8th Call for Innovative Solutions! Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development

8th Call for Innovative Solutions! Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development

Deadline: February 28, 2018

USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, DFID, and KOICA have joined together to launch Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Developmentto find sustainable innovations to save the lives of mothers and newborns in the hardest to reach corners of the world. Saving Lives at Birth seeks to catalyze scale and sustainability of the most promising solutions that bring together cutting-edge science and/or low-cost technologies, service delivery, and demand innovation in transformative new ways.

In conjunction with Round 8, Saving Lives at Birth will launch their next generation acceleration model to provide tailored support to accelerate the most promising innovations. They seek innovative ideas that can leapfrog conventional approaches in three main domains: (1) technology; (2) service delivery; and (3) “demand side” innovation that empowers pregnant women and their families to practice healthy behaviors and be aware of and access health care during pregnancy, childbirth and the early postnatal period, especially the first two days after birth.

Types of Awards

They invest in a portfolio of projects.  Through this portfolio, we seek groundbreaking innovations by providing:

  • Seed Funds to support the development and validation of ideas capable of impacting health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies in low-resource settings,
  • Validation Funds to introduce and validate the effectiveness of innovations to reach proof-of-concept, and
  • Transition to Scale Funds to develop, refine, and rigoursly test the impact of integrated solutions that have previously measured promising health outcomes in a controlled or limited setting and have the potential to credibly scale to improve the lives of millions of pregnant women and newborns in multiple countries.  Transition funding is limited to integrated solutions that unite technology, service delivery, and demand.

Awardees will receive support and networking assistance from each of the partners, engage with other innovators, and participate in high-level meetings including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Grand Challenge meetings.


Round 8 will focus exclusively on transitioning to scale the most promising innovations. Eligible applications will focus on any of the following areas alone or in combination:

  • Developing, testing and refining scaling plan/business model, including generating evidence of health outcomes or conducting further market research needed to engage partners.
  • Transitioning to scale innovations with promising health impact and developed,  sustainable scaling plans. These innovations must have demonstrated strong evidence in a controlled or limited setting of improved health outcome(s) and/or the reduction of significant barrier(s) to health and demand for the solution (i.e. proof of concept). Submissions will have the potential to credibly scale in a sustainable manner beyond the term of Saving Lives at Birth funding to improve the lives of millions of pregnant women and newborns in multiple settings.

They are looking for Interventions that:

  • Substantially increase demand for and access to primary health interventions for women and newborns;
  • Substantially improve the quality of care as measured by health outcomes; and
  • Improve and sustain healthy behaviors, attitudes, and practices.

Solutions should be:

  • Creative: Bold, “off the beaten track,” daring in premise
  • Appropriate: Designed with and for end-users in the target population or context to meet their specific needs and circumstances
  • Impactful: Addressone or more important adverse maternal, fetal, or neonatal health conditions
  • Competitive: Clearly differentiated from and superior to standard practice, particularly on factors of cost and ease of use
  • Sustainable: Demonstrate a clear path to obtain continued political and financial support for sustained implementation and/or use of the innovation. Partnerships important for scale and matched funding are critical for solutions transitioning to scale.
  • Scalable:Demonstrate the potential to increase and sustain coverage and impact of the intervention both within and beyond the award period, and be implemented in contexts or settings outside of those reached during the award period.
  • Measureable: Able to be monitored, measured and evaluated for impact.


The program will begin taking applications now, with submissions due by February 28th at 2pm EST. Award nominees will be announced later in 2018.

Want help preparing your proposal? Click HERE for useful information.

To apply, complete the online application.

For more information, visit Saving Lives at Birth.