tanzania (2), Uganda (8), Zambia (4), Zimbabwe and South Africa), 23 in Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh (3), China, India (9), Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan (4), Vietnam), 5 in Latin America / Caribbean (Haiti (3), Guatemala, Nicaragua), and 2 in the Middle East (Jordan, Tunisia).

"Canada works with our like-minded partners throughout the world to leverage our investments in health innovation so they're focused on getting results," said Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. "We support Grand Challenges Canada's Stars in Global Health so these innovators can apply their talents and further efforts to make the world a healthier and safer place."

"This is the largest pipeline of bold ideas in global health from innovators worldwide, and shows unequivocally that poor countries can be rich in ideas about how to improve the health of their people," says Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada. "Grand Challenges Canada is proud to support these extraordinary innovators because they will make a difference to so many lives."

Each of the innovators, selected from over 250 applicants, will receive a grant of $100,000 to develop their innovations. If their ideas prove effective, the innovators will be eligible for an additional Grand Challenges Canada scale-up funding of $1 million.

IMAGE: Cucumber and cantaloupe plants are grown on a raft in Costa Rica as part of a prototype for aquatic agriculture, which could increase food production without using freshwater beyond what...

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Today's grants include:

IMAGE: Organic waste in an urban slum in Uganda, which can cause flooding and breeding sites for waterborne diseases. Youth will collect and sort discarded organic waste and deliver it...

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The 17 Canadian-based research projects receiving $100,000 grants include:

There have already been 436 applications, including 338 from low and middle-income countries, for the next (4th) round of funding under the GCC Stars in Global Health programme.

Grand Challenges Canada is funded by the Government of Canada through the Development Innovation Fund announced in the 2008 Federal Budget.


Please visit www.grandchallenges.ca and look for us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting bold ideas with big impact in global health. We are funded by the Government of Canada through the Development Innovation Fund announced in the 2008 Federal Budget. We fund innovators in low and middle income countries and Canada. Grand Challenges Canada works with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and other global health foundations and organizations to find sustainable long-term solutions through integrated innovation - bold ideas which integrate science, technology, social and business innovation. Grand Challenges Canada is hosted at the Sandra Rotman Centre.

About Canada's International Development Research Centre

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most.

As the Government of Canada's lead on the Development Innovation Fund, IDRC draws on decades of experience managing publicly funded research projects to administer the Development Innovation Fund. IDRC also ensures that developing country researchers and concerns are front and centre in this exciting new initiative.

About Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

CIHR will be responsible for the administration of international peer review, according to international standards of excellence. The results of CIHR-led peer reviews will guide the awarding of grants by Grand Challenges Canada from the Development Innovation Fund.

About Sandra Rotman Centre

The Sandra Rotman Centre is based at University Health Network and University of Toronto. We develop innovative global health solutions and help bring them to scale where they are most urgently needed. The Sandra Rotman Centre hosts Grand Challenges Canada.

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