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104 bold little research grants from Gates' Grand Challenges

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the first set of 104 Grand Challenges Explorations grants, a program that offers $100,000 to seed exciting ideas in global health. (It’s part of the $200 million research initiative called Grand Challenges in Global Health.) These small grants

… will foster innovation in global health research and expand the pipeline of ideas that merit further exploration. The initiative will use an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page applications. Initial grants will be awarded multiple times per year at approximately $100,000 each. Additional funding of $1 million or more will be available for projects that show promise.

The list of 104 grants is packed with interesting questions and ideas, grouped around several topics: latent TB (a third of all humanity is estimated to be carrying TB bacteria, but TB doesn’t develop in most of us — why?); preventing or curing HIV; protecting against infectious disease; and fighting drug resistance.

Applications for the second round of grants wil be accepted until Nov. 2, 2008 — on the four topics above and two new ones: eradicating malaria; and creating a vaccine against diarrhea, HIV, malaria, pneumonia and TB.