• Proposal: 01/14/2020


  • Amount: Up to $100,000
  • Duration: 2 years


The African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have come together in a transformative partnership to support African investigators to accelerate MNCH targets towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health.

The first initiative of the partnership is to launch a new Grand Challenge: Focusing on top priorities for MNCH in Africa – solutions to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets for maternal, neonatal and child health.

This challenge focuses on the top priorities for MNCH in Africa 2019 and aligns with the findings of the MNCH research prioritisation using The Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) process conducted in 2019 in Africa. CHNRI uses the principles of wisdom of the crowds to systematically collect and transparently score research options against important criteria in a particular field. In a three-stage democratic process lasting 7 months, the MNCH expert convening 2019, aggregated thoughts from MNCH experts working in Africa and showed that there is a need to concentrate on four areas of importance in MNCH that remain a grand challenge for Africa. These are:

  • better health during pregnancy
  • better care at birth
  • better post-birth care for women and their newborns
  • better hospital care of sick newborns

The aggregated research priorities are across the spectrum of health research and in all four domains of description (epidemiology), discovery (new interventions), development (improvement of existing interventions), and delivery (implementation research, including health systems).

This is, therefore, a call for proposals looking for big, bold, innovative ideas that can have the greatest impact on African maternal and neonatal health with the potential for future sustainability and scaling.

This will be the third maternal and neonatal child health call and the eighth call from GC Africa since its inception in 2016.

These grand challenges innovation grants will be issued and administered under the banner of Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa), a programme of the AAS implemented through the AAS funding and programme management platform – the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), which was created in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA: formerly (NEPAD Agency) and global partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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