Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa Pledges $7 Million for Innovation in Africa

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) is committing US$ 7 Million in innovation grants to catalyse pioneering research to achieve health and development outcomes.


The African Academy of Sciences and the NEPAD Agency’s Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) made this commitment today in order to fund innovative ideas and research through the Grand Challenges Africa programme to accelerate scientific breakthroughs that will improve Africa’s health and developmental outcomes.

This commitment has been achieved with the help of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide the Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Grants. It will focus on finding local solutions to solve existing and pressing challenges in the Continent and ultimately reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Grants will run for the next five years and comprise of the Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Seed Grants (GCA-ISG) and provide funding for scaling up innovations.

“Solutions for Africa’s challenges do exist within the continent. As an African grantmaking body, we are laser focused on tapping the best minds on the continent to develop innovative local solutions to our health and development challenges,” stated Dr Tom Kariuki, AESA’s Director.

How it Will Run:

The Grand Challenges Africa Grants will request for ideas that can be developed eventually into ground breaking research and innovations. A sum of up to US$100,000 in Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Seed Grants (GCA-ISG)  will be provided for two years to each of the up to 40 projects that will be funded over the five-years that the scheme will run.

Who Can Apply:

This fund is targeting innovators resident in Africa with any level of experience, working in any discipline in colleges, universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-governmental and non-profit organisations.
Innovations which receive the US$100,000 seed grants and show promise for scaling up will be eligible to apply for additional funding of up to US$1 million.

Areas of Interest:

Solutions and strategies to help Africa meet the SDG 3 target for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH). These cover key areas of:

  • New technologies to enable rapid identification of exposures that lead to poor outcomes in pregnancy, birth and in the first month of life – these could be exposures to communicable and non-communicable.
  • Precision medicine approaches and techniques to identify microbes and other exposures in Africa that may increase susceptibility to non-communicable diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.) in mothers and children under 5 years of age.
  • Creative approaches to engage the public, and inspire policy and decision makers to increase investment in African Research & Development.

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