New lifesaving vaccines being developed and introduced in immunization programs around the world require immunization supply systems that are up to the task of ensuring that those vaccines reach the people who need them most.
A new call for proposals from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks bold new strategies to increase the effectiveness and reliability of immunization systems. The Gates Grand Challenges Explorations grant program offers US$100,000 grants to help prove the potential of innovative approaches to optimize immunization systems.
Anyone with a good idea is eligible to submit a two-page proposal, including engineers, public health specialists, entrepreneurs, and students working in a nongovernmental organization, ministry of health, university, or company. Launched in 2008, Grand Challenges Explorations grants have already been awarded to 602 researchers from 44 countries. Successful projects may be eligible for additional funding up to $1 million.
Priority areas for funding include: vaccine product characteristics, supply system design, environmental impact, information systems, human resources, and vaccination acceptance.
Proposed solutions should be daring in premise and clearly different from approaches currently under investigation or in use, with a focus on the operational aspects of immunization systems. Ideas also must have the potential to be scaled up or reproduced in multiple low-resource settings.
The call for proposals builds on work facilitated by Project Optimize—a collaboration between PATH and the World Health Organization—to develop a common vision for the future of immunization supply systems and logistics.
The submission deadline is May 15, 2012.