2020 African Academy of Sciences (AAS) Grand Challenges Africa – Innovation Seed Grants

Deadline: January 14, 2020.

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.

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


To reach these objectives, they are looking for projects that propose innovation in the following areas:

  • Delivery tools: Innovative approaches or new ways to deliver already available interventions i.e. proposals that focus on packages / innovative approaches to deliver existing proven life-saving innovations
  • Measurement tools: Pilot tests of new measurement tools, such as those based on a new technology or new biomarkers to enable the timely diagnosis, monitoring or management of maternal conditions that can lead to significant improvement of foetal and neonatal outcomes as well as prevent maternal mortality and morbidity.


1. The GCA-ISG grants will fund projects up to USD $100,000 for 2 years. These awards are meant to provide an opportunity to test particularly bold, proof of concept ideas, including applying approaches from outside the fields indicated for this call. New approaches could be piloted as additions to ongoing projects.

2. Winners of the GCA-ISG grants will have an opportunity to apply for follow-on, transition to scale funding in the future. 


The evaluation consists of a three-stage formal assessment by GC Africa. These are triage, external international expert review and final decision committee. Some of the variables that will be assessed during the triage evaluation include;

  1. Completeness of the application documents
  2. Relevance and response to the call requirements
  3. Application from an African institution, with the grantee either a citizen or resident of the host country.

Only proposals fulfilling the triage requirements will be submitted for expert review for assessment of content and quality. The reviewers will evaluate the proposals on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Innovation
  2. Scientific and technical excellence
  3. Judicious use of project resources
  4. Potential for impact and scaling



error: Content is protected !!