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Program issues challenge for young Canadian scientists


Vancouver, BC – A call to action for young Canadian scientists to make a contribution to global health has been issued by a program called Grand Challenges Canada. The program’s goal is to tap into the creativity, knowledge and skills of young Canadian scientists to solve some of the most persistent health challenges in the developing world.

“There is tremendous untapped potential amongst our country’s young scientists to solve some of the key health challenges in the developing world,” said Peter A Singer, Grand Challenges Canada’s CEO. “This is a great opportunity for these Canadian rising stars – who have the skills and the passion – to innovate solutions to save lives and contribute to Canada’s growing leadership role in global health.”

Up to $20 million in grants is available for the program. Grand Challenges will accept full proposals for the first competition until March 2011. Full proposals will include a videotaped segment outlining the health problem, the proposed answer and why it is a creative and bold solution. The Canadians will be encouraged to involve developing world scientists to participate in creating the discovery. The collaboration between Canadian and developing world scientists will be required to secure larger $1 million grants in the scale-up phase of the program.

“This is a great opportunity for Canadian scientists,” said Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “We, as Canadians, have so much to offer and Grand Challenges Canada’s program is a unique and effective way to unleash the power of emerging talent in our scientific community.”

The Request for Proposals encourages Canadian scientists to go to the heart of the most difficult global health challenges, and to integrate scientific, social and business innovations – an approach known as ‘Integrated Innovation.’ Potential solutions will address barriers to health and will be relevant to situations where they are most needed, such as solutions for people living in remote areas where there is an absence of basic health care or clinics. A further key requirement, the discoveries must be affordable and easily accepted culturally.

There will also be a significant public dimension to the program, as the public will be encouraged to vote on their favourite proposal by viewing the videos submitted by the scientists.

More information is available at www.grandchallenges.ca.