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Funding bold African innovations addressing health and development challenges


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Funding bold African innovations addressing health and development challenges

Nairobi, Kenya, 22 May 2020 - The African Academy of Sciences’ has today announced its second Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa) ‘Transition to Scale’ call with a commitment of more than US$ 4 million to accelerate innovations with the highest potential for impact and sustainable scalability needed to achieve SDGs.

“We are fully committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through rapidly scaling up and harnessing bold scientific innovations that show potential to provide sustainable solutions to complex health and developmental challenges faced by African countries.” Professor Nelson Torto, Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences. 

A recent survey conducted by GC Africa cited that scale up funding was a key need of African innovators to enable them to translate their ideas from the laboratory to communities. 

Through the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), a second call for funding has been announced to address the challenges and support the scaling and sustainability of health interventions in Africa. 

The Transition to Scale call for applications will be opened for a period of six weeks, from 22nd May 2020 at 1700hrs EAT to 30th June 2020 at 2300hrs EAT.  

Post proof on concept innovators specializing in health and well-being, environment and climate change, social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and policy and governance who are positioned to scale-up their innovative solutions for the attainment of the SDGs are encouraged to submit their applications.  

Final applications will be evaluated by the GC Africa decision committee based on key criteria such as the ability to demonstrate integrated innovation, impact, entrepreneurship, smart partnerships, sustainability, execution and compliance.  

The mentorship, training, networking and collaboration opportunities offered will help build the capacity of the innovations and fast track the potential to reach scale for lasting outcomes.  

Eligibility requirements 
Applications should be channeled through the Ishango Grants Management System and need to meet the criteria below. 

Eligible applicants:  

  • Non-profit organization, for-profit company, or another recognized institution that is incorporated in an eligible jurisdiction in Africa and can receive and administer funding. 
  • Founders or Principal Investigators (PIs) should be African Citizens or residents of Africa. Where there is local international ownership, applicants should have adequate control to make executive decisions about the project. They should demonstrate a strong grip on research expertise (being the PI or collaborator) and ownership of the venture.
  • Previous or current grantee of various organizations including Grand Challenges family (Grand Challenges Explorations by Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Africa, USAID- Centre for Development Innovation, Grand Challenges Canada, Grand Challenges South Africa and Grand Challenges Ethiopia), other innovation incubators and accelerators and partners who align with Grand Challenges Africa priorities will be invited to recommend innovators in their pipeline to apply for the funding.
  • Projects that have demonstrated proof of concept by presenting sufficient and credible evidence to substantiate that their idea has demonstrated improved health and development outcome(s) and/or the reduction of significant barrier(s) to health / development and demand for the solution in a controlled or limited setting and have a plan to transition to scale.
  • Any project from the Grand Challenges Family that has a Transition-to-Scale agreement with requirement for 1:1 matching through partnerships will be eligible for this funding.
  • Most of the applicant’s activities and budget must be carried out/spent in an eligible African country (or countries). If the nature of the proposal means that a significant amount of funding will not be spent in one of these eligible jurisdictions, applicants must provide strong reasoning and convincing arguments that ultimately the proposal will benefit people in those countries. 
  • A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application to this Request for Proposals. An institution may be the applicant on multiple applications, provided all applications have different Project Leads.
  • Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the triage and review committees.  

Funding scope 
The funding available for the Transition to scale round 2 ranges from $100,001 to $1,000,000. The selected innovators will be funded through grants or a blend between Grant and a debt.  

Invited grantees are eligible to apply for a follow-on transition to scale or scaling grant with a term of up to thirty-six (36) months.   

This is an Open Call access it via this Link

Visit the Grand Challenges Africa webpage for more information.  
Note to the editor 

The African Academy of Sciences   
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through the AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. The Academy’s five strategic focus areas include: Environment and climate change; health and wellbeing; natural sciences; policy and governance; and social sciences and humanities. 
Join us on and Twitter @AASciences and learn more by visiting 

Grand Challenges Africa 
The Grand Challenges family of initiatives seeks to engage innovators from around the world to solve science, technology and innovation, health and developmental challenges. Grand Challenges initiatives are united by their focus on fostering innovation, directing research to where it will have the most impact, and serving those most in need. The Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa) scheme is part of the family and seeks to promote Africa-led scientific innovations to help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by awarding seed and full grants to the continent’s most impressive solutions. The AAS through its agenda setting, funding and programme implementation platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Science in Africa (AESA) implements GC Africa in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)  
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, is Sweden’s government agency for development cooperation. It works on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government with the aim of implementing Swedish development policies. The goal is to enable people living in poverty and oppression to improve their lives. Sida does not implement the aid interventions but works in partnership with other actors. Sida’s role is to allocate financial resources and to develop knowledge and competence, while our partners manage and execute the projects. Each country is responsible for its own development, and our local partners always have the best solutions for local problems. The portfolio of the Research Cooperation Unit at Sida is guided by a strategy from the Swedish government that promotes capacity-building for research in low/lower-middle income countries, research of high quality and innovations that are of relevance to poverty reduction and sustainable development in low/lower-middle income countries and regions. 
Davies Mbela | Communications Assistant I African Academy of Sciences 
Email: | Tel: +254 20 806 0674