The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) announced today plans to establish a Grand Challenges (GC) China in the near future, a new partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the pair today in a bid to support, strengthen and develop cooperation in scientific and technological research on global health and development.

GC is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health anddevelopment problems. Since the creation of Grand Challenges in Global Health in 2003,GC has been supporting investigators around the world to translate their bold and ground-breaking ideas into tangible impacts to alleviate challenges in global health anddevelopment.

According to the MOU and an implemention agreement signed by the two parties, theGates Foundation and NSFC will jointly select and fund scientific and technologicalresearch projects focused on tackling major infectious diseases, reducing maternal andchild mortality, strengthening translation capacity, advancing agriculture, food andnutrition outcomes, and alleviating challenges in other key areas that will benefit people inneed in both China and beyond.

“Grand Challenges has proven to be a successful model in catalyzing innovations for globalhealth and development priorities during the past 10 years,” said Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation. “As we embrace a new decade of GrandChallenges, we’re thrilled that our collaboration with NSFC will encourage Chinese andinternational scientists to work together on the precise research needs of the developingworld.”

Academician Shen Yan, Vice President of NSFC, said, “With a growing and robust community of innovators, China has the capacity for greater scientific discoveries and breakthroughs to benefit other developing countries in the world. We look forward to working with the Gates Foundation to leverage the Grand Challenges model to drive new Chinese-international collaborations that can lead to major progress on global health and development.“

According to the MOU, the Gates Foundation and NSFC also announced that they will launch a first request for proposals (RFP) in early 2016 which will call for innovative concepts for safe, effective, affordable and widely utilized interventions, such as vaccines and therapeutics, with the potential to protect against the acquisition, progression or transmission of infectious diseases, or to provide a cure for infectious diseases, in resource-limited settings.

The application for the first RFP will be started in early 2016. Research projects involvingsubstantive collaboration between Chinese and international teams are encouraged toapply for grants of up to $1 million and four years with joint funding from the GatesFoundation and NSFC. Chinese-international collaboration must be essential to thesuccess of the project.

Grand Challenges adopts a transparent and optimized approach to raising, distributing,and managing funding. The effective and open collaboration mechanism helps to establisha public-private partnership in many countries worldwide. The newly announced partnership is the latest addition to the Grand Challenges family, joining other similar initiatives including Grand Challenges Canada, Grand Challenges Brazil, Grand Challenges India, Grand Challenges Thailand and Grand Challenges Africa.

The announcement and signing of the MOU took place at the 2015 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting which is being held in Beijing from October 19-21 and co-hosted by the Gates Foundation and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, together with Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development and Wellcome Trust.